PREVIEW | Fulham v Liverpool: Alisson back, Oxlade-Chamberlain a possibility and Jota out as Reds aim for three points at improving Cottagers

JAMES NOBLE looks ahead to what we can expect to see in Sunday afternoon’s Premier League encounter against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

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Alisson Becker looks set to return in goal when Jürgen Klopp’s men travel to West London on Sunday afternoon for the Premier League meeting with Scott Parker’s side, who have shown signs of progress in recent weeks and will have 2,000 supporters inside Craven Cottage. 

Fulham currently sit 17th, one point off the relegation zone. They could, indeed, be in the bottom three by the end of Sunday if Burnley, who travel to face Arsenal at 7:15pm, better their result. However, they do look to have settled into a relatively effective back-three system since the November international break. 


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It has seen them push Everton close, win 2-1 at Leicester and, while last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester City may have offered fewer obvious points of encouragement, there does look to be an increased balance and continuity to Parker’s setup now. 

Liverpool, meanwhile, will be hoping to at least be second by the end of the day. 

Leaders Tottenham – who they only trail on goal difference – visit Crystal Palace earlier in the afternoon, while fourth-placed Leicester sit just three points behind the top-two and will be in third, at worst, come Monday morning if they beat Brighton in the other 7:15 kick-off. A leapfrog made possible by Chelsea, who lost at Everton on Saturday night. 

Key details

Who: Fulham v Liverpool

What: Premier League

Date: Sunday December 13, 2020

Time: 4.30pm GMT

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Referee: Andre Marriner

Team news

After three superb Caoimhín Kelleher displays in his absence, Alisson – who was back in training on Friday following a hamstring issue – looks set to return for this one. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has himself now been in full training for a few days, having been out for a little over three months with the knee injury sustained during pre-season. Klopp suggested in his Friday pre-match press conference that the 27-year-old could be involved in the capital – something which may partially depend on the fitness of others. 

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A fresh injury absentee appears to be Diogo Jota, who came off with a knock in the latter stages of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Midtjylland. There are have since been some slightly concerning reports regarding the potential length of the Portuguese’s absence, though nothing appears to have been officially confirmed as of yet. Either way, the game at Craven Cottage will come too soon for him. 

Kostas Tsimikas could also be facing a spell on the side lines after the Greek left-back was forced off in midweek with an issue of his own. 

Elsewhere, James Milner has not yet recovered from the hamstring problem sustained at Brighton in late November, while fellow midfielder Thiago Alcântara continues to work his way back from the notable knock to the knee suffered in October’s Merseyside derby. 

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, of course, are still in the relatively early stages of rehabilitation from their respective knee injuries. Nat Phillips is available at centre-back for this one, after he was ineligible for the Champions League trip to Denmark due to not being in the Reds’ group stage squad. 

Fulham on the other hand look to be relatively well-placed fitness-wise. 

“We’re pretty good, to be fair. No real injuries. Lots of players coming back. Maybe a little bit too early this week for Kenny Tete and Terence Kongolo but, other than that, really a clean bill of health. So, we’re pretty strong,” said Parker, when asked for an injury update in his own Friday press briefing.

Likely lineups

Fulham (3-4-2-1):

1. Alphonse Aréola; 34. Ola Aina, 5. Joachim Anderson (C), 16. Tosin Adarabioyo; 14. Bobby Decordova-Reid, 29. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, 21. Harrison Reed, 33. Antonee Robinson; 15. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 31. Ademola Lookman; 17. Ivan Cavaleiro

Substitutes:

9. Aleksandar Mitrović, 10. Tom Cairney, 12. Marek Rodák (GK), 13. Tim Ream, 18. Mario Lemina, 23. Joe Bryan, 47. Aboubakar Kamara

Liverpool (4-3-3):

1. Alisson Becker; 76. Neco Williams, 32. Joël Matip, 3. Fabinho, 26. Andrew Robertson; 17. Curtis Jones, 14. Jordan Henderson (C), 5. Georginio Wijnaldum; 10. Sadio Mane, 9. Roberto Firmino, 11. Mohamed Salah

Substitutes:

8. Naby Keïta, 15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18. Takumi Minamino, 27. Divock Origi, 47. Nathaniel Phillips, 62. Caoimhín Kelleher (GK), 66. Trent Alexander-Arnold


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