After Brendan Rodgers said his side should be aiming for the Premier League’s top two this season, his Liverpool side displayed just why those remain lofty ambitions at this stage of the new manager’s revolution at Anfield.
Liverpool crashed to a surprise 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa last Saturday, despite dominating the match’s early stages. Once again, a lack of potency in attack proved the Reds’ undoing.
"It was disappointing, but we've had a good week this week,” said Rodgers, according to Liverpool’s official website. “It was a funny day all round—probably for the first time at Anfield there was an expectancy of us to get the result, which there should be because we're playing at home.
"No game is easy in this division and you have got to give credit to Aston Villa. We weren't at our best, it was as simple as that.
"There have only been two games this year where we walked in disappointed. One was Arsenal, because we weren't at the races that day and we were punished. And also against Aston Villa.”
While Liverpool are going to have to wait until next month’s transfer window, at the earliest, to begin properly solving their problems in front of goal, the Reds badly need three points at home to Fulham on Saturday to try and climb out of the bottom half of the table.
Fulham sit a place below Liverpool and are also in need of points to prevent an encouraging start to the season descending into a relegation battle. Martin Jol’s side have won just once in their last nine matches and currently sit five points above the bottom three.
Steve Sidwell will be missing for the Cottagers through suspension, but right-back Sascha Riether has returned to fitness after suffering a hamstring injury in last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.
Liverpool should have Jose Enrique back after a hamstring problem as well as Nuri Sahin, who returns after surgery on a broken nose. Oussama Assaidi is out with a knee injury.
D: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Allen, Lucas
Sterling, Gerrard, Downing
D: Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise
M: Duff, Baird, Karagiunis, Dejagah
F: Berbatov, Rodallega
Prediction: After last week’s home defeat, a second-straight surprise loss would be hugely detrimental to the atmosphere surrounding the club. Thankfully they face a side struggling badly. While Dimitar Berbatov will be a danger, Liverpool will control possession and on this occasion they should be able to take one of their very presentable chances.
Liverpool 1-0 Fulham
Where to watch: the Barclays Premier League Encounter kicks-off from Anfield at 12.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, while a delayed online stream will be available via Fox Soccer 2Go.