EPL Betting Preview: Fulham vs. Liverpool – Sunday, March 17, 2019
Matchup at a Glance
When: Sunday, March 17, 2019, at 10:15 AM
Where: Craven Cottage, London, England.
Odds: Fulham +1200, Draw +440, Liverpool -400 @ BetOnline
Whereas Man City are engaged in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend, Liverpool can spend the international break on top of the Premier League table if they beat struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, 17 March 2019.
Fulham's future doesn't seem to be bright as the Cottagers have lost 10 of their 11 games since the turn of the year. Coming after six consecutive defeats and having won just once in their last 10 Premier League matches, Fulham occupies 19th position and sit 13 points below safety with eight games left, which pretty much makes their mission impossible.
Liverpool continue their Premier League quest after a massive 3-1 victory away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, which secured them a spot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals where Jurgen Klopp's men will face Porto. Now, inspired by the strong midweek performance, the Merseysiders can take a deep breath and storm the Premier League top.
The 2-0 win at Anfield earlier this season was Liverpool’s fifth consecutive victory over Fulham. Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri were the two scorers when both teams met on November 11.
Fulham's last win remains in the 2011-12 Premier League season, when they did the double against the Merseysiders – winning 1-0 both at home and away.
None of Fulham’s 13 Premier League home matches with the Reds have finished as a draw, with the Cottagers winning five and losing eight.
Fulham – Team News
Back-to-back matches against the two title contenders, after playing Chelsea and Leicester City, is a tough hand that caretaker Scott Parker has been dealt with since replacing Claudio Ranieri. He became the third Fulham manager of the season and the former hard-working midfielder could have wished for a better start to his managerial career.
Fulham are winless since end of January, when they came back from 2-0 down to beat Brighton 4-2 at home, and coming after six consecutive defeats, conceding at least two goals in each of them. Indeed, the Cottagers have the worst defensive record in the Premier League – letting in 68 goals in 30 games – and we just don't see how this would change in the closing weeks of the season. Even an Italian tactician such as Claudio Ranieri failed in this task.
However, Fulham have conceded “only” 28 goals at Craven Cottage, which is the second worst defensive record when it comes to home matches, so Scott Parker will likely work to build on that aspect of the game, while Fulham's attack surely has the potential to score more.
Fulham, meanwhile, have no fresh injury concerns as Marcus Bettinelli and Alfie Mawson remain sidelined due to injuries, while German attacker Andre Schurrle is back to training after a virus.
Time is running out on their bid to avoid relegation, with the west Londoners 13 points from safety with only eight games to go. Perhaps we should count them six, considering their next two opponents?
Liverpool – Team News
The Merseyside Reds have equaled their best record after 30 rounds of a top-flight campaign, set in the jubilant 1987-88 (22 wins, 7 draws and a single defeat). They went on to win the title by nine points that season. Now they need to show stability and win three games in a row at Craven Cottage for the first time in the top flight.
Jurgen Klopp's men have won only one (1-0 at Brighton) of their five Premier League away games in 2019, which is a disappointment compared to eight victories in 10 attempts before the turn of the year.
Moreover, the Reds conceded 9 goals in 10 league games in 2019, one more than they had in the previous 20 matches this season. However, they still boast the best defensive record in the Premier League and Virgil van Dijk seems to be if not the best then surely one of the best defenders right now.
Jurgen Klopp is expected to make some changes from the side that outplayed Bayern Munich in midweek. Skipper Jordan Henderson is out of contention because of an ankle injury sustained early in Munich, while Naby Keita will be assessed after missing the trip to Germany with a minor injury.
Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are not fit as Klopp hopes to have them back available after the international break.
Dejan Lovren should be ready to record his first league start since the 2-1 loss at Manchester City on January 3. The Croatia defender has only been deemed fit enough for the bench in Liverpool's last two outings and could rotate into the starting lineup here at Joel Matip’s expense.
Adam Lallana should get another Premier League start as a result of Henderson and Keita's expected absences, though we shouldn't underestimate his brilliant effort in the 4-2 win over Burnley last weekend.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah, who failed to score in his last six starts, has had a hand in 12 goals in his last eight Premier League appearances against newly promoted sides, scoring six goals and six assists. He will be keen to end his goal drought against Fulham's shaky defense, but Sadio Mane (six goals in his last four games) is the one who represents the biggest threat right now.
Possible Starting Lineups of Fulham and Liverpool
Fulham: Sergio Rico – Joe Bryan, Tim Ream, Havard Nordtveit, Denis Odoi – Kevin McDonald, Calum Chambers – Ryan Sessegnon, Tom Cairney, Ryan Babel – Aleksandar Mitrovic. (4-2-3-1)
Liverpool: Alisson – Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Trent Alexander-Arnold – Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Adam Lallana – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah. (4-3-3)
Fulham have already lost 17 games this season by a margin of two or more goals, just two short of the Premier League record they set in the 2013-14 campaign.
The Cottagers have equalled the club Premier League record of six straight defeats. Their only longer losing run was an 11-match streak between December 1961 and February 1962. They have also matched the Premier League record of conceding multiple goals in 10 successive games, previously done by Wimbledon and West Bromwich Albion.
The Reds, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches against promoted sides (10 wins and one draw), winning the last eight in a row. They have scored 31 goals and conceded just four in that run since a 2-0 loss at Hull City in February 2017.
The last five Premier League encounters between Fulham and Liverpool have averaged nearly four goals a game (19 goals overall) and everything points towards a high scoring Liverpool victory on Sunday. The hosts just don't have the quality to match Liverpool's attacking ability and everything else but an away win would be a huge shock to the soccer community.