After some early season jitters, Fiorentina finished 2013 strongly and in fourth place in Serie A, just three points from Napoli in the final all-important Champions League position. The Viola won three of their final four game prior to the winter break, the only blot coming in the form of a 2-1 away loss to unbeaten Roma. Their last two matches before the break yielded a 1-0 victory away to Sassuolo and a more convincing 3-0 win at home to Bologna, both matches fuelled by their standout men, Giuseppe Rossi up front and Borja Valero in midfield. Both men have been key to Fiorentina's good form, Rossi leads the league with 14 goals and contributed the winner against Sassuolo and the icing on the cake against Bologna, whilst Valero has contributed six assists as well as five goals to be one of the most influential players in the league. Fiorentina will want to get their Spring campaign off to the best possible start and all of their January fixtures come against sides below them in the league, so three points against beleaguered opponents will be their target.
Livorno ended 2013 second-bottom in Serie A, three points above Catania below but just two from Bologna in 17th. The Amaranto slid down the standings in November and December, picking up just one point from their last seven matches, a 2-2 draw against AC Milan providing the only relief. The last time Livorno won a match was a 1-0 victory over Atalanta at the beginning of November and perhaps most demoralising of all, December featured a 3-0 loss to fellow strugglers Chievo. The fundamental problem has been a lack of goals, having scored just four in their last seven matches and the whole team having scored just one more than Giuseppe Rossi in the season. The winter break really couldn't have come soon enough and hopefully for the fans, detaching themselves from the first half of the season will provide a clean break to really push for survival however the first test against an in-form side is not the ideal start.
Fiorentina are relatively unencumbered by injuries, with only long-termers Mario Gomez and Ahmed Hegazy missing out, whilst David Pizarro and Gonzalo Rodriguez are set to return. Ruben Botta will still be absent for Livorno, with Emerson also missing out due to suspension.
FIorentina injures and suspensions
Out: Mario Gomez, Ahmed Hegazy (injured). In doubt: David Pizarro, Gonzalo Rodriguez.
Livorno injures and suspensions
Fiorentina: Neto, Tomovic, Savic, Rodriguez, Pasqual, Aquilani, Valero, Ambrosini, Cuadrado, Vargas, Rossi
Livorno: Bardi, Schiattarella, Coda, Ceccherini, Lambrughi, Rinaudo, Biagianti, Benassi, Greco, Paulinho, Siligardi
Match date/time: Sunday 5th January 2014, 18:00 local, 12:00 E.T.
Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi (Florence)
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy); beIN Sport, RAI Internazionale (USA); ESPN UK/HD (UK).