Fulham vs Liverpool Preview - Reds look to make it seven-in-a-row over The Cottagers
Venue – Craven Cottage, London
Referee – Andre Marriner
Date & Time – Sunday, December 13th @ 16:30
Current Odds – Fulham 8/1, Draw 9/2, Liverpool 3/10
With the Champions League group safely won, Liverpool can now focus on cementing their place in the title challenge with Spurs and Chelsea over the coming weeks. On Sunday, The Reds travel to London to face Fulham before then welcoming Spurs and Jose Mourinho to Anfield the following Wednesday night.
Liverpool’s injury list, though still ridiculously long, is gradually shortening as players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keïta and Alisson Becker return to the fold. If Jurgen Klopp’s Mighty Redmen can keep the challenge going both domestically and in Europe until more first-teamers are back fit and firing, then it could be another glorious season for Liverpool.
Fulham are currently 17th in the Premier League, one point above Burnley and the dreaded relegation zone. Scott Parker’s side has won two of their 11 games, losing 8 times. However, those two victories did come along in their most recent five fixtures. They beat West Brom 2-0 at Craven Cottage and then wowed everyone with a 2-1 win away to 4th-placed Leicester City.
Last time out, Fulham lost 2-0 away to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Liverpool have only lost once since the start of October – 2-0 at home to Atalanta in the Champions League. That October defeat was the 7-2 hammering at the hands of Aston Villa.
The Reds won their Champions League group relatively comfortably and are level on points with Spurs at the top of the Premier League. Jose Mourinho’s men are first due to superior goal difference.
It really has been a great showing from a Liverpool squad in the midst of one of the worst injury crises the club has ever known.
On Wednesday night, Jürgen Klopp fielded Liverpool’s youngest ever team for a Champions League fixture. They drew 1-1 with FC Midtjylland in Denmark. Last weekend, The Reds turned in one of the performances of the season, beating a good Wolves side 4-0 at Anfield.
Fulham Team News
Fulham will be without both Terence Kongolo and Kenny Tete for Sunday’s game.
Scott Parker has tried some different formations this season – 4-2-3-1, 5-4-1, and 3-4-2-1 being the main ones. I expect Fulham to go with a 5-4-1 shape for Sunday’s match with Liverpool.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been out of the starting lineup in recent weeks due to what Parker referred to as a “tactical decision”. The Serbian international striker is likely to lead the line this weekend against The Reds though.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool came through their midweek game with FC Midtjylland relatively unscathed. The Reds’ back-up left-back Kostas Tsimikas did suffer a knee injury that forced him off after an hour. It’s still unclear how long that injury will keep him out of the first-team squad for.
Tsimikas joins the long injury list alongside the names of Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, James Milner and Alisson Becker.
From that list, it appears that Alisson Becker and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the two players closest to making a return. ‘The Ox’ has been injured since pre-season so it will be a fantastic sight to see the midfielder back as part of a matchday squad. Hopefully, that will be this Sunday.
With Caoimhin Kelleher displaying such fine form in three consecutive games during Alisson’s absence, Jürgen Klopp may decide to keep Kelleher in goal for the Fulham game, thus allowing Alisson more time to complete his rehabilitation.
Trent Alexander-Arnold played 90 minutes against FC Midtjylland, captaining the team for the first time in his career – not bad at just 22 years of age. Naby Keïta also started and played an hour without picking up an injury. Klopp will be delighted to have both players back in contention.
Joël Matip will partner Fabinho in central defence. Matip was rested for the trip to Denmark last Wednesday. Andy Robertson should return to the starting lineup at left-back. Robbo had to come on after 60 minutes to replace the injured Tsimikas against FC Midtjylland.
Klopp could opt for the 4-2-3-1 formation with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum forming the midfield duo. That would leave room for his strongest four attackers to all start – Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.
Fulham XI (5-4-1) – Aréola; Reid, Aina, Andersen, Tosin Adarabioyo, Robinson; Anguissa, Loftus-Cheek, Reed, Lookman; Mitrovic
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 2-1 the last time they visited Craven Cottage, in March 2019. Sadio Mané and James Milner (penalty) were the scorers for The Reds while former Liverpool man Ryan Babel scored Fulham’s goal that day.
FULHAM 0 – 2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool were fantastic against Wolves last Sunday night. Fulham are struggling in the Premier League again and The Reds will be disappointed with anything less than six points from their two games with Scott Parker’s side.