11th May 2013
A four-match losing run should give Fulham plenty of motives to give their best in the penultimate game of the season against Liverpool. The Reds may be without several star players, but they arrive at Craven Cottage looking for another triumph on the road that would help them make amends for the goalless draw against Everton.
This season is quickly turning into a disappointment for Fulham even if the team have long ago secured their Premier League status. Rather than doing their best to further improve their league position after ensuring survival and create a good base for the following season, the Cottagers have been utterly disappointing over the last few weeks, picking up just one point from possible 18. It would appear as though the poor form of star striker Dimitar Berbatov has seriously affected team’s performances, with the Cottagers not winning a single game since he last scored in the 3-2 victory over QPR. After the 4-2 home defeat to arguably the weakest team in the top flight, Martin Jol’s side are not exactly best prepared for the visit of high-flying Liverpool, especially seeing as how they have lost last three Premier League matches at Craven Cottage. Combative midfielder Steve Sidwell is once again going to be sorely missed as he serves the last game of his three-match ban, but Mladen Petric and Sascha Riether should return. Ashkan Dejagah, Simon Davies and Mahamadou Diarra are long-term casualties.
One would think that another season of missing out on European qualification and finishing behind local rivals Everton would be seen as a major disappointment at Anfield, but that is not exactly the case. The reality is the Reds have been showing a lot of promise this term, especially in the second part of the campaign and they will definitely have something to build on in the summer. While Liverpool managed to stabilize their home form, Brendan Rodgers’ side have largely impressed on the travels, winning three of last five games and creating a flurry of clear-cut chances against Reading. It was the 6-0 triumph over Newcastle at St James Park that proved the Reds can manage just fine without top scorer Luis Suarez and now we are going to see how the team will look without Steven Gerrard as well. The game at Craven Cottage is a perfect opportunity for the likes of Downing, Borini and Henderson to prove they have what it takes to play at this level as they will surely be playing for their future in the next two games. Daniel Agger is also set to miss out, meaning Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel should form defensive partnership.
The embarrassing defeat to sorry Reading proved just how disappointing Fulham are at the moment, and I seriously doubt they can show a massive improvement against Liverpool. The Reds are not only impressing on the road, but they are also showing a lot of character, which should help them cope without Suarez and Gerrard.
Verdict: Away win Liverpool (2)
Best Odds: 11/10
Bookmaker: William Hill