Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday December 17 2010
Fulham, with a desperate away record, travel to Anfield this Saturday to take on a Liverpool side managed by a familiar face, that of Roy Hodgson. I guess it would be quite ironic if Mark Hughes were to eventually get that vital first away win, in the Premier League, against the manager who steered Fulham to such lofty heights in his last two seasons with us!
For those not braving the arctic conditions sweeping across the country, or are not in possession of a ticket, the game will be covered live by ESPN.
Keeping in gainful employment seems to be the hardest thing to do for Premier League managers at the moment. Already we`ve witnessed Chris Hughton (Newcastle) and Sam Allardyce (Blackburn) walk the proverbial plank.
Yesterday, we covered some comments attributed to Mark Hughes that aired his concerns about the effects losing a job has. Thankfully, our own club has stepped forward to infer that Mark Hughes will not be disposed of and that he will be given time and money to turn our club around.
However, our former manager, Roy Hodgson, continues to operate under extreme pressure with the new owners having already criticized Roy for the results the club has picked up in the immediate period they`ve held the reigns.
Now whether Roy survives to turn around the clubs fortunes and steer the club towards the lofty heights they once occupied remains to be seen, but despite reports to the contrary, from the media, Roy does seem pretty sure that he, like Mark Hughes, will be given time to get things right, having been attributed as commenting to the media,
"I don`t have any fears, worries or concerns, the owners have made it perfectly clear they are in it for the long term and they are going to be patient."
Football club owners and patience! Now there`s two words you don`t often hear in the same sentence!
Two of the most influential members of the Liverpool squad are likely to be missing from the starting eleven on Saturday.
Jamie Carragher will definitely be out as he recovers from shoulder surgery and despite having returned to training, it is highly unlikely that Steven Gerrard`s hamstring will be risked.
Also ruled out is Spearing whilst Agger is considered doubtful.
Likely to return after missing the Europa League match against FC Utrecht is a certain Fernando Torres!
A player who is very familiar to Fulham supporters having worn our shirt for several seasons before becoming the only player to, so far, follow Roy Hodgson to Anfield.
Mark Hughes takes his squad to Anfield with several key members missing. Not making the journey to the north-west are Zamora (leg), Senderos (Achilles), Dembele (ankle), Stoor (groin), Briggs (calf) and Halliche (thigh)
Having struggled to score last time out, Hughes might very well juggle his attacking options with Andrew Johnson likely to start instead of Diomansy Kamara.
Danny will relish a return to an old stomping ground. Hopefully, he will receive a good reception and Danny might even produce the sort of form we know he`s capable of but form that has dipped slightly this season.
Our record against Liverpool isn`t something to shout from the roof-tops about. In sixty fixtures against them we`ve won 10 times compared to the 33 of our hosts with 16 having been drawn.
Our trips to Merseyside, in the Premier League also show a nightmare scenario with Fulham having not beaten either Liverpool or Everton in the Premier League with a dismal record reading 14 defeats and 4 draws.
On the road, in the Premier League, it is a staggering 26 games since we registered an away win.
Mark Hughes has an equally dismal record against Liverpool as a manager. In 11 fixtures against them he has won only 1, with the win coming when he was in charge at Blackburn and his side emerged 1-0 victors on Boxing Day in 2006!
Bleak statistics that need working on lads!
The officials chosen to officiate in this fixture are Andre Marriner (referee), Simon Beck and Martin Yerby (assistants) and Michael Oliver (fourth official).
Hand on heart; can you see us winning this one? We may huff and puff, we may give it a good shot but the statistics definitely point towards Liverpool emerging with the broader smiles come Saturday evening. Can we sneak a draw? Possibly!! After all, do we not have a penchant for draws this season and perhaps we can pick up encouragement from the fact that, under Roy Hodgson, our last two visits to Anfield ended in 0-0 draws!
We return to Craven Cottage for our next Premier League outing with a festive fixture, on Boxing Day, against our East London rivals West Ham United.
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Date:Friday December 17 2010
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