Fulham vs Liverpool
|Sunday, March 17, 2019 |
Premier League | Craven Cottage
2:15PM GMT/10:15AM EST
With Manchester City playing this weekend in the FA Cup, Liverpool have a chance to get a bit of psychological advantage over their title race rivals by going two points clear of them. They will, of course, have played one more game, but it would be nice to force City to give chase once again. Playing against relegation fodder Fulham should be a relatively easy way to rack up another three points, even at Craven Cottage, but it’s hard to predict anything when every game is so important.
Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson, who hurt his ankle early on in Liverpool’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich. They’ll also likely be without Naby Keïta as well. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to be healing well, but won’t be in contention to play until April. Worryingly, there have also been some reports the most in-form Reds player, Sadio Mané, did not participate in training on Friday, so it’s possible that Jürgen Klopp will be without his goal-scoring machine on Sunday.
This feels like another game for Adam Lallana to get a start, and after his impressive performance against Burnley, it would be hard to deny him. In fact, it’s likely we’ll see Klopp choose the exact same midfield set-up in London.
Fulham have only managed to earn a startling 17 points this season, putting them firmly into 19th place and looking down the barrel of another drop to the Championship next season. Caretaker manager Scott Parker was brought on at the beginning of this month to staunch the bleeding, and beating Liverpool appears to be their last chance for survival. Expect a vicious battle by a desperate team in front of a baying crowd at Craven Cottage. Everyone spare a few good thoughts for the continued, non-damaged statuses of all the ankles and knees of Liverpool players.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
As mentioned earlier, expect Klopp to roll out the same midfield three that we saw dominate against Burnley. With Henderson injured and Lallana looking a bit more like the early Klopp-era version of himself, it won’t be a surprise to see the two besties once again switching places.
Gonna rub by good luck charm and hope that Mané is, in fact, still fit and ready to take on Fulham, but wouldn’t be half-surprised to see Xherdan Shaqiri there instead.
Alfie Mawson and Marcus Bettinelli remain out of contention for Fulham. On the other hand, Parker could have Andre Schurrle back after he was sidelined due to illness.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “It is just a very important game for us. We don’t think about the situation in the table or whatever, we are only focused on our situation. But we know how difficult it is - we only have to take our game against Fulham at home: we need a genius moment from Ali, Trent and Mo to win that game. “
Scott Parker: “We have some very good footballers and we need to start getting the best out of them. The attitudes and standards are rising on a daily basis. They have a chance at the weekend to prove how good they are.”
Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Lee Betts, Richard West Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Kickoff is set for 2:15PM GMT/10:15AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.