FULHAM VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW
Liverpool kickstart their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a trip to newly promoted Fulham. The Reds are aiming to start as they mean to go on but will face a credible threat from Marco Silva’s men. Here’s a preview of the game.
After 92 points brought only a second place finish last time out, Liverpool enter this campaign intent on correcting the near miss of last season. It was the second time under Jürgen Klopp that they’ve finished runners-up by a single point.
It was a 97 point haul in 2018/19, and the Reds responded by going on a crazy winning streak at the beginning of the following season. 26 wins and a draw in their opening 27 league matches set a pace nobody could live with.
This saw them romp to a first title in three decades, with the trophy secured with a whopping seven games to spare (the earliest a title has ever been won). That 2019/20 campaign is a blueprint for Jürgen Klopp’s men.
Start fast, start hard, and capitalise on an opponent that may be undercooked for the season. Guardiola’s men can be slow starters, and if the Community Shield is anything to go by, they will need a few weeks to truly get going again.
With the World Cup crammed into the middle of the season, a strong start could prove key to any title hopes. This makes Fulham a crucial fixture. The Cottagers won the Championship in style last season, with the manager employing an attacking style.
Silva’s men have taken in four friendlies this summer; beating Nice (2-1) and Estoril (3-1), whilst losing heavily to Benfica (5-1) before drawing against Villarreal (1-1). The Cottagers have made some interesting signings this summer.
Midfielders Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira have been brought in. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Swiss wing back Kevin Mbabu, centre back Shane Duffy and winger Manor Salomon (the latter two on loan) have all arrived to the tune of £30m.
Whether these additions can bolster their squad and help them steer clear of relegation will only be known at the end of the season. Fulham have been a bit of a yo-yo club, bouncing between the Premier League and the Championship.
They’ll be hoping to establish themselves as a top flight club this time round. Craven Cottage will be bouncing tomorrow as they welcome their side back to the big time. Fulham won the last meeting between the two sides, with that defeat remaining Liverpool’s last league loss at Anfield.
The Reds come into this clash off the back of an impressive victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield. It’s been an intense pre-season, with five friendlies taking place before the traditional curtain raiser.
The opening day record under Klopp is an impressive one. Barring a 3-3 draw at Watford in 2017, Liverpool have won each of their opening day fixtures under their German. It is usually a goal-fest as well.
It was a seven goal thriller at the Emirates in 2016, with Liverpool winning 4-3 in a match remembered for Sadio Mané’s stunning debut goal. The 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road in 2017 was frustrating at the time but it saw Mohamed Salah announce himself with a debut goal.
A 4-0 drubbing of West Ham in 2018 was emphatic, as was the 4-1 thrashing of newly promoted Norwich City in 2019. There was another seven goal thriller in 2020, with another promoted side (Leeds) going down 4-3.
Last season’s 3-0 victory at Carrow Road was a more straightforward affair. This will be Jürgen Klopp’s seventh opening day fixture since taking charge of the club. He will hope the goals keep flowing for his side.
There are a number of injury worries for Liverpool. Caomhin Kelleher is still a few weeks away from a return to fitness according to the manager, but Alisson is ‘fine’ having recovered from an abdominal issue.
Calvin Ramsay is still unavailable having missed all of pre-season with injury. Kostas Tsimikas is back on the grass after a sore knee and could join team training next week. Ibou Konaté has been ruled out for a while after sustaining a knee injury against Strasbourg.
Nat Phillips is now expected to stay at the club this window, hinting at a lengthy absence for Ibou who has suffered serious knee injuries in the past. He joins Oxlade-Chamberlain on the long term list, with the Englishman out till October with a hamstring injury.
Curtis Jones has also been ruled out for a month with a calf injury whilst Naby Keita is back in training today after a bout of illness. Diogo Jota is however still “a few more weeks” away.
It is quite the extensive list, especially with the season yet to get underway. The manager insists he won’t be forced into the transfer market, with most of these players returning in a matter of weeks.
For Fulham, Nathaniel Chalobah is doubtful after picking up a knock last week. Joe Bryan is unavailable after sustaining a knock of his own earlier this week, whilst ex-Red Harry Wilson has been ruled out till September with a knee injury.
The Egyptian has scored in five consecutive opening day fixtures and will be aiming to extend that record. He’s also one goal away from equalling Shearer, Lampard and Rooney’s joint record for the most goals scored (8) on opening weekend.
He looked sharp in pre-season and was the best player on the pitch in the Community Shield, tucking away a late penalty to restore his side’s lead. That new deal seems to have taken a weight off his shoulders. Premier League defences are in trouble.
The Serb scored an astonishing 43 goals in 44 Championship matches last season. He’s been prolific in pre-season as well, netting four goals in three friendlies. He will be hoping to perform much better in the Premier League this time round after only managing 3 goals last time out.
The Uruguayan hitman enjoyed a dream debut against Manchester City in the Community Shield after coming off the bench to win a penalty and score a late clincher. He will be eager to get off the mark in the league as well, be it from the start or off the bench once again.
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Same here 🍿
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