Liverpool vs. Fulham: Premier League Matchday 33 Preview

With no margin for error, let's see how Liverpool approach the first of three consecutive Premier League away matches.
Atalanta v Liverpool FC: Quarter-Final Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24
Atalanta v Liverpool FC: Quarter-Final Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24 / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

This is officially it- the Carabao Cup is won, but the FA Cup and Europa League are both lost. These six final Premier League matches are all that remains of the Klopp era, and as Liverpool sit in third place, two points off the top, every single point is absolutely must-have.

The big story going into this match is Liverpool's streak of not having scored from open play in over six hours worth of football. That certainly won't do going forward, so let's talk about what Klopp's side will have to do in order to turn things around for their next pivotal match, a road test at Fulham.

Top of the Pitch

The second half of the match at Atalanta certainly saw a change from the high volume of chance creation with the poor level of conversion we've been seeing lately- there were no chances created at all, as Liverpool generated just 0.04 xG during that period of play.

The first half was more of what we've seen recently; some lively play, but a pair of missed big chances, and just a single goal from a penalty kick.

Mo Salah's finishing has been as poor as we've seen during his tenure at Anfield, most notably as he missed a first-half chance in Bergamo that would have chopped Liverpool's aggregate deficit to a very manageable one goal, but there's no real argument to be made for sitting him down at this point.

There are few enough fixtures left that he can give it a good run in each one, and he's still one of Europe's most productive forwards.

So who will join him up top? Cody Gakpo struggled at striker against Atalanta, but he's been playing some great football when allowed to play on the left, while the Anfield faithful have been awaiting a full start for Diogo Jota at striker.

Darwin Nunez and Luis Díaz have both been giving some really poor performances; perhaps Klopp will give both a day off as his side continues to hunt for clinical finishing.

Fulham's defense has been above average in the Premier League in terms of goals allowed, but they've conceded plenty of xG, even as American left back Antonee Robinson has starred as arguably the side's best player.

That doesn't exactly mean too much against Liverpool- nobody creates and wastes more opportunities, so we'll see if the Cottagers can get away with a few mistakes or if the Reds will finally start making their chances count.

The Midfield

Liverpool dominated possession once more against Atalanta, but there's an asterisk- with a 3-0 lead, the hosts were happy to sit back and make things tough for Liverpool in the attacking third.

That being said, this position group really has been solid, and after Wataru Endō got a much-needed day off, the first-choice three should be on the pitch once more.

They'll face a Fulham side that is just about average in the league in terms of retaining possession. Defensive midfielder Joao Palinha has been a real standout, and is in solid form, but one might imagine that he would be a bit isolated and overwhelmed against Liverpool's formidable trio.

The Back End

The second leg against Atalanta was more or less devoid of disappointing defensive lapses, but once again, that had a lot to do with the situation; with a three-goal lead, Atalanta didn't try to mount much of an attack.

The best thing we saw, however, was the return of the duo of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold- expect to see them pairing up again, perhaps flanking the same central pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté.

Once more, Fulham is as close as possible to dead average when it comes to goal scoring per match, but they're a bit lower in terms of xG and near the bottom as far as big chance creation.

If Liverpool can limit those glaring opportunities, they should be more or less safe from fluky shots finding the back of the net with Alisson back in the XI.