7 min: Liverpool have settled down after the energetic start from Fulham, with Wijnaldum and Henderson both retaining the ball well and Liverpool acquiring more of the possession.
5 min The first big chance of the game also goes to Fulham after an excellent break on the right flank. A lovely through ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek to put Ivan Cavaleiro one on one with Alisson. His strike was just too close to the Liverpool goalkeeper, who confidently saved.
3 min: The first shot goes Mario Lemina, striking wide from distance after the ball was cleared to him from a free kick. Within seconds, Fulham have the ball back and are passing progressively up the pitch. This is very good.
2 min: An energetic start from Fulham, immediately winning the ball and pressuring Liverpool deep into their half. Anguissa is already pulling the strings for the home side, as expected.
The players are having a minute of applause in the memory of the late Papa Bouba Diop, who played 76 games for Fulham between 2004 and 2007.
Jurgen Klopp just spoke on Sky Sports.
On the injured Diogo Jota:
“Yeah, it’s worse than we first thought and better than we then [later] thought. No surgery needed, but he will be out for a while. We don’t know exactly but one and a half, two months.”
On Fulham being a quality side (and Scott Parker’s looks):
“I’m not the only one who saw that. They’re really good. Good looking football team like the managr […] everything is nice, the shirts, everything aside from their results so far. But the way that they play, really, it’s impressive.”
Over in South London, Tottenham draw 1-1 at Crystal Palace after a brilliant goalkeeping performance in the dying minutes from Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita.
Liverpool will go top with a win over Fulham today.
Liverpool and Fulham last faced each other 21 months ago when Liverpool beat Fulham 1-2 at Craven Cottage. It feels like a decade has passed.
Here are Scott Parker’s pre-match comments on Fulham’s match-up with Liverpool
“We’re always confident. We are where we are in the table. But we’re confident going into every game. There’s no denying we’re playing one of the best teams in Europe over the last 18 months. But like last week, we’ll go into the game trying to cause them problems.”
“It will have a massive impact to be fair, it has been such a long time since stadiums have been empty. For large parts of our careers players and managers play with fans. That is what our game is about really, the passion our fans bring.
“We had a long and hard season last year and a crucial point of that when we was getting promoted and went to Wembley our fans weren’t there to enjoy it. We are looking forward to it and hopefully they are as well.”
After only returning to training on Friday, Alisson is straight back into the first team while Oxlade-Chamberlain predictably starts on the bench. Otherwise, an unsurprising lineup from Jürgen Klopp with Trent Alexander-Arnold making his first league start since Liverpool faced Manchester City on November 8th.
Only one change for Fulham from last week’s loss to Manchester City with Mario Lemina replacing Harrison Reed in centre midfield.
Fulham (3-4-1-2): Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Cordova-Reid, Anguissa, Lemina, Robinson, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Cavaleiro
Subs: Kebano, Cairney, Rodak, Ream, Reed, Bryan, Kamara
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Phillips, Kelleher, Cain, Williams
Fulham had no fans to celebrate with as they conquered Wembley, winning promotion back to the Premier League a few months ago, and the support would have certainly helped as they first navigated an extremely difficult first season back in the top flight. Finally, 2000 supporters will return to Craven Cottage today to see their team against the defending champions Liverpool.
There is ample reason to be hopeful after Fulham’s excellent win against Leicester City at the end of November lifted them out of the bottom three, but what a tough pair of games to follow as they attempt to build some momentum and improve on their current precarious spot at 17th in the table. Manchester City were far too good last week with a 2-0 win that could have been far more emphatic and on the evidence of Liverpool’s 4-0 win against Wolves last Sunday, this will be incredibly tough once more.
Despite their injury list and Jürgen Klopp’s numerous disgruntled comments on scheduling and VAR over the past month, on the pitch Liverpool’s form is building and clearly intend to continue putting maximum pressure on Tottenham at the top of the league. They will attempt to do so today with the very welcome boost of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alisson returning to the squad after injuries.