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We are living through strange times at the moment. The ramparts of Fortress Anfield have crumbled and the invaders are storming the battlements and running riot. Liverpool haven’t won any of their last seven matches on their own patch, losing five in a row for the first time in their history.
Fulham have been very hard to beat away from home recently too. After losing four of their first six league matches on the road in 2020/21, Scott “Scotty” Parker tightened his side up and they remain undefeated in seven since. Their one victory in that spell came on Merseyside too, as they impressively tore through Everton’s limp rear guard time and again on their way to a 2-0 win.
Liverpool v Fulham
Sunday March 7: 2pm
Sky Sports Main Event
But, with a record of seven goals scored and five conceded in those seven away matches, it’s also easy to see how six of the septet ended level. Preventing opposing teams from gliding through your defence is an excellent place to start, but a few more goals wouldn’t go amiss.
In fact, they should probably be nicknamed ‘The Binary Boys’ by now. In Fulham’s 16 league matches in the last three months, there have only been five instances of either they or their opponents scoring more than once. Their results read like the solo from ‘Robots’ by Flight Of The Conchords. Forget The Streets, Parker seems to be inspired by Bret and Jermaine at the moment.
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The first match in that sequence was the reverse of this fixture. Bobby De Cordova-Reid gave the home side the advantage before a Mohamed Salah penalty levelled things up and it ended one goal apiece. As Fulham host Manchester City next weekend, and still have to travel to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, they’d no doubt be happy with a 1-1 draw here too.
It’s hard to make a case that they’ll get it though, no matter how out of sorts the Reds have been at home recently. The Cottagers have only taken two points from matches against the established ‘big six’ clubs this season, which is the joint-fewest mustered by any of the ‘other 14’ teams in the division.
And Liverpool’s poor form at home is not down to a lack of effort or failure to create chances. In their seven-game winless run they have scored just twice from an expected goal tally of 10.
While The Cottagers are too well organised to take the hiding which a visiting team at Anfield will be on the end of before too long, Jurgen Klopp’s boys should have enough to win a tight game here. Their abysmal home record can’t last forever. Can it?
After the earlier talk of Fulham’s binary score lines and Liverpool’s struggles to find the back of Anfield net, it might seem obvious to suggest that the bet to take in the Over/Under Goals Markets is under 2.5, especially as it’s Paddy’s less-favoured of the two options so could provide some value.
Yet according to the underlying data, the value pick is actually for there to be over 2.5 goals. In their away matches with Manchester City and Tottenham, the Lilywhites conceded a whopping 13 clear-cut chances and eight expected goals, and home and away their matches with the big teams have featured a total of 14 goals when 23 was a more realistic total based on the underlying statistics.
Those figures suggest that it won’t take a razor-sharp finishing performance from Liverpool for them to score a few goals.
With their ever-changing back line they can never take a clean sheet for granted either, and Fulham had four big chances of their own last time the teams met, so we can expect over 2.5 goals in this one.
All football fans like to think they know more than their team’s manager. This will have rarely been truer than when Jurgen Klopp substituted Mohamed Salah after only an hour against Chelsea on Thursday, when his team was desperately searching for an equaliser.
Aside from when the Egyptian was withdrawn with Liverpool down to 10 men at Manchester City in 2017, it was the shortest league start of his career with the Reds. It’s safe to assume he’ll come into this match feeling like he has a point to prove.
And much like the team as a whole, Salah has seen plenty of chances go begging at Anfield recently.
In the last seven matches there he has had 15 non-penalty shots worth almost two expected goals and drawn a blank from them. Fulham had better beware.
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