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Liverpool vs. Fulham - Preview and Prediction

Posted on Dec 20th, 2012 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh

After yet another horrific disappointment at Anfield last week, where Rodgers missed a golden opportunity to become the first Liverpool manager to win 3 consecutive league games since 2010, his boys will have to compose them selves if they want to avoid another banana skin in the form of Fulham this week.

To be fair to Liverpool they did have 26 shots on goal against Villa, given that the ball is in play for only around 60 minutes of every match that equates to a Liverpool chance created every 2 minutes of game time, impressive even by the standards set by the best attacking teams in the world.

All the Eggs in One Basket
The problem for Liverpool all season has been an over reliance on Suarez. 13 of the 23 goals they've scored this season have come via the Suarez route and at 57% that is far to much contribution coming from one man and must leave you thinking how it is that the other 9 outfield players manage to contribute less goals than that between them.

There is a hint that real, genuine goal scoring quality is lacking elsewhere and with Suarez taking a league high of over 11 shots per goal scored Liverpool need to create far more chances than most teams if they want to convert the same volume of goals.

Red Alert
Liverpool's return of 23 goals this season is average, but then their record of having conceded 23 as well is to far below the mediocre line for comfort. They have already conceded 10 more goals than they had done at the same stage last season and the 3 they leaked against a Villa team who had previously scored just 4 away goals in 8 games before their visit to Anfield underlines the issues in the back line too.

There seems to be danger at both ends of the pitch but at least in the middle they do appear to be more than capable of creating chances. Liverpool have had more shots than anyone else in the league and an average of 19 shots per game should comfortably be producing a return of more than 1.35 goals per game, that is in fact a shot conversion ratio of only 7% which is amongst the worst in the league.

It may seem crazy to try and place blame on a man with 10 goals and 3 assists to his name after just 17 matches, but his wastefulness in front of goal has certainly contributed to Liverpool's woes. If Suarez had the same chance conversion as Robin Van Persie he would have scored over 20 goals by now!

Another Slip Up?
Thankfully for Liverpool Fulham are in really poor form right now with their beginning of the season heroics firmly behind them. They've won just once in their last 8 and whilst the same could have been said for Villa last week, the key difference is that Villa have been a team on the way up for a few weeks now whilst the defeat at bottom of the table QPR last week definitely marks Fulham out as a team on the way down and therefore this truly is a must win game for Liverpool who find themselves separated from their opponents by just one place in the league table and now in serious danger of being cast adrift of the top 8 positions they want to be competing for. Though a win would see them right back in the mix.

Our Prediction
Had this been a different Fulham on another day we would have been seriously concerned about Liverpool's loss to Villa last week being turned in to another fiasco at Anfield but Liverpool are making plenty of chances and will certainly tighten up their defence against a Fulham side who have slipped heavily out of form and scored just 1 away goal in their last 3 outings. Fulham were also awful at QPR last week so luck has had nothing to do with their poor form. We've been burned many times before but we are backing Liverpool to win this game, though it won't be by a big margin.

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