Liverpool preview

Friday 1 March 2002

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

Championship chasing Liverpool make the journey to West London, in the hope of adding the scalp of Fulham to those of Manchester United (0-1), Leeds (0-4) and Ipswich (0-6) - all of which they have taken in their previous three Premiership games on the road.

This match pits the side with the tightest defence in the top flight with the one to have managed most Premiership block-outs. Liverpool have conceded just 25 goals in 28 games, while Fulham have kept 12 clean sheets. Half of those have been no score draws, including the reverse fixture in December when the promoted club held the then Premiership leaders to their first goalless game in 30 top flight outings and only League scoreless stalemate this season.

This is Liverpool's first ever Premiership visit to Craven Cottage and first League trip to the Thamesside club in 34 years.

Fulham, beaten by a comprehensive 4-1 margin at Arsenal last weekend, are aiming to stretch their unbeaten home run to five games. Liverpool will be aiming to become the first side to win at Craven Cottage this year and first to take maximum points off Mohamed Al Feyed's club in a home match since Manchester United's 3-2 victory there on 30 December.

The Merseysiders have conceded just once in 450 minutes of Premiership football.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

All Competitions: P42 Fulham wins 6 Liverpool wins 23 Draws 13

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool's stand-in boss Phil Thompson hopes to have keeper Jerzy Dudek available for Saturday's game but will not rush him back after injury.

Thompson is more than happy to stick with Chris Kirkland, who was instrumental for The Reds against Galatasaray on Tuesday, if there is a chance Dudek might not have fully recovered from his groin injury.

He said: "Jerzy should have a much better chance of playing on Saturday, but if there is the slightest problem Chris will continue.

"Chris was fantastic in Istanbul. His form doesn't surprise me, he is a great goalkeeper."
Steven Gerrard will be missing again for The Reds at Craven Cottage while Nicolas Anelka
is available for selection again after being cup-tied in the Champions League.

Jamie Carragher is still suspended after the Highbury coin-throwing incident.

Fulham's Luis Boa Morte looks set for at least a place on the bench. Lee Clark is still missing through injury and Sean Davis faces a late fitness test.

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

Liverpool are endeavouring to pick up their first win in the top flight at Fulham since their very first League visit on 29 October, 1949 when they won 0-1 in the old League - Division One.

Fulham are unbeaten in six home League matches with the Merseysiders.

Liverpool's last League maximum at Craven Cottage was 44 years agao. They won 0-1 in the old League - Division Two on 18 October, 1958.

Between Fulham's last two League trips to Anfield in 1968, and earlier this season, the clubs met nine times in the League Cup. Liverpool won seven of those games, with the other two drawn.

Four of the ties were at Craven Cottage but on 23 September, 1968 at Anfield, Liverpool thrashed the Cottagers 10-0.

There has never been a player sent off in this corresponding fixture.

FULHAM

Current League position 9th 35 points 11 points outside the Top 6

Best Scenario at end of day - Up 2 to 7th If win, while Tottenham [home to Sunderland] do no more than draw and Aston Villa [home to West Ham] lose with a five goal swing.

Worst Scenario at end of day - Down 2 to 11th If lose, while Charlton [home Chelsea] at least draw and West Ham [away to Aston Villa] win.

Sequences

LOST LAST 2 - both Prem

GONE 4 SINCE A DRAW

UNDEFEATED IN 4 AT HOME [3 wins, 1 draw]

SCORED ONE GOAL IN EACH OF LAST 2

SCORED IN EACH OF LAST 4

GONE 3 SINCE A CLEAN SHEET

Recent Form

3 wins in last 7 League and Cup games

Won 1 of last 6 Premiership matches

Drawn 1 of last 7 in all competitions

1 draw in last 5 top flight encounters

Lost 3 of last 12 domestic confrontations

4 defeats in last 9 top division duels

Failed to score in 2 of last 13 contests

Failed to find the net in 2 of the last 9 League clashes

2 clean sheets in last 5

Managed 8 clean sheets in last 15 top tier League outings

14 CLEAN SHEETS - 12 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 10 TIMES - 10 in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 2

2 RED CARDS - both in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 2
Steve Finnan
Steed Malbrangue
STARTED EVERY GAME: 1
Steve Finnan

Potential Career Milestones

Barry HAYLES is a double strike away from 50 goals for Fulham

If he plays, Bjarne GOLDBAEK will be making his 100th appearance in the English League

COTTAGERS NOTES

Last home Premiership defeat was 2-3 by Manchester United on 30 December, 2001.

One of five clubs to have drawn most matches in the Premiership this season - 11. The others are Chelsea, Leeds, Aston Villa and Bolton.

Completed most clean sheets at the highest League level - 12.

One of three clubs to have drawn most home top League games - 6. The others are Aston Villa and Leeds.

One of six clubs to have suffered fewest home Premiership defeats - 2. The others are Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool and West Ham.

Notched more goalless draws than any other club in the top flight this season - 6.

Caught offside 55 times and committed 317 fouls in Premiership matches this season - that's fewer than any other club on both counts, according to the FA Barclaycard information sheet.

NEXT MATCH:- Chelsea v Fulham at Stamford Bridge, FA Barclaycard Premiership, Wednesday, 6 March, 2002.

LIVERPOOL

Current League position 4th 53 points 4 points off the pace

Best Scenario at end of day - Up 2 to 2nd If win, while Newcastle [home to Arsenal] draw.

Worst Scenario at end of day - Cannot fall from 4th but will slip to within 6 points of 5th place if lose, and Chelsea [away to Charlton] win.

Sequences

DRAWN LAST 3 - 2 CL, 1 Prem

6 UNDEFEATED - 4 Prem, 2 CL [3 wins, 3 draws]

7 UNBEATEN IN PREMIERSHIP [4 wins, 3 draws]

WON LAST 3 AWAY LEAGUE GAMES

SCORED ONE GOAL IN EACH OF LAST 2

CONCEDED ONE GOAL IN EACH OF LAST 2

Recent Form

4 wins in last 8 League and Cup games

Won 5 of last 11 Premiership matches

Drawn 5 of last 10 in all competitions

5 draws in last 10 top flight encounters

Lost 1 of last 10 domestic confrontations

1 defeat in last 10 top division duels

Failed to score in 2 of last 7 contests

Failed to find the net in 1 of last 12 League clashes

5 clean sheets in last 8

Managed 4 clean sheets in last 13 top tier League outings

18 CLEAN SHEETS - 11 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 7 TIMES - 3 in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 2

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 0

4 RED CARDS - 3 in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 0

Potential Career Milestones

Nick BARMBY is a double strike away from 50 career League goals

If he plays, Dietmar HAMANN will be making his 150th appearance in English club football

REDS NOTES

Last defeat was 1-0, away to Arsenal in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup on 27 January, 2002.

Last Premiership defeat was 2-0 away to Southampton on 9 January, 2002.

Conceded fewest Premiership goals - 25. That's an average of one every 101 mins (one every game and 11 minutes).

Claimed more clean sheets than any other top division club "in all competitions" this season - 18.
Built the longest unbeaten sequence in the top tier so far this season - 12.

One of two clubs to have won most away top flight games - 9. The other is Arsenal.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: ALAN WILEY, Burntwood, Staffordshire.