8th November 2013
Liverpool’s title hopes suffered a major blow as the Reds were defeated at the Emirates last weekend, meaning they could really use a morale-boosting victory at the moment. Meanwhile, Fulham slipped further towards the bottom three following the home defeat to Manchester United, and they clearly arrive at Anfield very low on spirits.
Following some dubious signings in the summer transfer window, Liverpool were not exactly seen as serious title contenders, but the Reds recorded a number of narrow triumphs to climb to the top of the standings. The perfect timing of Luis Suarez’s return from a ten-match ban helped Brendan Rodgers’ side return to the right track after several under-par results, and they went into the Arsenal game knowing they would be top of the league if they won at the Emirates. Nevertheless, the Reds failed to cope with their title rivals, losing the match 2-0, with many believing the dismal performance in North London proved Liverpool didn’t have what it takes to mount a serious title challenge this term. It is now up to the Reds to try and prove the doubters wrong and they will be certainly happy to face Fulham in their next league match even if the Cottagers have already recorded two victories on the road this term. With Philippe Coutinho and Glen Johnson both expected to return to the starting line-up, a resounding win appears on the cards, especially given the state of Fulham’s defence at the moment. Steven Gerrard is doubtful with a hip problem.
It is fair to say Martin Jol has failed to get the maximum out of his side at Craven Cottage, given that Fulham had been regarded as genuine mid table side when he arrived at the club and now they look like serious relegation strugglers. The Cottagers have added quite a few new players to the ranks in the summer in an attempt to return to the right track, but it appears the poor man management is going to cost them dearly this term. While away victories over relegation rivals Sunderland and Crystal Palace could go a long way, just one triumph in the remaining eight matches is enough to suggest the gap between Fulham and top table sides keeps getting bigger. The Cottagers are currently on a three-match losing run, having lost the Capital One Cup tie to Leicester in between of league defeats to Southampton and Manchester United, and I really don’t see how they are going to fare any better against hungry Liverpool. While Hugo Rodallega and Matthew Briggs remain sidelined, full-back Sacha Riether starts his three-match ban for a stamp on Adnan Januzaj.
Given the circumstances, home win available at 1/4 looks like a banker, with Liverpool determined to make amends for the derby defeat to Arsenal. Fulham do seem to have enough attacking potential to hurt their more illustrious opponents, but taking into account their performances under Martin Jol, getting something from Anfield is likely to prove mission impossible.
Best Odds: 2/3