Nothing but victory will do for Liverpool this weekend, as they make the trip to relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League.
Fulham vs. Liverpool
Sunday, December 13, 2020 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Premier League (12)
Referee: Andre Marriner
The Reds were bordering on perfect in their 4-0 win over Wolves last weekend, in what was a statement performance in the title race.
That victory was followed up by Wednesday’s 1-1 draw away to Midtjylland, with VAR taking centre stage, rather than the display.
It is a return to league action on Sunday afternoon, with Liverpool strong favourites to prevail at Craven Cottage.
Fulham are currently hovering above the relegation zone in 17th, as Scott Parker continues to hone his craft as a manager.
Despite their struggles, there have been signs of improvements in recent weeks, especially a surprise 2-0 win away to much-fancied Leicester.
With the crucial top-of-the-table clash at home to Tottenham looming three days later, Liverpool must ensure they don’t take their eye off the ball in west London.
Winning this game takes precedence, and with only one win on the Reds’ travels from five games in the league this season, away results must improve.
A professional, convincing three points would be perfect this weekend, avoiding one of the shocks of the season in the process.
There are signs that Liverpool’s injury woes are easing slightly, as Alisson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return to the fold at Fulham.
There are still a number of absentees, though.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez aren’t expected to play again this season, as the Reds continue to fare admirably without them.
Thiago is still absent with the knee injury he picked up against Everton in October, while James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri are also out.
Diogo Jota is now considered a doubt for Sunday, too, and the same applies to Kostas Tsimikas, who limped out of the Midtjylland game with a knee problem.
In terms of team selection, Klopp may have one eye on Spurs, considering it is a bigger challenge – with all due respect to Fulham.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is fit again, but could be saved for Wednesday evening, with Neco Williams being given another chance at right-back.
Joel Matip and Fabinho are expected to return as a centre-back partnership, while Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum should start in midfield.
Naby Keita and Curtis Jones could battle for the remaining place in the middle of the park, assuming Klopp goes with a 4-3-3 formation.
Mohamed Salah played all 90 minutes in midweek, which suggests he is most at risk of being on the substitutes’ bench out of the much-famed attacking quartet.
Should Jota miss out, the Egyptian may line up alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, although Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi are other options.
Josh Onomah and Jay Stansfield are missing for Fulham, but Parker could start the same team that lost 2-0 at Man City, having had a week off.
Possible Fulham XI: Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Reed, Zambo Anguissa, Lemina; Kamara, Lookman, Mitrovic
Last 5 away to Fulham (All Competitions)
Won 2-1 – March 2019 (Babel; Mane, Milner pen)
Won 3-2 – February 2014 (Toure OG, Richardson; Sturridge, Coutinho, Gerrard pen)
Won 3-1 – May 2013 (Berbatov; Sturridge x3)
Lost 1-0 – December 2011 (Dempsey)
Won 5-2 – May 2011 (Dembele, Sidwell; Maxi x3, Kuyt, Suarez)
Capacity: 19,359 (2,000 permitted)
Did You Know?
Liverpool have won all of their last six clashes with Fulham – three at home and three away.
The last meeting came at Craven Cottage in March 2019, when a priceless late penalty from Milner earned the Reds a vital 2-1 win in the title race.
Earlier in the 2018/19 season, goals from Salah and Shaqiri sealed a comfortable three points at Anfield.
Prior to that was the unforgettable 3-2 away win in 2013/14, with Steven Gerrard’s last-gasp spot-kick arguably even more dramatic than Milner’s, as Brendan Rodgers’ side started to believe title glory was possible.
A 3-1 away triumph in May 2013 was sandwiched in between back-to-back 4-0 home wins, completing the winning run.
Fulham – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 2-0 vs. Man City
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
Lost 3-2 vs. Everton
Lost 1-0 vs. West Ham
Won 2-0 vs. West Brom
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 1-1 vs. Midtjylland
Won 4-0 vs. Wolves
Won 1-0 vs. Ajax
Drew 1-1 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-0 vs. Atalanta
Speaking at Kirkby on Friday, Klopp stressed the importance of not overly looking ahead to the Spurs clash next week:
“I hope none of our players will think about Tottenham when we are in Fulham, to be honest.
“The situation is like it is at the top of the table everywhere, pretty much everywhere in the table, that there is not a lot of distance between. So we know that, I don’t have to tell the boys constantly.
“Fulham is a really good football-playing side, the performances they showed were not all rewarded with results, let me say it like this.
“But the fight for staying in the league is a tight one as well, so each point helps and they will go for everything.
“If we let them play, they will play; and the more we let them play, the more you have to defend; the more you have to defend, the more you have to run.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Fulham vs. Liverpool will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage beginning at 4.15pm (GMT). Kickoff is at 4.30pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog, keeping you up to date with all the action from 3.45pm onwards.