Liverpool will hope to begin the 2022/23 Premier League season with a bang when they take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The 2022/23 Premier League season is finally here, and a bizarre campaign will get underway with the game between Crystal Palace and Arsenal on Friday night. The proceedings on Saturday will kick-start with Fulham’s first outing since returning to the top flight, as the Londoners play hosts to Liverpool at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
Fulham will be desperate to shed the tag of being a yo-yo team after pendulating between the EFL Championship and the Premier League in the last few seasons. The Cottagers returned to the top flight after finishing atop the standings in the second tier. Marco Silva’s men will be raring to go in the 2022/23 season after a decent pre-season campaign that saw them beat OGC Nice and Estoril Praia.
On the other hand, Liverpool started and ended the pre-season poorly, losing 4-0 to Manchester United last month and 3-0 to Strasbourg a few days ago. The Reds also went down 1-0 to Red Bull Salzburg. But Jurgen Klopp and his charges will be buoyed by the win over Manchester City to clinch the FA Community Shield.
Liverpool went down 1-0 to a Mario Lemina goal the last time they locked horns with Fulham, back in March 2021. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Marco on team news: 🗣
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) August 5, 2022
Marco Silva has a few pressing injury concerns to contend with ahead of the visit of Liverpool. On Saturday afternoon, the Fulham manager will be bereft of the services of at least three first-team players, with Manor Solomon’s availability also in doubt.
The major absentee for Fulham is Harry Wilson, with the Liverpool academy graduate recovering from a knee injury. In addition, the Cottagers are missing the services of Joe Bryan (fractured hand) and Nathaniel Chalobah (unspecified).
While Solomon will unlikely be available to take on Liverpool, Silva should name the rest of Fulham’s summer signings in the matchday squad, starting with Bernd Leno, who should line up between the sticks after completing his move from Arsenal this week. Fulham will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of the German goalkeeper.
Kevin Mbabu, who has arrived from VfL Wolfsburg, will likely take up the right-back slot, with Antonee Robinson starting on the opposite flank. Tosin Adarabioyo and Tim Ream should pair up at the heart of the Fulham defence, with Shane Duffy unlikely to make the starting eleven.
Joao Palhinha will be the pivotal figure for Fulham in the upcoming season, and he will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park alongside Harrison Reed. Andreas Pereira should be the third midfielder for Fulham, with the Brazilian playmaker reprising the no. 10 role.
Pereira will look to pull the strings and link up with Aleksandar Mitrovic, who will be desperate to improve his grim Premier League record. Bobby Reid and Neeskens Kebano will be the two wide attackers for Fulham, supporting Mitrovic from the flanks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Mbabu, Adarabioyo, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; Reid, Pereira, Kebano; Mitrovic
Unlike his counterpart in the Fulham dugout, Jurgen Klopp has a plethora of roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage. The Liverpool boss will be without seven first-team players on Saturday.
The good news is that Alisson Becker is available after recovering from a minor issue. The Brazilian goalkeeper should be fit enough to start between the sticks for Liverpool against Fulham. But Kostas Tsimikas (knock), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Naby Keita (illness), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Curtis Jones (calf), Diogo Jota (thigh), and Caoimhin Kelleher miss out.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 5, 2022
Liverpool will line up in the usual 4-3-3 formation against Fulham, with Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk forming the central defensive partnership. In addition, there is no looking past Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson as the two full-backs for the Reds.
Up ahead in midfield, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson pick themselves, with James Milner and Harvey Elliott the only backup options for the central midfield slots. The same goes for the offensive unit, with Klopp short-changed in the final third.
Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz are the first-choice wide attackers for Liverpool, with the duo carrying the bulk of the threat in the final third against Fulham. Roberto Firmino, who recently insisted he would not leave Liverpool this summer, will reprise the false-nine role, with Darwin Nunez an option off the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
- Fulham were unbeaten across both Premier League games against Liverpool in 2020/21, drawing 1-1 at home and winning 1-0 at Anfield. Despite suffering relegation that season, the Cottagers’ four points against the Reds was their joint-most against an opponent (also four vs Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion).
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lost his first Premier League meeting with Marco Silva in February 2017, with his side losing 0-2 away at Hull City. Since then, Klopp is unbeaten in his last four outings against the Portuguese tactician in the competition (W2 D2), with the most recent being a 5-2 win against Silva’s Everton.
- On the five previous occasions Fulham have been newly promoted to the English top-flight, they have lost their first league match of the season, doing so in 1949/50, 1959/60, 2001/02, 2018/19 and 2020/21. On the other hand, Liverpool have won their first Premier League match in each of the last four seasons, the longest ongoing run in the top flight, scoring at least three goals in every victory (15 goals in total).
- Fulham are without a win in their previous ten Premier League games (D2 L8), with their last top-flight victory coming against Liverpool in March 2021. Meanwhile, Liverpool are unbeaten in their most recent 19 Premier League games (W16 D3) since a 1-0 loss at Leicester City in December 2021.
- Mohamed Salah has scored in Liverpool’s opening Premier League game in each of his five seasons with the club, with the Egyptian the only player in the competition’s history to score in Gameweek 1 five years in a row. Salah has seven such goals in total, with only three players netting more (Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, eight each).
Player to Watch
All eyes will be on Mohamed Salah to see if he can continue his perfect record on the opening day of a season. But Luis Diaz will have a point to prove against Fulham after becoming the first-choice left-winger for Liverpool following Sadio Mane’s move to Bayern Munich.
The Colombian international has big shoes to fill at Anfield in the upcoming season, and a strong start to the 2022/23 campaign should set the tone for him to take up the role efficiently. If the performances from the last term are anything to go by, Liverpool’s left-wing berth is in safe hands with Diaz.
Fulham 0-3 Liverpool
Judging by the kind of signings they have made this summer, Fulham should not be the whipping boys in the 2022/23 Premier League season. But a Gameweek 1 outing against Liverpool could pose a problem for Marco Silva’s ambitions for the upcoming campaign.
The Cottagers have the team to frustrate Liverpool. But with Darwin Nunez coming off the bench and Mohamed Salah looking in good touch, the Reds should eventually storm through and claim a 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage to begin the season in emphatic fashion.