Premier League 2018-19: Liverpool v Fulham, Preview and Prediction
Liverpool were dealt a big blow to their European campaign in midweek after a shock defeat against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League. On the domestic front, though, things are going well, despite failing to beat Arsenal, the Reds are still in a good spot to challenge for the Premier League title this season. Fulham have been struggling to adapt to life back in the top flight, and Anfield is one of the most intimidating stadiums to travel to in the world, Liverpool's unbeaten home league run stretching back to April 2017. But could The Cottagers' positive football give the away side a chance?
Keep reading to find out!
Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Liverpool (Champions League)
With Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli playing each other in the other Group C match, Liverpool will have felt that this match would've been a great opportunity to extend their lead, but things didn't go to plan. Milan Pavkov had never scored a European goal before this game, but the striker rectified that with a brace against the five-time European champions, a night he'll never forget. A header from a corner and a stunning long shot before the half-an-hour mark sent Belgrade into raptures. The Reds had chances but lacked the cutting edge to convert on a night to forget for the Merseysiders.
Group C is looking like one of the closest in this year's Champions League, definitely one to watch.
Huddersfield Town 1-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Fulham sunk to the bottom of the Premier League table after what could prove to be a crucial defeat away against Huddersfield Town on Monday night. The Terriers hadn't won a game in any competition this season so far, and this was very much a must-win for the West Yorkshire club.
Huddersfield had the better of the early stages, as Phillip Billing, Steve Munier and Alex Pritchard all came close to the opening goal. However, it would be a Fulham player which scored first, although he won't have been happy about it. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, under pressure from a corner, nodded into his own net on the half-hour mark. The Cottagers would come close to an equaliser in the late stages but lacked the shooting accuracy to do so.
Club captain Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are both being touted to a return to the squad after their respective injuries, but neither will likely be risked for the off on Sunday. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is now the only player who is on the Anfield injury table. Elsewhere, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino should both return to the starting XI after Daniel Sturridge and Joel Matip both failed to impress in midweek.
Both Kevin McDonald and Joe Bryan are struggling with their hamstrings and will likely miss out tomorrow. Fosu-Mensah's embarrassing own-goal could see the youngster dropped in favour of Cyrus Christie, the player who replaced the left-back on Monday. Stefan Johansen's introduction sparked a Fulham revival on Monday, and this could earn the Norweigan a start. Aside from these two changes, this is the same side that lost again Huddersfield last week.
Mohamed Salah had a slow start to the season (by his standards) but the Egyptian is back on form now, bar drawing a blank on Tuesday. A goal on Sunday will set him with an average of a goal a game so far in the Premier League, a brace will obviously boost him to over that ratio, which is the baseline strikers normally aim for. With Fulham shipping goals (29 in 11 matches so far), don't rule out the forward scoring a hat-trick, when he's in the mood, he's unstoppable.
Liverpool to go top?
Nothing is certain in football, but Liverpool winning at Anfield is something you can almost expect unless it's against a side from outside the top 6 teams.
The Reds are chasing after Manchester City, who are two points ahead of them before kick-off. Liverpool kick-off at mid-day while City commence play at 4:30 pm, and it's against their great rivals Manchester United. It's very rare for a Merseysider to be cheering on the Red Devils, but that will be the case on Sunday, especially if the gap between them has closed to goal difference. Only a heavy loss for the Citizens and Chelsea failing to beat Everton would send Liverpool to the top after 12 games played, but it could conceivably happen.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-0 Fulham
It's famous last words, but I can't see Liverpool failing to win this one. With the Reds' attacking talent, and after them slipping up in midweek, they won't be looking for a repeat on Sunday. Aleksandar Mitrovic is the main attacking threat for Fulham, but the Serb has a very large uphill task with having to beat both Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in the Liverpool backline. Even if Fulham get an early goal, I can't see them holding onto their lead, and this could potentially be the final nail in the managerial coffin for Slavisa Jokanovic.