Liverpool must be on cloud nine after completely destroying league leaders Arsenal in the weekend and rightly so. After their magnificent performance, many have now labeled the Reds as genuine title contenders rather than just Champions League hopefuls.
However, Brendan Rodgers’ side should be careful not to get carried away by all the plaudits. Although the result against Arsenal was certainly a feather in their cap, if Liverpool are to prove that they can go all the way to win the title then they should also perform against the so-called smaller teams away from home.
Basement side Fulham are Liverpool’s next opponents, and Rodgers will know that it will not be an easy game as evidenced by the Cottagers’ resolute performance against Manchester United in the weekend. Liverpool are clear favorites for the match but will have to guard against complacency in order to bring home all three points from Craven Cottage.
Liverpool Probable Lineup Against Fulham
Simon Mignolet surprisingly had to hardly break a sweat against Arsenal and, given Fulham’s woes, the goalkeeper should not be expecting to be overworked in the weekend. However, the Cottagers do have some dangerous attacking players and the Belgian shot-stopper will certainly have to be on his toes at all times during the game.
Rodgers will again probably have to do without the services of Mamdou Sakho, Daniel Agger and Jose Enrique. But, it should not worry the Northern Irishman too much as the back four of Jon Flanagan, Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Aly Cissokho are looking more solid as a unit, as the weeks progress. Therefore, there is no obvious reason for Rodgers to shuffle his defence around.
Much like the Liverpool defence, Rodgers will also not be looking to alter his winning formula in midfield, barring injuries or fatigue.
Philippe Coutinho was magnificent against Arsenal and will certainly be pulling the strings in the hole behind the striker while Steven Gerrard has also been doing a fine job in the deep-lying midfield role, in the absence of Lucas, and should start alongside the tireless Jordan Henderson.
Raheem Sterling has matured into a fine young player this season and, following his brace against Arsenal, will be full confidence going to clash in midweek. The likes of Joe Allen and Luis Alberto will probably have to be content with a place on the bench once again.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have been a pleasure to watch this season and are certainties to start at the Cottage. The link-up play between the two is probably second to none and up against the leakiest defence in the division in midweek, the duo will certainly be rubbing their hands ahead of the clash.
Mignolet; Cissokho, Skrtel, Toure, Flanagan; Sturridge, Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling; Suarez