By Tim Treacy
Liverpool travel to Fulham on Monday and they will be hoping for a repeat performance of last seasons 5-2 trashing which included a Maxi Rodriguez’ hat-trick. This fixture has been dominated by Liverpool in recent times where Fulham have only managed 3 wins against Liverpool in 20 attempts since their promotion to the Premier League in 2001.
Liverpool are on an unbeaten run of 11 games in all competitions and confidence is high at Anfield after recent wins against Chelsea in the Carling Cup and in the Premier League, and also following a 1-1 home draw with Manchester City, a game where City were lucky to escape with a point and where Joe Hart had to make four or five world-class saves to prevent Liverpool from humbling City.
Liverpool have won their last 3 away games in the league but have not won 4 away games in a row since May 2009. They have also tightened up their defence recently and have allowed the fewest shots on target of any Premier League team with just 44 attempts hitting the target. Liverpool suffered a huge blow to their campaign earlier this week with the news that Lucas Leiva, Liverpool’s stand out midfielder this term, will be out of action until next season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Chelsea. Jay Spearing is expected to fill the void left by Lucas and Jonjo Shelvey was also recalled from his very successful loan spell at Blackpool in order to provide adequate cover in midfield. The only other absentees for Liverpool are Steven Gerrard, and Jack Robinson.
Fulham’s form is less than flattering. Although they were unlucky to not bag all three points against Arsenal in their last league outing, their recent run of form sees them having won just one in their last eight league games at Craven Cottage (W1 D4 L3). Their total of 12 points from 13 games equals their lowest tally ever in the Premier League. Fulham are not noted for their heading ability and have a Premier League low on headed goals, with just 7%. Irish winger Damien Duff is a slight doubt for Fulham after aggregating an old calf injury and is struggling to be fit in time for the game. Fulham are also without Stephen Kelly, Philippe Senderos, Carlos Sa, and Zdenek Grygera is out for the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament on November 6th against Spurs.
Fulham v Liverpool
When: Monday, December 5th, 2000 GMT / 1500 EST
Where: Craven Cottage, Fulham, London
EPL: Liverpool 6th (22 points), Fulham 15th (12 points)
Corresponding Game Last Season: Fulham 2 (Dembele 57, Sidwell 86) – Liverpool 5 (Maxi 1, 7, 70, Kuyt 16, Suarez 75)
Leading scorers Fulham: Johnson 11 (League 3), Zamora 5 (League 3), Dempsey 5 (League 3)
Leading scorers Liverpool: Suárez 7 (League 4), Carroll 3 (League 2), Maxi 3 (League 1)
Probable Fulham Starting XI:
DEF: Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise
MID: *Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey
FW: Dembele, Zamora
Subs from: Etheridge, Somogyi, Kasami, Ruiz, Gecov, Sidwell, Johnson, Frei, Burn, Kacaniklic, Marsh-Brown, Tankovic, Davies, *Duff is a maybe.
Probable Liverpool Starting XI:
DEF: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique
MID: Kuyt, Adam, Spearing, Maxi
FW: Suarez, Bellamy
Subs from: Doni, Downing, Kelly, Carragher, Carroll, Coates, Aurélio, Wilson, Flanagan, Henderson
Interact: What’s your final score predictions? Comment below.