At Luis Suarez's current goal-scoring rate, it may not matter how many reinforcements Malky Mackay wants to call in to try and keep Cardiff City treading water in the top flight.
The marauding Uruguayan will try to continue his scintillating run of form on Saturday at Anfield as Liverpool host a Bluebirds team trying to put aside a growing squabble between Mackay and owner Vincent Tan.
Suarez is almost singlehandedly keeping Liverpool (10-3-3) in striking distance of Arsenal at the top of the table, totaling a league-best 17 goals in 11 league matches since completing his suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic late last season. The Reds are 8-0-0 when he has found the back of the net and enter this match with three wins on the bounce following an impressive 5-0 dismantling of Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Uruguayan opened the scoring in the 18th minute and had a hand in all three second-half goals, assisting efforts by Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling either side of his 84th-minute strike after Spurs were reduced to 10 men - for Paulinho for lunging at Suarez.
"I loved our arrogance," manager Brendan Rodgers told the team's official website. "The arrogance with the ball was very good - lots of angles, lots of people moving and interchanging our positions. We were like animals without the ball, how we pressed, and our hunger for the football was great. Once we got it, the use of the ball was outstanding."
Liverpool have claimed 21 of a possible 24 points at Anfield this season, with Suarez tormenting rivals for 12 in the five matches he's played there after totaling 11 in 17 league appearances in Anfield in 2012-13. Overall, the Reds - currently second on goal difference and two points behind the Gunners - have outscored opponents 22-5 on their pitch and seem well placed to exceed the 33 home points they claimed last season.
Cardiff City (4-5-7), meanwhile, appear in all sorts of disarray off the pitch heading into this crunch set of matches. The Bluebirds took a small step forward in their bid to avoid the drop, posting a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion that ended Steve Clarke's tenure on Saturday and put them four points clear of the bottom three.
But the good spirits created by Peter Whittingham's header are seemingly coming undone by a war of words between coach and owner over potential spending in the January transfer window. Mackay, who oversaw a surprisingly aggressive summer of spending by Cardiff City, reportedly wanted Tan to open the purse strings again to potentially land as many as three players.
Tan publicly rebuffed Mackay, with the team releasing a statement through its CEO in which the owner essentially said no money would be spent next month after the manager went over budget in the summer.
That could leave the Bluebirds in a tough spot as they seek consecutive wins in the top flight for the first time this season. Cardiff City have collected just five points in their eight away matches and will be trying to end a 440-minute scoreless drought on the road dating back to Jordon Mutch's goal at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea that opened the scoring in a 4-1 loss on Oct. 19.
Cardiff, though, have claimed two points in their last four away matches by virtue of scoreless draws.
This is the first match between the teams in league play since Cardiff City did the double in the Second Division in the 1959-60 season, highlighted by a 4-0 romp at Anfield. Liverpool, though, beat Cardiff on penalties to claim the 2012 League Cup at Wembley.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cardiff City
- Malky Mackay
- Luis Suarez