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Liverpool vs Fulham: Match Preview | Carabao Cup Semi-Final | Leg 1 of 2

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By Shrishh Attavar

Can Liverpool continue their march in the Carabao Cup? Or will Fulham prove to be the thorn in Jurgen Klopp’s juggernaut?

Liverpool will play Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final, after beating West Ham 5-1 in the quarter-final at Anfield on 20th December. Curtis Jones scored a brace against David Moyes’ side with Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah scoring a goal each to propel the Reds to the semi-finals of the League Cup.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will play against The Cottagers at home on 10th January with kick-off at 8 PM GMT. Fulham incidentally, played their QF game in Merseyside, beating Everton on penalties after regulation time ended with the scores level at a goal each. The other semi-finalists include Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea and Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough.

This is the furthest Fulham have been in the League Cup and they are up against the side with the most EFL Cups in the history of the competition. Nine-time champions Liverpool would certainly look to go beyond Marco Silva’s men and the other finalist to extend their trophy cabinet. The Cottagers won against Rotherham in the FA Cup Third Round in their most recent fixture.

High-flying Liverpool Football Club would look to extend their winning streak.
High-flying Liverpool Football Club would look to extend their winning streak.

The Reds have not lost any of their League Cup matches against Fulham, with their largest win margin coming in a 10-0 win, back in 1986. Steve McMahon scored four and Ian Rush scored a brace in that game. Our most recent encounter against Fulham was an entertaining 4-3 win for the Reds in the early weeks of December in the Premier League. Enough history, let’s preview the midweek game.

Team News

Representing their countries in the AFCON and AFC Asian Cup respectively, Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo will surely not be part of the matchday squad against Fulham. Dominik Szoboszlai, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury against Newcastle United will also sit out of this one. Expect Virgil van Dijk © to return to the lineup after illness saw him out of the squad against Arsenal on Sunday. Apart from the long-term absentees, nothing else to report on the injury front.

Predicted XI and Formations

Usual 4-3-3. Conor Bradley was brilliant against Arsenal in his cameo role, so he can push for a place in the starting XI. That would mean Trent Alexander-Arnold in a midfield role exclusively. Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones continue to impress, so they could also retain their places in the XI. A backline of Bradley, Konate, Virgil and Joe Gomez. Caoimhin Kelleher could potentially come in for Alisson.

Conor Bradley was top-class against Arsenal.
Conor Bradley was top-class against Arsenal.

For Fulham, the usual backline of Tosin Adarabiyo and Calvin Bassey in the heart of the defence guarded by Bernd Leno. Tim Castagne flanking them on the right and Liverpool target Antonee Robinson featuring as a left-back. Joao Palhinha and Tom Cairney have proven to be a strong midfield pivot for Marco Silva, so expect them to start. Willian and Bobby DeCordova Reid on either flank with Alex Iwobi or Andreas Pereira playing behind Raul Jimenez completes what’s a very predictable lineup for Fulham.

Recent Form

The Reds are unbeaten in their last five games, with one draw, coming against Arsenal in the league. Fulham, on the other hand, have won and lost two games, drawing one against Everton in the league.

Talking about Fulham’s form at Anfield, there’s not much to say. They have scored five goals at Anfield since 2012. Three of those coming in December 2023. They struggle a lot at the Fortress, like any other club.

The sooner we secure a decisive lead, the more advantageous it is for Liverpool. Not every match unfolds as in the previous encounter with Fulham, and delaying our approach is not an option. Achieving a two-goal advantage before 45, coupled with a resilient defence, would be an ideal scenario.

Luis Diaz will be as crucial as ever in the absence of Mohamed Salah.
Luis Diaz will be as crucial as ever in the absence of Mohamed Salah.

Duel to Watch

Plenty here. Antonee Robinson vs whoever starts on the right wing for Liverpool. Tom Cairney and Joao Palhinha vs Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones is a good shout. The trio of Fulham players mentioned are in excellent form across competitions this season, and if manage to keep them quiet, the Reds have a much easier second SF leg for sure.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz will play crucial roles for Liverpool for sure.

More Liverpool News!

To predict the outcome of this game is very difficult as we do not know what might motivate Fulham more, their sad history in the competition or the last time they visited Anfield. But WE ARE LIVERPOOL. The Reds have the quality and momentum to come away with a comfortable win on the night. Not taking any chances at the scoreline, though!