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Tuesday, March 19

Premier League

Preview: Fulham vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between relegation-threatened Fulham and title-chasing Liverpool, including prediction, teams news and lineups.
By , Editor | 3d

Second-from-bottom faces second-from-top on Sunday afternoon when struggling Fulham welcome title-chasing Liverpool to Craven Cottage.

The hosts look increasingly doomed with 13 points now separating them from safety, whereas Liverpool could move top of the table with a victory in West London.


Fulham

An immediate return to the Championship is beginning to look like an inevitability for Fulham as we head into the final stretch of the season.

With the teams above them picking up regular results in the scrap for safety, the Cottagers have not managed a single point since January 29, losing each of their last six Premier League games.

The problems stretch back further than that, though, and it has been a miserable 2019 overall for the club so far with 10 defeats from 11 games across all competitions.

Indeed, Fulham have had more managers than they have had wins this calendar year, with Scott Parker the latest to be charged with the increasingly impossible job of pulling off a great escape.

Realistically Fulham will need to win at least six of their final eight games to stand any chance of staying up, which considering they have only won four of their 30 so far, looks like a fanciful goal - particularly as their next two come against Liverpool and Manchester City.

It is the defence which has been their biggest problem this term, with only two teams in Premier League history having shipped more than their 68 at this stage of a season.

Even their goalscoring abilities have dried up throughout the season, and only the Derby County class of 2007-08 - widely regarded as the worst Premier League team of all time - have had a worse goal difference after 30 games of a Premier League campaign.

If there are any positives to take from the season then their home form may be near the top of the list; 15 of their 17 points have been won at Craven Cottage, although they would still sit in the relegation zone if only home form counted.

Four of Fulham's seven home defeats this term have come against members of the top six - including three already this calendar year - but Fulham may take some encouragement from only narrowly losing out to Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea ahead of the upcoming double-header against Liverpool and City.

To get anything out of either game would be a major shock, though, and back-to-back defeats could leave them just one game away from officially being relegated.

Recent form: LLLLLL


Liverpool

On paper, Liverpool could not have picked many kinder away fixtures for the chance to move top of the table.

Manchester City will remain in control of the title race regardless of what happens while they are in FA Cup action this weekend, but Liverpool could land a psychological blow to the champions by leading the way going into the first international break of the year.

A one-point deficit and inferior goal difference means that only victory will be enough for Liverpool to achieve that, but Jurgen Klopp's side should be full of confidence following their European exploits in midweek.

The Reds travelled to fellow five-time Champions League winners Bayern Munich and pulled off a 3-1 victory to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the competition - after which not a single person associated with the club would have agreed with the sentiment that a European exit would benefit their Premier League title hopes.

The English crown is still the one they crave above all others, though, and it is their form away from home on the domestic front that has left them playing catch-up having at one stage enjoyed a seven-point lead at the top.

Liverpool have drawn their last three Premier League away games, failing to score more than once in any of them and drawing blanks in each of the last two, away to Manchester United and Everton.

Away stalemates in derby matches like that would not usually be classed as poor results, but they were costly dropped points and Liverpool will be thankful that their final four away games this season all come against bottom-half teams.

The Reds still have all three of the promoted teams left to play in their final nine games of the campaign, and they are unbeaten in their last 11 top-flight games - including eight straight wins - against clubs that have come up from the second tier, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four in the process.

There are still tough tests to come - namely Tottenham and Chelsea in their next two home games - but it is on the road that 13 of their 17 dropped points have come so far and they cannot afford for that figure to grow against such an out-of-form opponent this weekend.

Recent Premier League form: DWDWDW
Recent form (all competitions): DDWDWW


Team News

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson was forced off after just 13 minutes against Bayern having twisted his ankle and is subsequently a major doubt for this match.

Fabinho is likely to come into the side in his place, while Adam Lallana may also be hopeful of a recall after being handed a rare start last weekend.

Dejan Lovren is fit again and has been an unused sub in the past two games, but Klopp may be wary of throwing him straight in from the start and could stick with Joel Matip despite the centre-back's own goal in midweek.

Naby Keita is in a race against time to be fit after missing the Bayern match with a minor muscle injury, while Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are nearing returns but remain out for this one.

Mohamed Salah has gone six games without a goal for Liverpool now, but he has scored six and created six more in eight Premier League meetings with promoted teams.

Fulham are hopeful of having Andre Schurrle back available after a virus, with the former Chelsea attacker deemed 50-50 as to whether he will be ready in time.

Alfie Mawson and Marcus Bettinelli remain sidelined, while Ryan Babel could face his former club and Jean Michael Seri will be pushing for a recall to the starting XI.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Rico; Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan; Seri, Chambers, Cairney; Babel, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane


Head To Head



Liverpool have won each of their last five meetings with Fulham, scoring 16 goals and conceding just three in the process. The reverse fixture this season ended in a 2-0 win to Liverpool at Anfield, with Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri getting the goals.

The Cottagers' last point against the Reds came in May 2012, while it is more than seven years since they beat Liverpool at Craven Cottage.

None of the 13 Premier League meetings between the two sides at Craven Cottage has ended in a draw either, with Fulham winning five and Liverpool winning eight.


We say: Fulham 0-3 Liverpool



Fulham are in miserable form at the moment, and the visit of Liverpool is the last thing they need. There is the risk of Liverpool being tired after midweek, but this looks like the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways on the road in the Premier League.






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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
UC
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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