Cardiff and Liverpool both enjoyed significant results during the week for very different reasons. The Bluebirds’ 2-0 win at relegation rivals Brighton lifted them to within touching distance of that coveted 17th place, while the Reds powered past Porto to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League for the second season running. The two teams have contrasting objectives as regards the conclusion of the Premier League – Liverpool are striving to win it; Cardiff would be happy just to stay in it.
The final four league fixtures for Jürgen Klopp’s title challengers don’t appear to be the most daunting, with Huddersfield long since relegated and Newcastle and Wolves comfortable. However, tomorrow’s trip to the Welsh capital has all the hallmarks of being a very tricky obstacle for the Reds, especially with Neil Warnock’s men in high spirits after the potentially priceless victory in Brighton. Our statistical analysis looks at the two teams’ recent form and previous meetings.
Last six Premier League games
Cardiff: W2, D0, L4, F5, A8, Pts 6
Liverpool: W5, D1, L0, F13, A6, Pts 16
Cardiff have not drawn in the Premier League since a 0-0 against Huddersfield in January, with four wins and eight defeats in their subsequent 12 matches. That ratio of two defeats to a win is replicated in their last six games, five of which have finished 2-0 either for or against Warnock’s side. The exception was the hugely controversial 1-2 defeat to Chelsea three weeks ago, when a series of inexplicable refereeing decisions cost the Bluebirds dearly. Tuesday’s win over Brighton, though, suggests that they have put that disappointment behind them, although they haven’t won two in a row or even gone two unbeaten since 9 February.
Liverpool’s winning run in all competitions is now up to eight, with five of those coming in the Premier League. The 2-0 win over Chelsea last week was their first clean sheet in the league since the goalless draw at Everton in early March, but since then the Reds have averaged 2.6 goals a game. They’ve hit at least two in every match on this winning streak, with the wins over Burnley (4-2) and Southampton (3-1) boosting their goal ratio further.
Premier League head-to-head record
With this being only Cardiff’s second Premier League season, there isn’t much recent history between the teams – although the Bluebirds have had different managers in each of their three previous league clashes with Liverpool. The first of those was at the end of Malky Mackay’s reign just before Christmas 2013, when a 3-1 win at Anfield ensured that the home side would be top of the tree when Santa Claus did his rounds.
The return fixture three months later was a nine-goal saga, as described in further detail below. Cardiff’s manager on that day was Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who of course has seen his managerial career take on a rather different trajectory to Mackay’s in the last five years.
The other Premier League clash took place six months ago, when Liverpool beat Warnock’s Cardiff 4-1 at Anfield. While the men from Wales have lost all of their Premier League meetings with the Reds so far, they have also managed to score in each of them.
Last Cardiff City Stadium meeting
Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool, 22 March 2014
There are some similarities between then and now, with Liverpool going for the league title and Cardiff battling against relegation, but the notable difference was that the red shirts were being worn by the team from the Welsh capital, this being during the hugely unpopular and short-lived red-clad era of Vincent Tan’s ownership.
It was the hosts who struck first on this occasion through Jordon Mutch, his goal quickly cancelled out by Luis Suárez. Ex-Manchester United youngster Fraizer Campbell restored Cardiff’s lead before Martin Škrtel levelled it again coming up to half-time. Both Škrtel and Suárez added further goals in the early second half exchanges to seemingly put the game out of Cardiff’s reach, with Daniel Sturridge making it 5-2 going into the final quarter.
Liverpool had a notoriously leaky defence under Brendan Rodgers, though, and conceded another late on, with Mutch doubling his tally for the afternoon. With six minutes of stoppage time played, there was still time for Suárez to finally round it all off and complete his hat-trick in style, bamboozling David Marshall on a bonkers afternoon in Cardiff. There were past and future Liverpool players lining out for the home side in Craig Bellamy and Steven Caulker respectively.
Liverpool’s recent visits to Wales
Although this is only the second time that Liverpool will have played at the Cardiff City Stadium, they are no strangers to playing in Wales in the 21st century. Indeed, since 2001, this will be their 18th game in the country across four venues.
Eight of those have been played at the Millennium Stadium, now known as the Principality Stadium for sponsorship reasons, with Liverpool reaching cup finals in the early 2000s with such frequency that the venue became known tongue-in-cheek as Anfield South. Six of those visits ended with the Reds collecting silverware, with the League Cup (2001, 2003), FA Cup (2001, 2006) and Community Shield (2001, 2006) each won twice.
Their only defeats at the home of Welsh rugby were in the 2002 Community Shield (1-0 to Arsenal) and the 2005 League Cup final (3-2 to Chelsea after extra time). Also in 2005, they played in Wales against national champions Total Network Solutions (now The New Saints) at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, winning 3-0 in a Champions League qualifier just two months after The Miracle of Istanbul.
In the seven Premier League seasons prior to this one, Liverpool visited the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea. Their away record against the Swans is far from flattering, with only two wins from seven visits (1-0 in March 2015 and 2-1 in October 2016). Of the other five visits, three ended in defeat, including the first (1-0 to Swansea in Rodgers’ final game in charge of the Welsh side before departing for Liverpool) and the most recent (another 1-0 defeat in January 2018).