Live Commentary: Liverpool 0-0 Hull City - as it happened

Mario Balotelli of Liverpool is challenged by James Chester of Hull City during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Hull City at Anfield on October 25, 2014
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Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of the 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Hull as Mario Balotelli goes another game without a Premier League goal.

Mario Balotelli's search for his first Premier League goal at Liverpool continues following this afternoon's goalless draw with Hull City at Anfield.

The controversial Italian had a number of chances to get the winner for the Reds, but Steve Bruce's side held strong in defence and were able to take a point away from the encounter.

Liverpool slip to sixth in the league table, while the Tigers move up to ninth.

Discover how the game unfolded in our minute-by-minute commentary below:


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2.00pmHello all! This weekend hosts the ninth round of Premier League matches and right here, we're focusing on the action in the North-West of England as Liverpool and Hull City go head to head at Anfield.

2.04pmI think it's safe to say that one certain Italian has been making the headlines in the build-up to this match. Since 'shirt-swap gate', Mario Balotelli has been heavily scrutinised by the press and ex-players as he continues to hunt for his first Premier League goal for the Reds. Following his lacklustre performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday, some have suggested that the 24-year-old should be dropped for today's match. However, Brendan Rodgers has decided to stick with the Italian. Liverpool's team news is in!

2.07pmLIVERPOOL XI: Mignolet; Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Allen; Can, Lallana, Sterling; Balotelli

2.08pmLiverpool subs: Johnson, Jones, Toure, Henderson, Coutinho, Markovic, Lambert

2.10pmSo, 'Why Always Me?' gets the nod up front ahead of Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini, who isn't even in the squad this afternoon. Rodgers has made three changes from the side that lost to Real Madrid as Javier Manquillo replaces Glen Johnson at right-back, while Emre Can and Adam Lallana start in place of Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho.

2.12pmHULL CITY XI: Jakupovic; Bruce, Davies, Chester; Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Diame, Livermore, Brady; Ben Arfa; Hernandez

2.13pmHull City subs: Watson, Rosenior, Meyler, McShane, Aluko, Ramirez, Quinn

2.21pmThe visitors' team news has also filtered through from Anfield, and Steve Bruce has been forced to make changes due to a number of players moving to the treatment table. Third-choice goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic will make only his second league start today after Steve Harper suffered a bicep tear against Arsenal last weekend. Alex Bruce has been recalled to the defence due to Michael Dawson's injury, while Abel Hernandez will lead the line after Nikica Jelavic was ruled out for around six weeks with injury. Robbie Brady has also been slotted into the Tigers' midfield five.

2.23pmWe're a good 40 minutes away from kick-off, but the fans are starting to arrive at the stadium on a clear day in Merseyside.


2.26pmSo, where shall we start? The Liverpool fans among us are probably wondering how their team could be struggling with so many issues over the pitch after last season's blistering campaign, which resulted in a second-place finish in the Premier League table. Well, I think it's clear to see that Luis Suarez's departure to Barcelona has had a huge impact on the Reds' attacking threat, especially with Daniel Sturridge having been out for around eight weeks with injury.

2.29pmLiverpool's defensive frailties were evident during the 2013-14 campaign, but the combined 52 league goals from Suarez and Sturridge papered over the cracks as the team moved their way up the table by out-scoring their opponents. This season, however, with Balotelli struggling to find his feet, Liverpool's remaining striker options fall to Lambert and Borini, both of whom Rodgers seemingly doesn't consider to be worth dropping the Italian for.

2.33pmDespite bringing in Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren, Liverpool's back four in front of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet continue to look vulnerable, especially when defending set pieces. The Reds have only kept one clean sheet this season, which was against Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in August. But it's not all doom and gloom, because despite not putting in particularly impressive performances, points are what count and they have grabbed three from their last two league fixtures.

2.35pmFor Hull, their defensive woes have not come at the best time as we begin to edge closer to the winter fixtures and heavy Christmas schedule, but Bruce's side have scored in every league game so far. The team news suggests that the Tigers will line up with five across the midfield in a bid to frustrate Liverpool, who have struggled to find the answer when their attacking fluidity is snuffed out.

2.37pmDespite not taking all three points from Arsenal last weekend due to a 91st-minute equaliser from Danny Welbeck, Hull will feel confident heading into this game as they have shown in recent matches that they are sturdy at the back, and I'm sure that Bruce will be telling his side to make the most of any set pieces they get in this afternoon's encounter.

2.41pmHull may also try to exploit any tiredness from the Liverpool players following their Champions League action in midweek, but Anfield has not been the kindest of places for the Tigers in recent years as they have shipped 10 goals in their last three trips to face the Merseyside club.

2.44pmIn the Premier League table, three points currently separate the two clubs, with Liverpool in fifth and Hull residing 11th. Should Hull snatch an away win then they will be on level points with the Reds, while Liverpool can match West Ham United in fourth following their 2-1 victory over Manchester City earlier today.

2.54pmPREDICTION: So, how do we see this game going? For me, while Liverpool have had a number of problems and we'll be frustrated at times by their opponents this afternoon, I expect them to clinch a win. With Hull having scored in every league game so far this season, I think that they will exploit Liverpool's defensive issues by finding the back of the net, but at the end of the day, the Reds will have too much for them. I predict a 2-1 victory.

2.56pmThose are my thoughts, but our Sports Mole sofa panellists Barney Corkhill and Matt Law have also had their say on this match. Take a look in the video below:


2.57pmWe're a matter of minutes before kickoff. The players are out and ready to get underway...

1 minKICKOFF! Hull get us underway, kicking from left to right...

2 minBrady storms down the left and gets a cross in looking for Hernandez, but a number of red shirts are able to head clear. Elmohamady gets the ball back down the right and crosses into the box, but Lovren is able to sweep the ball away from danger.

3 minHull have started quickly here and are moving the ball around with confidence. Brady manages to drive to the corner of the box and knock the ball across to Ben Arfa, who finds Elmohamady in space on the right. He crosses into the area, but nobody latches onto it to cause a threat at goal.

5 minThere's a concern for Liverpool as Can goes to ground following a tackle from Huddlestone and after his recent bout on the sidelines, Rodgers will hope that he's okay. After receiving some treatment, the German Under-21 gets back to his feet.

7 minPENALTY SHOUT! The Liverpool crowd scream for a penalty when Sterling gets nudged in the back and falls to ground in the box after latching onto a long ball from Skrtel, but the assistant referee gives a free kick the other way.

9 minOFF THE LINE! Elmohamady saves Hull from going a goal down in these early stages by clearing the ball off the line after an outswinging corner from Gerrard finds the head of Lovren, who aims the ball towards the bottom left corner and beats the goalkeeper, but Elmohamady is there to head clear.

12 minSAVE! Jakupovic denies Balotelli's first league goal for Liverpool after the Italian takes a shot at the near post following a lovely weighted pass from Sterling. Liverpool are showing signs of intensity now as the half progresses.

14 minAt the other end, Elmohamady crosses the ball into the box to find the head of Diame, but Moreno does enough to put pressure on the Hull man, who's effort fails to trouble Liverpool's goal in the end.

15 minLiverpool spray some quick passes between the midfield, but none of the players can get a shot on goal. Moreno tries to drive the ball into the area with a low effort, but none of his teammates are around to latch onto it.

17 minAfter a fast start from Hull, it's the home side who are now getting space in midfield, which has allowed them to create some fluid passes in attack, which in turn delights the crowd! However, they are yet to find that killer instinct in the final third.

19 minLiverpool continue to press with Manquillo and Sterling enjoying some one-touch play down the right-hand side. Sterling plays the ball back to Allen, whose sloppy touch gives the ball away, but he wins it back to find Gerrard, but their attack eventually comes to nothing.

22 minBalotelli has dropped back a number of times to pick up the ball and while the team are playing well collectively, their attack is breaking down in the final third. Hull haven't seen much of the ball in the last few minutes, but they are closing down well in a bid to stifle the Reds.

24 minHull have a nice spell possession and eventually Brady finds himself with the ball down the left-hand side. He drives towards the byline, but Moreno manages to win the ball back for the home side.

25 minCan darts forward from midfield and leaves two Hull City players behind him. He knocks the ball forward for Balotelli, but the pass is too far ahead for the Italian to latch onto it and it eventually dribbles into the hands of Jakupovic.

27 minAt the other end, Diame manages to dart past two Liverpool shirts in the box, but Gerrard manages to get a vital touch to clear the danger. Diame is calling for a corner, but the referee signals for a goal kick.

29 minLiverpool win a free kick midway into Hull's half. Gerrard loops the ball into the area and Lovren should have done much better to connect to it, but the ball just drops behind the centre-back and out of play.

32 minManquillo makes a poor decision by flicking the ball on for, well, nobody! The full-back receives the ball from Can, but instead of turning and running with it, the Spaniard flicks knocks it behind to an empty area.

34 minSterling controls the ball on his chest but after he brings it down, Brady nips in with a tackle to give Hull possession. The ball is lofted over to Elmohamady on the left, but Skrtel puts him under enough pressure and the ball's knocked out for a Liverpool throw-in.

35 minLallana breaks away from his marker, plays it into Allen and storms into the box to receive the ball, but his cross fails to find anyone. However, there are calls for a penalty due to a late tackle on him after he released the ball. Some nice individual play from the former Southampton man, who has been relatively quiet thus far.

37 minDiame gets away from Manquillo and creates enough space for him to move into the box, but Gerrard times his touch well and snuffs out the danger.

38 minBOOKING! Huddlestone gets the first yellow card of the match after leading with his arm when challenging Can. The Hull man can have no complaints.

41 minCHANCE! Hull have a decent opportunity to open the scoring after Ben Arfa raced to the byline to cut the ball back into the area. It falls to Livermore, who unleashes a shot at goal, but it goes straight into Mignolet's hands.

43 minHull have had a nice spell here with some impressive one-touch play in Liverpool's half. The ball eventually falls to Diame, who goes for a low shot at goal, but it bobbles past the post.

43 minLivermore's lucky to get away with a yellow card after kicking at Moreno's heels when the Spaniard was on the ball. The referee took some time to make a decision, but he eventually awarded Liverpool with a free kick.

44 minCHANCE! Some more decent build-up play from Hull as the ball bounces back to Huddlestone half way between the centre circle and the penalty area. The midfielder goes for the shot, but it gets deflected behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

45+1 minLiverpool get a free kick just yards from the edge of the area, which is lofted in by Gerrard. It goes past everyone, but Skrtel tries to latch onto it, but it bounces off a Hull player and behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Liverpool 0-0 Hull City

3.55pmSo, there we have it. It remains goalless at the break, and to be honest, that's not too surprising. It hasn't been the most exciting of games at Anfield and it's the same old story for the home side as they struggle to replicate the intensity from last season.

3.56pmThere hasn't been much pace in the game from either side and the only real chances for Liverpool have come from Mario Balotelli, whose shot was aimed at an awkward angle, and Dejan Lovren, whose header was saves off the line from Elmohamady.

3.58pmHull have had some joy in Liverpool's half with some impressive one-touch play, but like Liverpool, they are lacking that cutting edge in the final third and despite one shot from Jake Livermore, Mignolet has had little to do.

4.02pmWe're in need of a goal for the game to open up, but you feel that as long as the scoreline remains goalless, Hull will grow in confidence. However, the home side have Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert among those on the bench to call on should they need a change.

45 minSECOND HALF UNDERWAY! Liverpool, who are kicking towards the Kop, get us going again here at Anfield. Neither side have made any changes at the break.

45 minBrady hits the ball long towards Hernandez, but Skrtel is able to mop up and knock the ball back to Mignolet with ease.

46 minSome impressive defending from Brady as he blocks Sterling from getting a shot on goal after following the zippy teenager's run into the box.

47 minLike in the first half, Balotelli drops back once again to get involved in play, but the striker, who is still searching for his first Liverpool league goal, is yet to make a significant impact in this game.

48 minBOOKING! Ben Arfa is the second Hull man to go into the back after a needless barge into Gerrard off the ball.

49 minSome lovely build-up play between Can and Gerrard, who finds Sterling on the left. The England youngster crosses the ball into the box, but it's cleared by Brady. The home side are still struggling to find a way through - mainly due to Hull's sturdy defence.

52 minSterling wins the ball back in plenty of space and decides to knock it left to Balotelli, who manages to hold off his marker to feed the ball forward to meet Can's run, but his pass is too far forward and Brady comes across to clear.

53 minSterling gets some good fortune when the ball bounces in front of him after a long ball to Balotelli fails to meet the Italian. He decides against shooting first time and the ball ends up getting hooked away by Brady, but the defender goes to ground after Sterling catches him on the follow through.

55 minBOOKINGS! Sterling gets a yellow card for catching Brady. The 19-year-old has no complaints, but it didn't appear to be intentional from the youngster. Shortly afterwards, Balotelli also goes into the book for leading with the elbow when trying to win the ball in the air against Bruce.

57 minCHANCE! Hernandez controls the ball well and manages to get away from two Liverpool shirts to swing a shot at goal, but Mignolet is able to grab it with both hands comfortably.

58 minCHANCE! At the other end, Gerrard goes for one of his trademark powerful shots, but the ball just bobbles wide of the post.

59 minSUBS: Liverpool make a double substitution as Coutinho and Lambert come on for Allen and Lallana.

60 minLiverpool introduce two strikers to their formation for the remainder of this game. Balotelli previously said that he enjoys playing alongside another frontman, so we will see the best of him in the next half an hour?

62 minGerrard aims for goal again with a long-range effort, but it gets deflected for a corner, which comes to nothing.

63 minMISS! Balotelli came so close to getting his first goal! The ball gets flicked in from Sterling in the area, which goes beyond the goalkeeper, but Balotelli is unable to head it into the back of the net.

65 minSince Lambert's arrival, Balotelli has had three good chances to score. The ball is fed into the striker's path, but he fails to get on top of the ball and falls to ground in the box. Seconds later, he gets another opportunity, but he ends up fouling his marker.

66 minLiverpool are fully in control right now and have unleashed wave and wave of attack. They're moving the ball much faster following the inclusions of Lambert and Coutinho. The crowd have found their voice again!

67 minCHANCE! Lambert holds the ball up well in the box to lay it off for Sterling, but the teen's shot bounces off a Hull shirt and behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

69 minSUBS: Hull make their own double substitution as Ben Arfa leaves the field for Aluko and Hernandez makes way for Ramirez.

72 minWell, that's a pass that Sterling won't want to see again. The Liverpool man's wayward effort gives the ball to Hull out of nowhere just as the home side are on an attack. The teen's mistake gives the visitors a chance in Liverpool's half, but they don't make the most of it.

74 minOh dear, Lovren should do a lot better. Gerrard delivers a free kick into the box, which eventually falls to Balotelli, who plays the ball across to Lovren, but the defender goes for a flick, but completely misses the ball!

74 minSUB: Liverpool make their final change as Henderson comes on for Can with around 15 minutes left to play.

76 minCoutinho's quick feet allows him to play the ball on to Lambert, whose first touch lets him down as the ball moves away from him. However, the forward should have been flagged offside, but the assistant referee missed it.

78 minSterling shows his pace once again by driving down to the byline to latch onto the ball, but Brady does his job well once again to get their first and knock it behind for a corner. Gerrard's corner kick is eventually knocked out to Coutinho, who goes for a long-range shot, but it fails to trouble the keeper.

79 minInterestingly, the referee has gone over to Gerrard to tell his teammate Balotelli to calm down after he committed four fouls after receiving a yellow card. Perhaps just one more and then the Italian could be off?

80 minAluko tries to break the deadlock at the other end, but his shot goes straight into the hands of Mignolet. Liverpool then go on the attack, but Sterling is brought down by Bruce and wins a free kick for the home side, which comes to nothing.

81 minBOOKING! That's a good call from the referee after Henderson gets a yellow card for diving. The midfielder went down in the box after going shoulder to shoulder with Diame, but replays show that there was no contact.

83 minThe initial surge from Liverpool after the arrival of Coutinho and Lambert has gone a bit flat. Hull are seeing more of the ball and you feel that tensions are beginning to build within the fans as the clock ticks down.

84 minManquillo gets space down the right and manages to feed a cross into the box, but Davies gets there first to clear for a throw-in.

85 minCHANCE! Liverpool get a free kick in a dangerous area just outside of the box after Sterling suffers two fouls at the hands of Diame. Gerrard delivers another good ball into the box to find Coutinho on the back post, but the Brazilian's header goes over the bar.

86 minSUB: Hull make their final chance as Meyler comes on for Diame.

87 minSterling's back-heel finds Lambert, but Davies follows the run well and is able to clear the danger.

87 minPENALTY SHOUT! The crowd are screaming for a penalty after Balotelli goes down in the box following pressure from Huddlestone, but the striker seemed to be falling before any contact was made. The right decision from the referee.

89 minLiverpool are piling on the pressure here as they search for a winning goal in the closing stages of this match. However, Hull get some joy when Ramirez holds the ball up well and gives the visitors a spell of possession.

90+2 minSAVE! Liverpool come achingly close to grabbing a late goal as Coutinho tries to swerve the ball into the back of the net, but Jakupovic manages to get fingertips on it to push the ball over the bar.

90+3 minCHANCE! Liverpool are desperate to find the winner here as they continue to launch attacks. Coutinho sends a wonderful ball into the box and Balotelli only needed a tap in to win the match from three yards out, but Jakupovic does enough to keep it out.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Liverpool 0-0 Hull City

4.58pmWell, I assume Mario Balotelli will make the headlines again after failing to convert a number of chances that came his way at Anfield this afternoon. Hull will leave the happier side after clinching a well-earned point after carrying out their defensive duties perfectly. At times Liverpool showed signs of last season's intensity, but the same problems continue to frustrate the Merseyside outfit. That's all from me, but make sure to stick around on Sports Mole for analysis and player ratings. Thank you for joining us, and until next time, goodbye!

A stoic-looking Brendan Rodgers ahead of Liverpool's game with Man City on August 25, 2014
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