Fulham travel to Liverpool to take on a Liverpool side in top form this Saturday. Our hosts smacked eight gaols past a hapless Besikatas side on Tuesday evening and will be hoping to rack up a few more against us. However, we`re sure we`re made of sterner stuff than the Turkish side and that we`ll have more moral fibre than to simply lay down in front of the Kop.
Ahead of our clash at Anfield, Clint Dempsey has tried to befuddle us with a quote or two relating to Lawrie Sanchez`s liking for stats, remarking,
"There are stats that are put on the walls of the training ground: so many percentage of goals conceded when you concede the ball in your own half, when you concede on set plays, and the percentage you can score with the first touch. You go to bed dreaming of stats."
Well we`ve got a stat of our won the American should contemplate - no away win in the Premier League since Newcastle in September last year - now that enough to give us sleepless night!
Liverpool Team News:
Rafa Benitez is sure to rotate his squad, he knows no other way. He may even extract the urine and think of us as three easy home points. If he does perhaps he`ll rest Gerrard, Carragher and Torres, that way we may be in with a chance of shocking the Kop.
However, with the gaps between the top seven being so close, and with no Champions League game for three weeks we get the feeling we could be facing Liverpool`s finest. Won`t that just make the victory even sweeter?
Liverpool (from): Reina, Finnan, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Hobbs, Aurelio, Riise, Babel, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Sissoko, Kewell, Voronin, Kuyt, Crouch, Torres, Martin, Lucas.
Player to watch: Steven Gerrard
Buck the trend and see just how many of those so-called magnificent passes don`t reach the target. Count just how many of his shots are blocked or go wide. Amaze yourself at how many fouls he gives away but most of all, get down the bookmakers and have a couple of quid on him being named man-of-the-match, he always is isn`t he?
Fulham Team News:
Fulham travel to Anfield without the injured Jimmy Bullard, Brain McBride, Moritz Volz, Kasey Keller, Ian Pearce and the suspended pair of Paul Koncheskey and Elliot Omozusi.
Lawrie Sanchez`s biggest problem however will be deciding on who to pick up front. Shefki Kuqi did his case a world of good last weekend against Reading and Sanchez has hinted, during the week, that David Healy plays better alongside a target man, could Kuqi and Healy be the pairing for Saturday.
At the back, Carlos Bocanegra returns after suspension but Nathan Ashton will miss put after picking up an injury, Chris Baird should return.
Fulham (from): Niemi, Warner, Stefanovic, Hughes, Bocanegra, Baird, Leijer, Davis, Smertin, Murphy, Seol, Davies, Healy, Dempsey, Kamara, Kuqi.
Player to watch: Simon Davies
The Welshman has been in fine form in the last few weeks and has scored tow spectacular goals. As an ex-Evertonian he`d just love to smash one in past Reina.
Match Facts & Stats
Our dramatic failures away from home mean that even the playing staff are starting to think about that elusive win. Clint Dempsey has remarked,
"I don`t know how many games it`s been but we are going to get that monkey off our back. It`s a gorilla. It`s King Kong. Hopefully we can finish on that one."
However, the stats show that Anfield ha snot been a happy hunting ground for Fulham. Twenty-one years ago we lost 10-0 in a League Cup tie and last year we were on the end of a 4-0 drubbing with all of the goals coming in the second half.
Indeed, at Anfield the stats are very poor with Liverpool registering 15 wins compared to our none with five games drawn. In the Premier League it`s not quite so galling with Liverpool winning 4 times with two draws and no wins for us.
Steve Tanner of Somerset will officiate.
With us not winning an away Premier League game for over a year, going to Anfield should fill us with dread. Strangely, I have this smile on my face today, a smile of hope, an air of anticipation that suggests, despite the 8-0 they handed out to Liverpool, Fulham can get something off of them. I`m not crazy enough to go for the win but I`ll take a 1-1 with Davies scoring for us.
The international break means we`ve got to wait fifteen days for our next fixture when we entertain high flying Blackburn Rovers in a televised game.