Must-win for struggling Liverpool as Fulham aim to pile on Anfield misery

Must-win for struggling Liverpool as Fulham aim to pile on Anfield misery

Liverpool host relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, with three points essential in the top four battle.

Liverpool vs. Fulham

Sunday, March 7, 2021 – 2pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League (28)
Referee: Kevin Friend


Is this all just a bad dream now?

Liverpool’s disastrous season suffered yet another big blow on Thursday night, as Chelsea won 1-0 in richly deserved fashion at Anfield.

Not only was the result hugely damaging in the Reds’ quest to qualify for the Champions League, but it also meant they have lost five home league games in succession for the first time ever.

Every time a glimmer of positivity arrives, another shocking defeat is never far away and Jurgen Klopp‘s men are now at a point where they simply can’t afford to lose many more games.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2019: Fulham's caretaker manager Scott Parker arrives before the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The weekend visit of Fulham would have been a home banker this time last year, but this is a very different Liverpool side we are watching.

They are frail, injury-ravaged and seemingly there for the taking in most matches, so Scott Parker and his struggling team will be eyeing a shock.

The Cottagers’ form has been improved in recent months, allowing the great escape to become possible, but Liverpool must get the better of them on Sunday.

If not, the Reds’ world will cave in that little bit more.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 4, 2021: Liverpool's Ozan Kabak during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Just when it appears as though Liverpool’s rotten luck with injuries may be easing, Klopp is on-hand to confirm another fitness issue.

Ozan Kabak looks like the latest addition to the treatment table, with the manager confirming that he is a doubt for the weekend action.

Nat Phillips and Ben Davies are available, however, so Klopp could use them both, should he choose to play Fabinho in midfield.

A centre-back berth appears more likely for the Brazilian, though, considering there are more midfield options than defensive ones.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 4, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota looks dejected during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has an otherwise fit squad to pick from, barring the obvious long-term casualties, and it could be that rotation is on the cards at Anfield.

Naby Keita and James Milner could start in the middle of the park, allowing two of Gini Wijnaldum, Thiago and Curtis Jones a breather.

Meanwhile, Diogo Jota may come in for his first start since December, with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino woefully out of form.

Fulham have no new injury problems to worry about, so Parker may opt to field this XI that lost 1-0 at home to Tottenham on Thursday.

Possible Fulham XI: Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Reed, Lemina; Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Cavaleiro; Maja

 

Last 5 at Home to Fulham (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 11, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 2-0 – November 2018 (Salah, Shaqiri)
Won 4-0 – November 2013 (Amorebieta OG, Skrtel, Suarez x2)
Won 4-0 – December 2012 (Skrtel, Gerrard, Downing, Suarez)
Lost 1-0 – May 2012 (Skrtel OG)
Won 1-0 – January 2011 (Pantsil OG)

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s front three have been a shadow of their former selves as a unit this season, with one painful statistic summing up their woes.

Incredibly, the trio have scored just eight times in open play at Anfield in the whole of 2020/21, in all competitions, which is almost impossible to comprehend.

Mohamed Salah and Firmino have three apiece – the former is easily the least culpable and has scored five home penalties – while Mane has found the net just twice on home soil.

Imagine being told that back in September!

 

Form

2EXGGE6 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (centre) and his team-mates appear dejected after the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Thursday March 4, 2021.

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Chelsea
Won 2-0 vs. Sheffield United
Lost 2-0 vs. Everton
Won 2-0 vs. RB Leipzig
Lost 3-1 vs. Leicester

Fulham – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Tottenham
Drew 0-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Drew 1-1 vs. Burnley
Won 2-0 vs. Everton

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp was full of praise for Fulham, highlighting the threat they will pose:

“For Fulham, a difficult start but in the last few weeks for sure they’ve got more points than we’ve got and that says everything so it will be a tough one.

“It’s a football-playing team. They have an incredible possession record for a team in that area of the table so they tried their way and it looks like it will work out.

“I saw a few pictures from their game [against Tottenham] and you saw a very active Fulham side and Tottenham had to do everything to defend them, and that’s what will be the job for us as well.

“I hope we can have a little bit more possession and can create more problems for them but we have to be ready for a proper game because we shouldn’t make the mistake to judge Fulham because of their position in the table.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: A silhouette of television cameras during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Fulham will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage from 1pm (GMT) on the former, ahead of the 2pm kickoff.

Ben Twelves is in charge of our matchday live blog, keeping you entertained and up-to-date from 1.15pm.

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