Three ways for Jol to mastermind a Fulham victory at Anfield
- When Fulham slumped to a seven-game winless run at the back end of last season, many put it down to a lacklustre approach after all but confirming their top-flight status for the campaign that followed, and that was supported when they thumped Swansea on the final day. Martin Jol saw his players’ energy levels drop, [...]The post
When Fulham slumped to a seven-game winless run at the back end of last season, many put it down to a lacklustre approach after all but confirming their top-flight status for the campaign that followed, and that was supported when they thumped Swansea on the final day. Martin Jol saw his players’ energy levels drop, their confidence evaporate and ultimately their displays fall through the floor, but fans of the London club weren’t to fret as they had a summer to rebuild and establish a back-line to structure a finish more comfortable than the last.
However, things haven’t gone to plan for Jol and he finds his side sat just two points above the drop zone after 10 games and in apparent danger of being booted out of the club. With six losses from ten so far and the fans calling for his head, the last place the Dutch boss would want to travel to this weekend would be Liverpool, who themselves have won four out of their five Anfield clashes this season. If results go against the Cottagers this weekend they could find themselves languishing in the bottom three and quite possibly manager-less, so what can Jol do to potentially save his job?
One major reason that Fulham are struggling this season is the dwindling form ofDimitar Berbatov, who has scored just once in his nine appearances so far this season. The former Manchester United man was the standout player at Craven Cottage last season, scoring 15 goals and carving-out 46 opportunities, but his score of -18 this season is the worst in the whole squad this time round.
His pass success has dropped from 78% to 76% and his duel completion has also take a hit – falling from 52% to 39%.
Swapping the Bulgarian for Darren Bent for their trip to Merseyside would not only freshen things up, but it would allow the latter to use his turn of pace to run at Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel. Given Liverpool’s sluggish second-half performances this term – their defensive score plummets from 1015 to 280 when only the second half is taken into account – it could also open an opportunity for Berbatov to come on and change the game with his creativity.
Another problem that is evident at the club is their ineffectiveness from the wide areas. A massive 64.9% of the chances they have created have come through the central areas and four of their goals have been the result of corners, so to play a narrower game at Liverpool and concentrating on shooting from distance would not only stifle the performance of Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho, but it may also increase their chances of penetrating the Reds.
With Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell the anchor in Jol’s 4-4-1-1 formation, utilising the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Adel Taraabt on the flanks, both of whom can tuck inside, rather than out-and-out wingers like Alex Kacaniklic could benefit the capital club.
The truth of the matter is that Fulham will struggle to contain a silky Liverpool side with their lack of organisation at the back – especially as they attempt their embarrassing high line approach like they did against Manchester United – and if they come away with a draw then all connected with the club will take it as a positive, depending on the circumstances. The likelihood is that Saturday could very well be Fulham’s last game with the former Spurs boss at the helm.