Saturday, October 31, 2009

Match Preview: Fulham vs Liverpool

By: Gareth Freeman

The result last weekend was undoubtedly a huge one for Rafael Benitez and his Liverpool side. Beating the old enemy and closing the gap between the top sides as vastly important for Liverpool but it will count for very little if they don’t take all three points off Fulham on Saturday. Craven Cottage is often a hard place to go but fingers crossed Steven Gerrard should be back in action and we may finally get too see Italian Alberto Aquilani for the first time in the league.

Fulham should not be dismissed though as they have some decent players themselves. Liverpool may be the heavy favourites with the online betting odds, and rightly so, but the Cottagers have the talent to cause an upset.

In defence Norwegian Brede Hangeland has established himself as a top class centre-half and is also capable of popping up with a goal or two from set plays. His displays for Fulham have led to interest from the likes of Spurs and Arsenal and he is a difficult man to pass. His defensive colleagues such as Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird and John Panstil are perhaps not of the same standard and there are holes in the Fulham back line.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has built a very well organised and efficient side at Craven Cottage. In midfield players such as Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff have plenty of quality and on their day they’re capable of competing with anyone – as they showed by coming back from two down to draw with Manchester City.

The one area they are lacking a bit of bite in my opinion is in attack. Striker Bobby Zamora has a good all round game, he runs the lines and holds the ball up well but his scoring record is not as impressive as perhaps it should be. He seems to have lost a bit of confidence in front of goal and missed an absolute sitter against City, which was a shame as otherwise he had a really good game.

It won’t be a stroll in the park for Liverpool but I wouldn’t bet against them at Fulham. After the great result against Manchester United they should head into this full of confidence, despite their Carling Cup exit. With Gerrard fit again, Torres in form and Aquliani’s league debut imminent the Reds should push on from here and three points at Fulham would go a long way to proving their doubters they can still compete with the best in the league.

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