11am, live in the US on Setanta
Last 4 head-to-head:
1-0 Liverpool (a) 04.04.09
0-0 (h) 11.22.08
2-0 Liverpool (a) 04.19.08
2-0 Liverpool (h) 11.10.07
Last three matches:
Liverpool: 1-2 Arsenal (a); 2-0 United (h); 1-2 Lyon (h)
Fulham: 2-2 City (a); 1-1 Roma (h); 2-0 Hull (h)
Liverpool: Torres 9; Benayoun, Gerrard, Kuyt 3; Babel, Johnson, Ngog 2
Fulham: Duff, Murphy, Zamora 2; Dempsey, Gera, Kamara, Konchesky 1
Referee: Lee Mason
Guess at a squad:
Degen Carragher Agger Insua
Kuyt Benayoun Aurelio
Still can’t get around those injury concerns. Gerrard’s still out, Johnson’s evidently relapsed, Aquilani’s picked up a virus, and Kelly and Riera aren’t fit yet. Oh, and Torres is touch and go. At least it doesn’t appear that Lucas has swine flu, which was a nasty rumor floating around the forums yesterday, and Mascherano’s back from suspension.
So unless other concerns arise, or someone provides a late fitness boost, I can’t see many other options for the line-up. It’d be the team that faced United with Degen coming in for Johnson.
Insua and Aurelio formed a solid left flank against United. I don’t see any reason to alter that for Babel’s inclusion. Had the Dutchman taken his 80th minute opportunity against Arsenal, I might be singing a different tune, but once again, Babel disappointed. Benayoun’s would be the creative linchpin in the hole, with Kuyt again joining the attack from the right.
I’m nervous about Degen’s first Premier League start, and would rather Martin Kelly, but at least we’ve seen flashes in his few appearances this season. The attacking side’s been the better half of his game, and it’ll be the side more needed against Fulham, but we’ve seen some decent last-ditch defending. Still, adding Degen to a defense prone to lapses worries, but the defense’s been in much better form since Agger’s return.
After a slow start to the season, Fulham’s been fairly impressive of late, unbeaten since hosting Arsenal at the end of September. They should have notched a win over Roma, only to concede an injury-time equalizer when a man down, before coming back from two down at Manchester City. The team’s still struggling for goals though, with 10 scored through nine league matches, less than half of what Liverpool's accrued. Danny Murphy won’t start against his old club due to injury, while Simon Davies and Paul Konchesky are also probably out.
Five days ago, Anfield was in ecstasy as Liverpool apparently “saved the season.” Beating the Mancs is wonderful, and absolutely made my week, but it’ll mean next to nothing if Liverpool can’t find another three points. Fulham frequently gives Liverpool a game; last season's match at Anfield was one of those frustrating 0-0s, while it took a 92nd minute goal from Yossi Benayoun to beat them on their patch.
This won’t be easy, especially with the injuries. But win anyway. Just win.