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Premier League Preview: Liverpool - Cardiff City

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Premier League Preview: Liverpool - Cardiff City
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Premier League Preview: Liverpool - Cardiff City

Liverpool will climb to the top of the Premier League table if it continues its winning run against Cardiff City on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' side has bounced back well from a shock loss to Hull City earlier this month, posting thumping wins over Norwich City, West Ham and Tottenham. The Anfield outfit has scored 14 goals in those three games – with the 5-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday hailed as their best performance under the manager.

Despite missing stars Steven Gerrard (hamstring) and Daniel Sturridge (ankle), stand-in captain Luis Suarez scored a double and set up another two as Liverpool stunned the hosts, who parted company with coach Andre Villas-Boas one day later.

Sitting two points behind leader Arsenal – which does not play third-place Chelsea until Monday – Liverpool boss Rodgers is hoping his squad can cope despite the notable absentees.

"The squad we have at the moment is still relatively small, we have got a few players out," Rodgers said. "But I'll always look from within, like I have done whenever we have had injuries, when young Jon Flanagan came into the team or Raheem Sterling came into the team. There's very much a togetherness here, and that's one of the key facets of the season so far."

Defenders Sebastian Coates and Jose Enrique (both knee) join influential midfielder Gerrard and striker Sturridge on the sidelines.

Cardiff enters the match on the back of a much-needed victory over West Brom, with Peter Whittingham's header ending a five-match winless run in the top flight. That result saw the end of another managerial reign in the Premier League, with Steve Clarke sacked at West Brom following the loss.

Cardiff sits 15th in the table, four points above the relegation zone, but the strained relationship between chairman Vincent Tan and manager Malky Mackay has hit the headlines again this week.

Mackay had previously spoken about his desire to sign players in January but Tan hit back in a strongly worded statement, saying that "not a penny" would be spent in the upcoming transfer window and that the manager had had more than enough funding.

Rodgers shared his sympathies with Mackay, saying: "He has had great results this season and is going to go on and be a great manager at a big club and I find it absolutely astonishing there is talk about him leaving there."

Cardiff has only scored once in its last four matches and former Liverpool attacker Craig Bellamy (knee) will face a late fitness test.

The two sides have only met twice in the last 50 years, each time in the League Cup, with Liverpool prevailing on both occasions.  Liverpool edged Cardiff 2-1 in round four of the competition in 2006-07, before toppling the Welsh side on penalties in the 2012 final, which ended 2-2 after extra time.

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