Hull City-Liverpool Preview

The Associated Press

Brendan Rodgers is confident Liverpool will respond positively after suffering back-to-back defeats as they play Hull City at Anfield on New Year's Day.

The Reds boss also insists there will be no repeat of the defensive errors made during the 3-1 defeat at Hull on Dec. 1, when strikes from Jake Livermore, David Meyler and an own goal by Martin Skrtel earned the Tigers their first win against the Merseysiders.

Liverpool (11-3-5) were top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day, but two straight 2-1 losses at Manchester City and Chelsea have seen the Reds drop down to fifth place, six points behind leaders Arsenal.

"It's very simple - we are at home and we expect to win," Rodgers said in the pre-match press conference. "We know it's going to be like any other game at this level - a very tough game. They're coming off the back of a victory that doesn't happen too often when you're in the Premier League, especially when it's 0-0 at half-time. It was a terrific result.

"We were very disappointed in our performance level there. We were nowhere near the standard we would expect, but you have to give credit to Hull - they exposed that on the day. But we aim to make sure that no matter what squad or team we put out, we don't make the same mistakes again because home games are vitally important for us."

Hull (6-5-8) end the year in the top half of the table after Saturday's record-breaking 6-0 win over Fulham at the KC Stadium pushed them up to 10th place.

The Tigers scored all six goals in the second half against Fulham to record their biggest Premier League victory. The game also featured midfielder Tom Huddlestone's first goal in 32 months.

The 27-year-old Huddlestone had failed to tally since scoring for his previous club Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal in April 2011. He has raised money for charity by letting his hair grow and refusing to cut it until he next found the net. Huddlestone's goal celebration saw him have a lock of hair clipped on the sidelines at the KC.

Tigers boss Steve Bruce was naturally delighted with the Fulham result and singled out Huddlestone for special praise.

"When you win 6-0 like we did, you sometimes have to give your head a little wobble and think 'did that really just happen'?" said Bruce. "You drive home and realise that these are the great days that you remember. To be fair, I was pleased with the way we played in the first half and I can hardly remember our goalkeeper touching the ball. We just needed to score and how often have I said that?

"Tom's been waiting for that goal. I've seen some great performances but I've never witnessed something as outstanding as what he produced today. He gave a master-class of how to play in midfield. He had the lot: free-kicks, passing range, goals, a shot from 40 yards."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury against West Ham United in early December, returned to full training this week and could feature against Hull. Fellow midfielder Joe Allen is sidelined after picking up an abductor problem at Chelsea. Daniel Sturridge (ankle), Jose Enrique (knee), Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) and Sebastian Coates (knee) are also ruled out.

Hull have injury concerns about Robbie Brady (groin) and Stephen Quinn (hamstring), while Sone Aluko (calf) is definitely out.

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