03 April 2009

Liverpool at Fulham 04.04.09

12:30pm, live in the US on FSC

Last 4 head-to-head:
0-0 (h) 11.22.08
2-0 Liverpool (a) 04.19.08
2-0 Liverpool (h) 11.10.07
0-1 Fulham (a) 05.05.07

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 5-0 Villa (h); 4-1 United (a); 4-0 Real (h)
Fulham: 2-0 United (h); 3-1 Bolton (a); 1-2 Blackburn (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Gerrard 13; Torres 9; Kuyt 8; Alonso, Benayoun, Riera 3; Aurelio, Babel 2; Arbeloa, Carragher, Dossena, Hyypia, Ngog 1
Fulham: Johnson 7; Dempsey 5; Murphy 4; Davies, Gera, Nevland, Zamora 2; Hangeland, Kamara, Konchesky, Seol 1

Referee: Steve Bennett. Oh goody!

Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Lucas Alonso
Kuyt Gerrard Riera

12 players (Gerrard, Torres, Alonso, Riera, Reina, Arbeloa, Kuyt, Mascherano, Benayoun, Agger, Skrtel, and Hyypia) featured for their international clubs over the break. Two of those – Yossi and Sami – assuredly won’t play due to injury. And after returning from Bolivia’s high altitude, where Argentina lost 1-6, I worry whether Mascherano will as well. Hopefully he’s so enraged by the loss he’ll insist on playing, but we rarely see Masch right after he plays for his country. Maybe Aurelio will fill in, with Insua covering at left back (both stayed at Melwood), but Lucas seems more likely.

(EDIT: I probably should have checked the Echo and Daily Post before writing the previous paragraph. For what it's worth, the Daily Post is reporting that no matter Masch's trip, he'll keep his place against Fulham.)

It was one of the worst possible times for a break with the form the team was in. And Liverpool will undoubtedly shuffle the pack somewhat to compensate for international duty, as well as the upcoming three games in one week. But a fair few players kept up momentum: both Riera and Kuyt continued their scoring form following Villa, while Alonso also tallied from the spot on Wednesday. Gerrard played well in both of England’s qualifiers, and Torres made it through Spain’s unscathed (which is all that matters).

The trickiest line-up question comes in defense. Agger or Skrtel? Both played two matches for their countries and Agger’s only recently back, but I think the Dane will start. We’ve seen more stories about Agger’s return to fitness (like this one), and I think Liverpool would benefit from having Agger’s ability on the ball against what’s likely to be a compressed Fulham side.

Fulham’s up to 9th after beating United (thanks, by the way) before the break, and have also upset Arsenal at Craven Cottage. And held Chelsea to a draw. In fact, they’re fourth in the home league table, behind United, Liverpool, and City, with 9 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses.

Not to mention the little factor of a 0-0 draw last November. This was one of those poor home results that still irk, and still linger in the memory. Fulham will be a tough side regardless, but Liverpool certainly have extra incentive to get one over on the opposition.

I always worry after an international week. The team hasn’t played for two weeks. There’s always some sort of hangover. But three points are beyond essential. I can’t think of a more crucial eight-game stretch than the one on the horizon.


Abhiram said...

After a long time we are back to talking my kind of football. Surprisingly i felt its more than a month since we last played although its just a measly 2 weeks. Hope we still keep our form.

nate, Gerrard and Kuyt signed their contract extensions. Think you should be giving a mention or another post for that news. Thats very important for us.

Don't you guys think this is getting a little predictable here? Rafa signed extension just before the an important game. Now Gerrard and Kuyt signing on just before another crucial game and more importantly giving all the kind of boost one needs after missing all the players for 2 weeks due to international games. This momentum can win us this game.

My predictions is on a 3-0 victory.

nate said...

True, it's fantastic news, Abhiram, and I probably should have mentioned it at least as an aside.

But if it's just straight news, and I don't have something quasi-original to add (It's great for the club. See what happens when Benitez's deal is tied up? - But that's about it), I assume people will see it at the official site, BBC, RAWK, etc.

Abhiram said...

nate mate, i just mentioned it as an aside. Thats all. Please don't mind the wording. It was not meant to be an order or anything. :)

Yes, i can get this info from any authentic site like you mentioned. But i prefer reading the posts and the following comments by fellow Reds so that i can get a feel of their take on the info. Got my point? If you write a post on it, you'll surely give your opinion about it too.

Its just like the reviews of matches you do. Many sites to it but i prefer to read it on this blog before every match and i do it diligently for the same reason i mentioned previously :).

nate said...

haha, thanks, now i feel bad.

Anonymous said...

Last night I had another "bad dream" where we lost, but the last time that happened we ended up winning. Some of goals conceded in my dream were ridiculous.

scott said...

I feel good about tomorrow. Our guys have been in fine form for club and country, I can't see anything but a solid victory tomorrow.
Even given Fulham's fine home form, I hope that we continue to smell blood in the water. If we come out attacking like we have done for the past few matches, nothing should keep us down. YNWA.

vinnie said...

jeez, when i thought it's another nil all game, for some reason i just felt that something's gonna happen and watch on. watching the last 10 minutes trembling like how i did the whole game against united. i knew something's coming from benayoun after his brilliant turn and shot