Reading v Liverpool: Hobbs handed first league start

Jack Hobbs makes his first ever Premiership start for Liverpool this evening at Reading, but not in place of Jamie Carragher as had been expected. Carragher is one booking away from missing the Manchester United match, and was injured last time out against Bolton so it was thought Rafa may have considered leaving him on the bench. Instead it’s Sami Hyypia on the bench and Hobbs lines up alongside Carragher, in a defence that also includes Alvaro Arbeloa and John Arne Riise.

Another surprise is Rafa’s decision to play three forwards for the game. Javier Mascherano and Momo Sissoko are in the centre midfield, with Steven Gerrard expected to play there too in a 4-3-3 which includes Voronin, Crouch and Torres up front. Then again with Rafa it’s never certain exactly what he’s planning until the players are actually out there.

It’s a very attack minded squad for Rafa, who’s also got Kewell, Kuyt and Babel on the bench.

Reading: 1 Hahnemann, 2 Murty, 5 Sonko, 16 Ingimarsson, 3 Shorey, 10 Hunt, 15 Harper, 6 Gunnarsson, 17 Convey, 9 Doyle, 12 Kitson
Subs: 32 Federici, 4 Cisse, 8 Lita, 22 Bikey, 24 Long

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 46 Hobbs, 6 Riise, 8 Gerrard, 20 Mascherano, 22 Sissoko, 10 Voronin, 9 Torres, 15 Crouch
Subs: 30 Itandje, 4 Hyypia, 7 Kewell, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel

Referee: Andre Marriner