Fulham are still in search of some semblance of form in the Premier League as they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Sunday.
Liverpool have started stuttering of late. Their performances haven’t been as good as they were early on in the season and Jurgen Klopp was handed a reality check by FK Crvena Zvezda in the Champions League, with Liverpool being beaten 2-0 despite starting almost all of their key stars.
As far as the league form is concerned, Liverpool are still undefeated. But, their performance levels seem to have taken a dip after the early blitz.
Fulham are on the opposite end of the spectrum. With just a solitary win, their lavish and surprising transfer window has not yielded anything thus far, with the team just not gelling well. It might just be a case of too many changes. But, the quality of players they boast of should produce results far far superior than being rock bottom in the Premier League after 11 games.
Fulham’s last league visit to Anfield saw them receive a 4-0 battering at the hands of Liverpool. We take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne are still on the sidelines. Trent Alexander-Arnold is on the mend. But, the good news is Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Joe Gomez, Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson are all available for the Fulham fixture.
Changes are in order after the shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of FK Crvena Zvezda. The backline should see Gomez return. Alexander-Arnold should be fit in time to be deployed on the right side of the defence. If not, we could see Joel Matip continue to partner Virgil van Dijk in central defence, with Gomez on the right.
Naby Keita and Fabinho should come into the starting lineup, with Adam Lallana failing to impress. With Jordan Henderson available, he should start. But, we could alternatively see Jurgen Klopp retain James Milner.
Daniel Sturridge did not make the most of his chance and will definitely be replaced by Roberto Firmino upfront. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were both disappointing. While both of them should start, we could see Salah be rested in favour of Xherdan Shaqiri, who has shown a bit of form in recent outings.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Joe Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane
Joe Bryan is out for the visit to Anfield. Kevin McDonald is recovering but the Liverpool game will come too early for him. Maxime Le Marchand and Alfie Mawson should be the centre-back pairing. Ryan Sessegnon is likely to start in his early-career natural position at left-back, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah on the right.
Jean Michael Seri and Tom Cairney will have to be more responsible for the creative part of the attack. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will be at the base of the midfield. Luciano Vietto and Andre Shurrle are likely to assume their positions on either side of the centre forward, a position that should be filled up by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has been the only player in some sort of form for Fulham.
Slavisa Jokanovic has to sort out the mess that is the entire tactical system. The defence is leaking too many goals while the attack is unable to compensate for the same. As far as the goalkeeping area is concerned, Sergio Rico could be handed another chance to shine, especially with Marcus Bettinelli not really solving any problems.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Rico; Fosu-Mensah, Mawson, Le Marchand, Sessegnon; Cairney, Zambo Anguissa, Seri; Vietto, Mitrovic, Schurrle
1. Under 4.5 Match Goals @ 1.53
2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.83
1. Under 2.5 Match Goals @ 4.00
1. Liverpool have scored 4 goals in their previous two home league matches against Fulham.
2. Fulham have scored just one cumulative goal in their last five league games at Anfield.
3. Fulham are one of just three English clubs yet to keep a clean sheet in the 2018-19 campaign so far. (Macclesfield and Sheffield Wednesday)
4. Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have won all eight games against newly promoted sides, scoring 25 goals and conceding just 3.
5. After a brief purple patch of 5 goals in 4 games, Mohamed Salah has not scored in two games now.
Player to Watch
If there is one player who has to take on the burden of providing the attacking trio with ammunition and feed them the ball in dangerous positions, it has to be Tom Cairney. Jean Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa are more suited to the box-to-box role and Cairney will have to step up to be the playmaker that Fulham so desperately are in need of.
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle have already shown they can score if they receive proper service. All eyes on the Scottish international.
Liverpool 1-0 Fulham
Fulham’s form has not been dodgy. The Cottagers have been consistently poor in terms of results and one of their major problems is a lack of goals, having not scored in the last three league matches. Liverpool will be jolted by the defeat to FK Crvena Zvezda and could be vulnerable.
Given Liverpool’s record against teams towards the lower end of the table in general, Fulham do have a chance. It should be a close contest, with Fulham likely to be resistant to Liverpool’s attacks. But, the Reds should emerge victorious in the end, albeit only narrowly. A 1-0 win for the home side is what we are going for.