Liverpool v Fulham
22 Dec 2012, 1730
Official: Mark Clattenburg
Both the Reds and Cottagers come into this one looking for three points following a defeat last weekend. Liverpool slumped to a shocking 1-3 defeat at Anfield to Aston Villa, while Fulham gave QPR their first victory of the season at Loftus Road.
The two teams have an interesting history over the past few seasons, with Fulham pulling the double over the Reds in the last campaign. Clint Dempsey
, now at Tottenham after Liverpool failed in their pursuit of the American, scored the 1-0 winner at Craven Cottage in December when he capitalized on a rebound given up by Pepe Reina
. Reina himself was suspended for the return fixture at Anfield in May, while Jay Spearing
was given a straight red in the match. Manager Kenny Dalglish
played a weakened side in the return fixture in order to rest his stars ahead of the FA Cup final vs Chelsea four days later. Liverpool would again end up on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline when Martin Skrtel
's own goal gave the Cottagers the victory. In that match, backup keeper Doni
slotted in for the suspended Reina.
The last five meetings between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield have been fairly even, with Liverpool having a record of 2-2-1 against the London club.
This season, both teams sit mid-table through 17 fixtures. Brendan Rodgers
' men currently lie in 12th place on 22 points, while Martin Jol
's team are just two points back of the Reds on 20 points.
Rodgers has hinted that both Joe Allen
and Raheem Sterling
could be rested in the coming weeks. In his pre-match presser, Rodgers indicated that Jose Enrique
is fit for Saturday, while Oussama Assaidi
is doubtful with a knee injury. Nuri Sahin
could return depending on his comfort level after being fitted with a protective mask following surgery from a broken nose.
Fulham have been boosted by the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov
, with the Bulgarian having netted 5 times for the Cottagers since moving from Manchester United in the summer. Mladen Petric
shares the scoring tally with the Bulgarian on 5 goals in league play.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have relied on Luis Suarez
's 10 league goals, however the Uruguayan hasn't netted since a two-goal showing vs Wigan in November. Captain Steven Gerrard
found the back of the net last week vs Aston Villa to put him second behind Suarez with just 2 goals in the league.
Both teams will be looking for a win, with more pressure being put on the Reds to rebound after a poor performance vs Villa. A win for either side could give them a boost heading into the Boxing Day fixtures before the January window opens up.
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