Liverpool vs Cardiff Preview: Reds look to move three clear at the top with a win against Bluebirds
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Liverpool vs Cardiff Preview: Reds look to move three clear at the top with a win against Bluebirds

Liverpool host Cardiff City at Anfield as Jürgen Klopp's outfit look to make it three wins in a row in all competitions.

Joshua Kerr

Liverpool will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to ten in the league with a win over Cardiff City as another victory for Jürgen Klopp and his side will ensure the Reds move to the summit of the league table - three points ahead of Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Cardiff make the lengthy trip to Anfield off the back of their impressive 4-2 victory over fellow strugglers Fulham - to earn Neil Warnock his first win of the season - a result which moved them out of the relegation zone.

The Breakdown

Liverpool have recently been criticised for their performances of late this season despite sitting joint top of the domestic table. A difficult run of fixtures meant the Reds only scored three in five matches. 

However, to their credit, a gruelling two week period included two fixtures against Chelsea, a European duel with Napoli and a title challenging showdown with Premier League champions Manchester City.

Klopp's side came out of a tough schedule bruised but not wounded. Despite no win in four matches, the Reds earnt themselves a hard-fought victory when they beat David Wagners Huddersfield Town 1-0 at the John Smiths Stadium last weekend and followed that up with a convincing 4-0 win against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

Time will only tell if this Liverpool side can cope with the pressures of sustaining a serious title challenge as well matching their heroic efforts in Europe from last season, but, as things stand the Reds sit joint top of the league as well as leading Group C in Europe ahead of both Paris Saint Germain and Napoli.

Klopp's troops come into the game off the back of three consecutive clean sheets plus boasted by the fact that all three members of their front trio were on the scoresheet on Wednesday night for the first time since April - in a 5-2 victory against Roma.

Also, the Reds squad looks stronger than ever with the recent performances from Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge that prove to the manager that his team are not as reliant on their front three as they were last campaign. 

Liverpool will undoubtedly be favourites and will be desperate to claim the three points with an encouraging display as they prepare themselves for the following week when they travel to face Unai Emery's high-flying Arsenal.

Warnock not phased about relegation possibilities

Cardiff City manager Warnock has highlighted that he has no 'qualms' about the prospect of his City side being the outright favourites to face the drop this season. 

It was hard to disagree with the bookies going into the new campaign with the Bluebirds winless in their opening eight league encounters. However, an encouraging performance against Fulham last weekend ensured Warnock earnt a vital victory in the league and suggested to outsiders that the prospect of the drop may not be a foregone conclusion as originally thought.

The Bluebirds veteran manager will not be getting carried away from dispatching a side that has conceded a woeful 25 goals in eight league matches. However, winning when it matters showed that every few weeks the Championship runners-up have the spirit to lift themselves out of the bottom three.

Team News 

Shaqiri will expect to keep his place in the Liverpool starting lineup having contributed two assists over the past week.

The Switzerland international opened a fresh dynamic playing in a more central position behind Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, releasing a creative spark the Reds have been missing since the days of Phillipe Coutinho.

James Milner is likely to return in the place of Fabinho despite the Brazilian impressing on his first European start for the Reds.

Jordan Henderson is expected to remain on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, but Naby Keita could potentially be handed a spot on the substitutes' bench having missed both encounters against the Terriers and Belgrade.

Klopp has recently enjoyed rotating his centre-back options and may opt to switch his defenders once again, with Dejan Lovren potentially replacing the outstanding Joe Gomez who has played 90 minutes on three occasions since October 15.

Warnock is unlikely to make many alterations to a winning side, although Junior Hoilett could come into the team having impressed during his display away at Spurs at the start of the month.

Joe Ralls is out as he continues to serve a suspension for the red card picked up at Wembley.

Predicited Lineup

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri; Mane, Firmino, Salah

Cardiff City: Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Camarasa, Gunnarsson, Arter; Murphy, Reid, Paterson