When Liverpool step foot onto the pitch at Craven Cottage on Sunday, it will be with the knowledge that a win will put them back on the front foot in the title race. With Manchester City playing this weekend in the FA Cup, the Reds can overtake their competition, however briefly, to gain the psychological advantage heading into the tail end of the league season.
After successfully beating the German giants Bayern Munich away at the Allianz Arena to gain a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals, turning around to play relegation-stricken Fulham will prove to have its own challenges. In his pre-game press conference, Jürgen Klopp discussed the Reds’ next opponent.
“I know my boys now three-and-a-half years and I would say it is tricky in itself because it’s Fulham,” Klopp admitted. “I know what you probably expect but we know about that and it’s nothing to do with the Champions League game on Wednesday. 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.”
When Fulham visited Anfield back in November, there was a suspect call involving the would-be Fulham opener being flagged offside, right before Alisson played in Salah on the other end to score. It wasn’t the Reds’ best performance, but it got the job done, and contained some impressive individual performances, as the boss alluded to, including an inch-perfect first touch cross from Andy Robertson to assist Xherdan Shaqiri on Liverpool’s second.
“It is difficult,” Klopp continued, “but we have to see it as an opportunity because it is the next game we play and a very important one. Fulham has a difficult season obviously, but since Scott [Parker] is in you can see the change, it is really kind of a breath of fresh air. They lost the two games against Chelsea, which is a difficult one for all teams in the league obviously, and Leicester with a new manager there. But they were pretty impressive. That’s all in our books, that’s all we know of that and now we have to make sure that we are really spot on from the first second and hopefully we can win that game.”