The Reds all but surrendered their chance at a top-five finish last week when they dropped points at home to lowly West Ham, but will no doubt keep fighting and chasing those competition points until the final week is complete later this year.
After all, crazier things have happened in the Premier League.
Reading will come into this game as big outsiders (even with the home advantage), but will be desperate to try and take something out of this one.
The Royals seem destined to drop back down to the Championship at the end of the season—currently sitting dead last on the Premier League ladder with the worst defense in the league. If they're going to avoid that drop, then they'll need to start picking up points in all their games, starting on Saturday
Can last-place Reading pull out something special here, or will it be the Reds' European dream that emerges triumphant from this weekend?
Read on for a full preview of this match including all the key details, live viewing information, analysis and some last-minute predictions.
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Start time: 10:00 a.m. ET (3:00 p.m. British time)
Venue: Madjeski Stadium, Reading, England
Live Stream and TV Information
Fox Soccer Plus and TalkSport Radio will both provide live coverage of this match throughout the United States, according to Live Soccer TV.
A live stream can also be found through Fox Soccer 2Go.
The home side do not carry a promising form line into this match, having been defeated in their past seven Premier League contests by some mediocre teams.
The resistance that Reading had shown over the winter transfer window has quickly disappeared, with the Royals' last league win coming over two months ago.
What's more, they'll be looking to try and beat a Liverpool side that's lost just three times in 2013 and has scored in 10 straight away matches. The Reds have, in fact, scored more goals in 2013 than any other Premier League club and will no doubt be looking to improve on that in this one against Reading, who have conceded more goals than any other club.
Key Player to Watch: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Luis Suarez has been completely synonymous with Liverpool's success this season, with the striker churning out one of his strongest seasons ever.
The Uruguayan has netted 22 goals in the Premier League (leading all players) so far this year and seems likely to build on that total against Reading who, as mentioned, have conceded more goals than any other club this season.
When these two sides last met, Suarez finished the game with an assist and a whopping 10 shots in total for the match. The Royals had no answer to his mazy dribbling and keen eye for goal, and if that continues here, then it could be a big day for Suarez.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has strengthened his side greatly since then also—bringing in both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in the winter. That duo has been a huge boost for Suarez, who has scored more goals away from home than at home this season.
Biggest Storyline to Follow: What Did Liverpool Learn from Last Week?
Having said all of that about Liverpool's attack and Reading's woeful defense, the question must be asked as to whether it will actually happen for Liverpool. That is, did they learn anything from last week's embarrassing 0-0 draw at home to West Ham?
The Hammers have been one of the worst teams on the road this year—scoring a dismal amount of goals and seemingly unable to stop anything. And up against the hottest attack in the Premier League, at Anfield, it seemed likely Liverpool would chalk up a big win.
Yet after some poor finishing, plenty of wasted chances and costly turnovers, the Reds walked away from Merseyside without a goal to their name.
So will they make the same mistakes again in this one, or will Rodgers have corrected those issues during the week?
On what we've seen this year, you would have to think the latter. Liverpool haven't not scored in consecutive games all season, and Rodgers will likely have drilled into them all week the importance of not slipping up in their chase for a European spot. After all, the season isn't over and they still could make a run at the top four, meaning that they must stay completely focused.
Reading are also a far worse defensive team than West Ham, which should help the Reds in this one as they seek to get back in the winner's circle.
Liverpool should cruise to victory this week, and as much as we've said that and been wrong this season, it seems almost impossible to be wrong with that given how poor Reading have been.
The Royals don't seem to have the urgency of a team playing for their future in the Premier League, and while relegation-threatened teams are typically tough to play at this point in the season, it's hard to see the Reds having too many problems in this one.
Look for Suarez and Sturridge to give the Reds an early lead, and for their attack to thrive as a result of the Royals having to attack to get back in the game. Reading may well grab a goal at the other end, but given how dominant Liverpool will be, it's hard to see it mattering too much.
Liverpool keep their European dream alive for another week while Reading have their losing streak extended to an embarrassing eight games in a row.
Prediction: Reading 1, Liverpool 4
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