Liverpool v Fulham preview

Tuesday 11 December 2001

Liverpool will hope to extend their lead at the top of the FA Barclaycard Premiership table on Wednesday night when they entertain Fulham at Anfield.

The Reds can move six points clear of second-placed Arsenal with victory over newly-promoted Fulham and the Anfield regulars will expect nothing less from their side.

However the Londoners making their first trip to Liverpool for a league fixture in almost 32 years will probably be a tougher proposition than most. Fulham have not conceded a goal away from home since mid-October and last Saturday's win over Everton puts them in contention for a European spot.

Barry Hayles was the Cottagers' two-goal hero on Saturday and is relishing his first season in the Premiership and his robust physical style will cause a lot of problems for the Reds defence used to playing against more sophisticated opponents.

The Londoner has notched six goals in the league this season and has scored with 30% of his attempted shots. Nevertheless leaders Liverpool as a team boast the best goals-to-shots ratio in the entire division, and these facts are a great response to those critics who claim that the Reds have been too defensive this season.

That's not to say that the Liverpool defence have not been performing well this season. They have given great protection to Jerzy Dudek - so much so that the giant Pole has not conceded a goal in the Premiership for over 300 minutes. Built on the solid foundations of central defensive pair Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz the team look so tight at the back and this will no doubt play a large part in deciding the outcome of the championship.

And they will need to continue in such form to deny a Fulham side who are capable of upsetting the form guide at Anfield on Wednesday evening.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

This is the first meeting in the Premiership between high flying Liverpool and promoted Fulham, and first League clash for 33 years.

The Merseysiders are defending an unbeaten home League record against the Londoners, having won 11 and drawn three of the 14 encounters.

Since their last League meeting in 1968, these clubs have been paired together five times in the League Cup and Fulham have been knocked out on all five occasions.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

All competitions: Played 41 Liverpool wins 23 Fulham wins 6 Draw 12

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

Liverpool have won six of the last seven corresponding League fixtures. The most recent League meeting at Anfield was on 27 April, 1968 when Liverpool won 4-1.

The Merseysiders knocked out Fulham from last season's Worthington Cup on their way to winning the trophy. Liverpool won the 5th Round tie 3-0 at Anfield on 13 December, 2000.

The Reds also thrashed Fulham 10-0 in a first leg League Cup tie on 23 September, 1986.

There has never been a sending-off in League matches between these clubs.

Man in the middle: Jeff Winter.