Fulham vs Liverpool
Venue: Craven Cottage
Referee: Craig Pawson
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
There is little time to celebrate for Liverpool after their Champions League triumph on Wednesday night as they prepare to take the reins of the Premier League title race once more. With Manchester City out of action this weekend on FA Cup quarter-final duties, the Reds have the chance to go back to the summit of the Premier League table.
The Reds travel to Craven Cottage as they take on Fulham who currently lie in the relegation places, 13 points from safety and with it all to do.
Scott Parker has recently been put in control as Claudio Ranieri left his post early last month but this Fulham side is yet to pick up any points so far with Parker at the helm. Notably this season, Fulham have the worst defensive record in the league, conceding nine goals more than closest rivals Burnley (17th – 30 points) and 11 more than Cardiff (18th – 28 points). It’s sad to say but this league’s campaign is almost over for the Cottagers who have been unable to rectify their poor form at the back, even after 30 games have passed by.
Liverpool on the other hand are flying high and have been given one of the better draws, on paper, for the quarter finals of the Champions League. That being said, and as mentioned, they have to keep their run of form going and shouldn’t take their foot off the gas here. The Reds have punished stronger defensive sides over the season and if their more recent matches are anything to go by, this could be goal filled affair again on Sunday.
Fulham were on a run of six straight defeats before these sides met last time out, where the Reds ran away 2-0 winners at Anfield. Fulham are yet again on a run of six straight defeats and although they play at home, it’s hard to see anything less than a Liverpool win – a win that would take them two points clear at the top although Manchester City would see a game in hand.
Sadio Mane is bang in form and will once again be important at Craven Cottage. With three braces in his last four games and 16 goals from open play in the league this season he’s currently joint top with Sergio Aguero at this stage of the season and remains in the running for the Golden Boot. The Senegalese international has had a tremendous season so far and he has filled in superbly since Mo Salah has stopped finding the net in recent weeks – a welcomed hero at a time of need for Liverpool. Albeit, of his last eight league goals, only one has been away from home.
There has not been a single draw between these sides in 13 Premier League meetings at Craven Cottage.
Fulham have lost five on the bounce against Liverpool with their last win at Anfield in May 2012.
Fulham have lost 24 of their last 25 Premier League matches against top six sides.
Fulham have lost 17 games by a margin of two or more goals this season.
Liverpool have conceded nine goals in their last ten games, one more than they had in their previous 20 games.
Jurgen Klopp’s side is unbeaten in 11 meetings against newly promoted teams, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four in the process.
Liverpool have equalled their best record at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
No fresh injury concerns for the Cottagers as Andre Schurrle has been training again having recovered from a virus. Alfie Mawson is still in recovery from knee surgery but should be back playing before the end of the season, Marcus Bettinelli is also out with a knee injury for the home side.
Captain Jordan Henderson was forced off after a 13-minute ankle injury midweek and Jurgen Klopp has declared him unfit although he should be back ready after the international break. Naby Keita has not played a part in a full week of training and as Klopp mentioned they will see how he gets on when he trains later this week. Joe Gomez is still sidelined with an injury but again could be fit after the international break, as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who could appear with a first XI shirt on very soon.
Predicted Starting XIs
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Rico; Odoi, Ream, Nordtveit, Bryan; Chambers, McDonald; Babel, Cairney, Sessegnon; Mitrovic
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Lallana, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Score Prediction: Fulham 0 Liverpool 3
I feel a relentless Liverpool performance from front to back incoming here. Fulham are down in the dumps and Liverpool will want to make a statement to Manchester City by taking the lead at the top of the table and closing the gap on the goal difference too. Mo Salah is due a very good game in front of goal and I feel Fulham’s defence is the one to give it to him here. Any win to nil for Liverpool here would be a great result.