Liverpool host Fulham in the second of their three consecutive scheduled home games, as they try to fight until the final match week for a place in the Champions League next season. They will head into this game on the back of four straight wins in the Premier League, with the latest coming against another European hopeful in Tottenham Hotspur.
The 4-3 result summed up the Reds’ season that have seen several moments of brilliance from their forwards, including seven goals against Manchester United and four against Spurs, combined with shambolic defending, as they threw away a three-goal lead over the weekend. Jurgen Klopp had to wait for Lucas Moura’s mistake for a 94th-minute winner to celebrate like a madman – the antic which comically resulted in a hamstring issue on the touchline.
Fulham, meanwhile, have lost their way in the last two months. At one point they were ahead of Liverpool and within a touching distance of Europa League football. Now they travel to Anfield to keep their hopes of Europa Conference League football alive, with just two wins in their last five.
Head to Head
Fulham have a surprisingly impressive record against Liverpool, having stayed unbeaten against the mighty Reds in their last three games. In fact, their last defeat in Merseyside came in November of 2018.
The last trip to Anfield saw Fulham win 1-0 via a Mario Lemina strike, and the Cottagers were very close to taking all three points in their last meeting at the start of the season. Heading into the final quarter of the game, Fulham led 2-1 courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrović’s brace. But Mo Salah’s 80th-minute equaliser forced Marco Silva to shake hands with Klopp at 2-2.
Klopp’s attack is boosted by the return of Luis Diaz and Jota, as both scored a goal each against Spurs. The German coach’s headache will be to pick one to trouble Fulham from the left wing. Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, and Stefan Bajcetic are sidelined. Thiago is also unlikely to feature after not even being named in the matchday squad on Sunday.
Klopp pulled his hamstring celebrating Jota’s winner, but Liverpool fans have nothing to worry about, their gaffer will be on the touchline on Wednesday night.
Andreas Pereira and Tim Ream, two of Fulham’s best players this season are both out for the rest of the remaining fixtures. Aleksandar Mitrovic is serving his eight-game suspension after improper conduct against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Willian is expected to play against Liverpool – from the start or off the bench remains to be seen.
Alisson (GK), Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Jones, Salah, Gakpo, Jota
Leno (GK), Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson, Reed, Palhinha, Wilson, Cairney, Cordova-Reid, Vinicius
Players to Watch
How Liverpool defends these days depend massively on Van Dijk’s form. The Dutch-man is still their leader in defence, but time and again this season ended up costing his side through his lacklustre defending. Against Spurs, it was his mistake – an untimely slip in front of Ivan Perisic – that opened the floodgates and led to three goals from the visitors. The last time Van Dijk faced Fulham, he gave away a penalty after bringing down Mitrovic.
In the absence of Mitrovic, the former Benfica man has led Fulham’s frontline and was on the score sheet in their last game against Manchester City. Considering Liverpool’s leaky backline, the Brazilian should get a chance or two to add to his tally.
Where will the Game be Decided?
Fulham may have lost their goal-scoring form in the absence of Mitrovic and their playmaker Pereira, but they are still a rigid defensive side. On Sunday, they frustrated Pep Guardiola’s side and were a penalty shout in their favour away from stunning the league leaders. It took a wonder goal from outside the box from Julian Alvarez to steal all three points from Fulham.
If they can keep Liverpool’s star attackers quiet as well, they will have a great chance of going four games unbeaten against Liverpool for the first time since the Premier League’s inception.
Fulham should get their chance to rattle Alisson’s net, but Liverpool’s frontline has scored 17 goals in their last five games and are unlikely to stop against their next opponent. A fifth win on the bounce is on the cards for the Merseyside Reds. Liverpool 2-1 Fulham.
The kickoff is at 19:00 GMT Wednesday at Anfield.
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