Writer: Ollie Sheehan
Date:Wednesday March 15 2006
WEdnesday, March 15th 2006
Chris Coleman will be hoping against hope that his side can salvage something from their trip to the North-West tonight.
Chris Coleman: 'We are eight points clear of the bottom three, so I think the general feeling is we are safe,' he told Sky Sports News. 'But we are not as there are still a lot of points to play for.
'We have got 32 points; I think we need eight more points to be absolutely certain of Premiership football next season. We need to get eight points from nine games and that is the way to look at it.'
Alex Miller, the Liverpool first-team coach: 'It has been a very disappointing week going out of the Champions League but progress has been made this season, and the most important thing now is we have to get back to winning ways and beat Fulham.'
'We need to try and finish the season with a flourish and finish as high up as we possibly can in the Premiership.
'Fulham is a must win game for us because it is at home. We must win our home games and if you are going to do anything in any competition you must win at home.
'Fulham were very disappointing when they lost 3-1 on Saturday against Everton but this is a different game, and we have to start it at a high tempo and show them that nothing less than three points for us will be acceptable.
'We lost 2-0 at Fulham earlier this season and as a team we didn't show our true potential. On our day we were very poor so we want to return to winning ways tonight.'
Liverpool have lost their last 2 games to Benfica 2-0 in the Champions League at Anfield, and to Arsenal 2-1 at Highbury in the Premiership.
They will be looking to bounce back and close the gap on second placed Manchester United. A win would take them within two points.
Liverpool have Xabi Alonso suspended for tonight's game after his sending off at Highbury. Mommo Sissoko and John Arne Riise are also out of the game with eye and hip problems respectively.
Reds boss Rafa Benitez will probably opt to replace Riise with Stephen Warnock at left-back and with Sissoko and Alonso out a return to the team for Dietmar Hamman looks likely.
Vital predicted line-up: Reina, Warnock, Hyppia, Carragher, Finnan, Kewell, Gerrard, Hamann, Luis Garcia, Crouch, Fowler
Has featured in more than 40 games already this season for the Reds and as ever, has been their outstanding player, driving force and biggest threat in recent games. Expect him to control and dictate the midfield for long periods of the game.
The Cottagers have now lost their last three league games, and lost 3-1 on their last trip to Merseyside at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Manager Chris Coleman has voiced his disapproval and has vowed changes to the side if things do not improve.
The trip to Anfield tonight will not be helped by the absence of Antti Niemi with an Achilles injury, so Tony Warner will again deputise. Papa Bouba Diop has a foot injury sustained on international duty with Senegal, whilst Simon Elliot is also out for the next two to three weeks.
However, it is not looking all bad for Fulham with Wayne Bridge likely to return from an ankle injury he sustained whilst on England duty against Uruguay and Michael Brown in contention provided he passes a late fitness test.
Vital predicted line-up: Warner, Volz, Knight, Bocanegra, Bridge, Boa Morte, Brown, Legwinski, Malbraque, Helguson, McBride
It will be a real Aerial battle at Anfield against Hyppia and Carragher and this is the sort of game that Heider Helguson relishes. If he gets a chance, do not be surprised to see it hit the back of the net.
Liverpool have taken 36 points at home this season from a possible 45 and only Chelsea have beaten them at Anfield, 4-1 back at the beginning of October.
They have only conceded five goals there all season including the defeat to Chelsea and have not conceded in 13 of the 15 Premiership games played at Anfield.
Fulham's away record is the worst in the Premiership and football league and manager Chris Coleman is desperate to put it right.
They have lost their last nine games played away from the home and have conceded 29 goals in all on their Premiership travels whilst taking just three points and one clean sheet (a 0-0 at West Brom at the beginning of December) from 15 games.
Liverpool have shown some fantastic form at home in the Premiership whilst Fulham's dire away record does not ooze with confidence that they can get something tonight. However, Liverpool's form of late has been uncharacteristic to say the least and the goals have been few and far between whilst Fulham have the ability to score almost anywhere. Might seem far-fetched but this game could end up a draw. Vital Prediction: 1-1
Date:Wednesday March 15 2006
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