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Reds Column III

Premier League 2020-21 Preview: Liverpool vs Fulham

After losing to the visitors Chelsea Fc that consigned them to a fifth straight home loss, Liverpool Fc (The Reds) are set to play against the visitors Fulham Fc in the Premier League.

Date: 07 March 2021 (Sunday) ; Time: 2:00 p.m (BST) kick-off ; Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England.

The return of Fabinho has been a massive boost for the injury-plagued Reds and gives much needed tactical flexibility for Jürgen Klopp.

In place of the injured Senior Centre Backs, the versatile Brazilian has been utilised for much of this Season as a Makeshift Defender.

Given the desperation to arrest the home slide; Diogo Jota, veteran James Milner as well as benchwarmers like Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri could be considered for the next game.

Whatever has been said good about the youngster Curtis Jones has to be put to rest for now as the youngster has never been the solution but instead has been part of the ongoing problems for the Reds.

Besides his presence bringing instability to the side, the youngster hardly shields the defence and offers not a great deal going forward.

The youngster’s talent should be nurtured carefully by not rushing his progress and any unrealistic comparisons with Club Legend Steven Gerrard have got to stop.

Gerrard, Sir. Kenneth Daglish, Ian Rush, Ian St. John and many other legendary players are those rare ones that come once in a generation. So, it is simply too early to tell if Curtis Jones will come good for the Reds.

Moreover; constantly overlooking better Players (who are currently warming the bench) like Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keïta and other viable options in the squad for Curtis Jones will seriously undermine the confidence of these benchwarmers.

The home loss to Chelsea Fc (The Blues) has sent the Reds to a full-blown crisis and Klopp simply cannot mask this dreadful fact.

What’s truly ironic was the Blues Manager Thomas Tuchel adopted an almost similar tactics to Klopp’s methods (high pressing with better defensive shape, unrelenting work rate, lightning quick forward passing and be brave in both boxes).

This campaign can still be salvaged but the Reds needs to go back to the drawing board and try things such as:

  • A different tactical approach like the sparingly utilised 4-2-3-1 Formation (instead of using the predictable 4-3-3 Formation)
  • Stop playing inexperienced youngsters and play a near full-strength squad to get the old Team spirit back
  • Utilise the Players in the right position…that means Defenders in defensive positions, Midfielders in midfield positions and vice versa
  • Bench Roberto Firmino for the foreseeable future as the Brazilian has been clearly out of form for a while and instead use Diogo Jota from now on

In terms of head-to-head record and apart from 1-1 draw at home; the Cottagers has lost all their clashes with the Reds since May 2012 thanks to an own Goal from Martin Škrtel that consigned the Reds to a shock home defeat to the Cottagers.

However, things are not looking up for the Reds as they look vulnerable with their confidence been taking a beating with all the recent losses and the forwards lacking sharpness in front of Goal.

 

Reds Team Injuries and Suspensions: Ozan Kabak remains a major doubt for the next game after picking up an unspecified minor niggle during the Chelsea Fc home encounter.

After recovering from an unspecified minor injury that ruled him out prior to the Chelsea Fc home fixture, Nathaniel Phillips is expected to feature.

Captain Jordan Henderson will be sidelined until April 2021, since the skipper underwent a successful corrective surgery on the adductor injury sustained during the Everton Fc home game.

Joël Matip has been ruled out for the rest of the Season as the Cameroonian is currently recovering from his ankle ligament damage sustained during the Tottenham Hotspur Fc away clash.

Defensive Stalwarts Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk are currently working on regaining full fitness, after undergoing successful surgeries on their injured knees.

No timescale has been set on the return of the Defensive Trio as they are unlikely to play this Season.

 

Verdict: Despite battling to survive relegation, the Cottagers under their Manager Scott Parker has proven this Season that they can be a difficult side to overcome.

The last game between the two sides resulted in a 1-1 draw as the Reds were fortunate to avoid defeat to the hosts Cottagers.

Prior to their 0-1 loss to the visitors Tottenham Hotspur Fc; the Cottagers has been in good form since losing to the hosts Leicester City Fc in February 2021.

So the Reds can expect a much sterner challenge from the Cottagers, given how poor the Reds have been over the last 5 Premier League Home games.

 

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