After the disappointing result in Belgrade on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp and his Reds try to get back on track and into top form against the Cottagers from London. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) previews the matchup.
Who: Liverpool vs. Fulham
When: Sunday, 11 November
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Time: 12:00 GMT, 7:00 EST
TV: BT Sport 1, NBCSN
Tuesday night was a night to forget for the Reds. Every aspect of the game went wrong. The forwards missed absolute sitters along with those goals that went in all of last season. The midfield had trouble winning and retaining possession along with making the simple passes. The defence had trouble communicating with one another and when to make the push up as a single unit to maintain a high line. The ‘keeper made the wrong decision when outstretched for the curling effort that went into the top-left corner. The coaching staff put out a passive XI, underestimating the Red Star team. Belgrade is done. It’s history. Yes, it hurts, but it’s time to move past and focus on an important game against Fulham in the league.
Sunday’s noon kickoff against Fulham needs to be a statement from the Reds. Jurgen Klopp has to field his strongest possible XI that is available. There needs to be a message that they can move past that disappointing defeat and get into form to face PSG in two weeks time.
Alisson is going to be one of the automatic slots filled in the XI, but he absolutely has to try to the best of his ability to keep Fulham off of the scoresheet. A clean sheet against Fulham’s stagnant attack will certainly boost the morale of the backline after a few games of giving up several soft goals and it will hopefully propel them into some run of form.
The backline on Sunday will need to regroup and put on a clinic for Fulham. Hopefully, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will be back together so that it will further enhance the partnership of the two and to keep Fulham off of the scoresheet. Andy Robertson and hopefully Trent Alexander Arnold will be looking to get back on track defensively while finding the final pass that has been missing in the final third.
The trio that has been in the centre of the park the last few games have been absolutely dreadful. Any performance that is put on display Saturday will be better than the last two games. The drive to win the ball back and to hold onto the ball has been lacking and will have to be a lot better Sunday in order to dominate the run of play. With the boost of Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, the key pieces to get the midfield back on track may be coming in to place.
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The front three have to be lethal in front of goal. Too many chances have been wasted and in order to reach the ultimate goal this season, the majority of chances have to be taken. A matchup against the Cottagers will be the best time for Bobby Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah to get their game into top form.
Liverpool Team News
Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren are both available for selection.
Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are both available after missing several games with their injuries.
Although Fulham has had some standout performers this season, they find themselves at the bottom of the table after not being able to get results in the must-win games. Fulham looks to take points off of Liverpool in order to jump-start their season.
Spanish international Sergio Rico, on loan from Sevilla, has not had the start to the season as he would have hoped, but there is time in order to get back on track. Rico has not been awful this season, but it comes down to the lack of team defense and it will most likely continue Sunday at Anfield.
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The backline of Fulham has been dreadful all season long. Soft goals are a common occurrence and it seems like they will continue to occur if a change in the system is not on the cards. The only bright spot on the backline has been 18-year-old wonderboy Ryan Sessegnon. His ability to get up and down the pitch, while being decent on both sides of the ball has made him a top target among much of the Premier League giants.
The midfield has been the weakest area for Slavisa Jokanovic. They have been simply outworked and overpowered in almost every single game this season. Jean Michael Seri was brought in during the summer to try and cure the dreadful midfield, but unfortunately for the Cottagers, it has not worked out as they hoped. If the midfielders are unable to elevate their game against the Reds, expect Liverpool to control the run of play through the midfield and the Fulham players to sit in extremely deep.
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The Fulham offence has been decent thus far and one of the only bright spots for the Fulham fans. Aleksander Mitrovic has been the major source of goals for the Cottagers this season and when he does not get on the scoresheet, the Londoners are in big trouble. The addition of Andre Schurrle from Borussia Dortmund was supposed to dramatically improve the attack, but in all honesty, he has not made the sort of contribution that they would have hoped for. In order to find any sort of success against Liverpool, the Fulham forwards must be lively during set pieces and be willing to run after any loose ball that may slip its way through the back line.
Fulham Team News
Both Joe Bryan and Kevin McDonald are not in contention for Fulham due to hamstring injuries.
The last time that these two sides faced off in the Premier League was back in the 2013/14 season in which Liverpool came out on top 3-2.
I think that Liverpool will come out of their shell with a point to prove and win 4-0.