Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday April 3 2009
After a two week sojourn, courtesy of international football, since we beat Manchester United on that wonderful Saturday afternoon, our Premier League season resumes with another top notch fixture. This time the opponents at Craven Cottage are Sir Alex Ferguson`s title chasing rivals, Liverpool. Can we maintain our excellent home form against yet another of the big-four?
And here we were thinking Liverpool were full of confidence! It seems Stevie Gerrard is a little nervous when he moans,
"Maybe because they don`t have as many internationals as us, they might be fresher. We know they will be up for it - they are chasing a European place, so there is something riding on this game for them.
I guess we`ll have to wait and see!
With the squad being as small as it is, there`s every possibility that Roy Hodgson will select a very familiar starting eleven. Simon Davies overcame an injury that was to possibly keep him out of the Welsh fixture with Germany and we believe everybody else, on international duty, has returned without any niggling worries.
Therefore, expect the starting eleven to resemble,
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson and Zamora
After once again upsetting the apple-cart as far as Manchester United go, can the former Liverpool player get one over on his old team mates and strike another blow in our charge for Europe? We`d certainly like to think so.
With a huge Champions League clash with Chelsea beckoning it`ll be interesting to see the starting eleven Rafa Benitez puts out. Unlike in other seasons matters have not been affected by an ongoing Premier League challenge.
One who`ll definitely be starting is their Argentine midfielder, Mascaranos, who is suspended from the Chelsea fixture. Benayoun and Hyypia are both out with injuries.
As for the possible selection of a starting eleven, you try when they`ve got in excess of 60 players in their squad.
The pride of Anfield seems to be dragging his team towards the Premier League title. His scoring prowess, playing from a role behind the strikers, has troubled many-a-team and we`ll need to be aware of his counter-attacking ability and long range shooting.
Strangely enough, in Premier League fixtures between the two sides at Craven Cottage there have been no draws, Liverpool have won 4 and Fulham have won 3
In all league fixtures between the two on Fulham home soil, the record is just as close with Fulham having won 7, Liverpool having won 8 with 6 draws.
Earlier this season Fulham carved out a fine 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Last season Liverpool won 2-0 in the corresponding fixture.
Steve Orpington, from Kent, will take charge.
I`m of the opinion that Liverpool will present a far greater challenge than Manchester United did. United arrived at Craven Cottage in good form but were nicking games by the odd goal on the back of keeping a clean sheet. Liverpool, on the other hand, are scoring freely, as Real Madrid and Aston Villa will testify. Roy Hodgson will need to ensure that we don`t commit too many men forward leaving ourselves open to the lightening counter-attacks that Liverpool can launch. We`ll also need to be aware of the long ball, out of defence, from Reina that has seen both United and Villa come unstuck in recent fixtures. If we can do all of that then there`s no reason, given a bit of luck; that we`ll not be smiling on Saturday night having at least taken a share of the spoils and kept our remarkable record against the top-four sides intact.
A trip to Eastlands to play Manchester City beckons next.
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Date:Friday April 3 2009
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