Mark Hughes’ team have improved performance-wise in the past few weeks and will hope to take advantage against a Reading side that were involved in that amazing League Cup tie against Arsenal which saw the Royals lose 7-5 after extra-time.
Later on Sunday afternoon, Newcastle arrive at Anfield hoping to inflict their second home defeat on Liverpool in a week, although Brendan Rodgers will be able to restore several first-team players to the team.
QPR v Reading 13:30
These teams have already met at Loftus Road this season when Reading claimed a 3-2 win in the Capital One Cup although that victory could indirectly hinder their chances of beating Rangers again this weekend.
After all, while the QPR players have had plenty of recovery time since that 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, the opposite could be said of Brian McDermott’s men who led Arsenal 4-0 on Tuesday before conceding seven goals to be knocked out of the competition.
The Hoops will be sniffing blood and the bookies offer a best price 5/6 (Coral free bets) about Mark Hughes finally relieving some of the pressure on his shoulder by steering the west London side to an important victory.
While Rangers are without a top flight win this term, the same can be said of Reading who are just a point better off than their opponents after relinquishing several leading positions this season, although they have also salvaged late points against Stoke City and Fulham.
You do sense that a lack of quality might let the visitors down this season with McDermott unable to strengthen his side too significantly, although they are probably overpriced at 7/2 to claim three points at Loftus Road and leave Hughes’ tenure dangling by a thread.
Liverpool v Newcastle 16:00
Brendan Rodgers has admitted that Liverpool are a work in progress at the moment and that was highlighted on Wednesday night when Swansea City claimed a 3-1 victory at Anfield against a team that included Joe Allen, Joe Cole, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
Only the former is likely to retain his place for the visit of Newcastle and the bookies feel the return of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez will result in a different result, with the Reds a best price 8/13 (Blue Square) to come away with a maximum haul, although it’s hard to have much confidence in this side at odds-on.
After all, they have triumphed just once at Anfield out of five Premier League matches and that was a slender 1-0 win against Reading which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Liverpool’s ability to score goals.
Pool have scored just four goals in front of their own supporters compared to eight on the road and they were a touch unlucky to draw 2-2 at Goodison Park after racing into a two-goal lead before Luis Suarez had an injury-time goal disallowed.
The Uruguayan is having an excellent season at the moment and Paddy Power go 9/2 about the striker breaking the deadlock against a Newcastle side that could well be missing top scorer Demba Ba after the Senegal forward was substituted with a nerve problem.
For many, Newcastle’s price of 6/1 will simply be too irresistible considering that the Magpies finished streets ahead of Liverpool last season and United have suffered just one defeat in their last six games.
Papiss Cisse is a hotshot who inadvertently scored the winner against West Brom and perhaps he will make Liverpool wish they had a player like him when all is said and done.