Saturday, December 22, 2012

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Fulham

Liverpool will be aiming to make amends for last Saturday's shock home defeat to Aston Villa when they host Fulham.

Prior to the visit of Villa, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had made brave noises about a top-two finish in the Premier League.

But those words had a hollow ring to them when the Reds headed for the dressing room 3-0 down at half time.

Rodgers has since admitted that Liverpool had a "bad day at the office", and with Liverpool languishing in 12th place he will be keen to bring some Christmas cheer to Anfield.

But there was some brighter news this week when Raheem Sterling committed his long-term future to Liverpool.

Fulham fans had to suffer the indignity of seeing their side become the first to lose to QPR this season at Loftus Road last Saturday.

This weekend they make the considerably longer trip to Merseyside, with their only away win this season coming in their previous visit to the north west, at Wigan in September.

The Cottagers have just one win in their last nine games, and they will be anxious not to move nearer the drop zone over Christmas.

But the travelling Fulham fans can take heart from their victory the last time they visited Anfield on 1 May this year.

Jose Enrique is in contention after returning to training following a hamstring injury.

Nuri Sahin is also available, having recovered from surgery on the broken nose he sustained against Udinese earlier in December.

Brazilian midfielder Lucas has started the last three league games following his lengthy thigh injury, but has said he is still short of full fitness.

Raheem Sterling, who has inked in a new contract at Anfield, could be rested with Suso likely to step in.

Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell is suspended for the trip to Anfield after reaching five bookings for the season so far.

Full back Sascha Riether is available after recovering from a knee problem picked up in the derby defeat to QPR last weekend.

Mahamadou Diarra and Bryan Ruiz are still missing with knee and hamstring issues respectively.

Goalkeeper David Stockdale is likely to be on the bench after being recalled from his loan at Hull City due to Neil Etheridge's knee problem.

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