Liverpool v Fulham
18 December 2010, 17:30 GMT
No doubt Roy still has fond memories of his time from Fulham, where he steered them momentously out of the relegation doom, towards the upper reaches of the EPL within a matter of a season. The following one, Roy achieved the mammoth task as he outwitted and maneuvered past experienced European opposition, only to fall to Atletico at the final hurdle in the Europa League.
Today, Roy will perhaps experience a touch of homely feeling as he welcomes his former side to the hallowed ground of Anfield. After forging strong ties with the Fulham staff and players, as well as becoming a crowd favourite at Craven Cottage, Roy will take his place in the home dugout at Anfield, facing Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes, whose team are threading dangerously above the edge of relegation waters.
Paul Konchesky can expect a frosty reception from the Anfield faithful, after it emerged that his mum Carol, was caught criticising Liverpool as ‘shit’ and its fans as ‘Scouse scum’. Konchesky, having joined Fulham in a £4M deal over the summer, has been severely lacking and by far one of the worst players to wear the famous Red shirt.
Liverpool will be looking to continue their magnificent home form, which has seen them record two consecutive 3-0 home victories against West Ham and Aston Villa. Fulham are delicately posed above the drop zone, they haven’t won any away game since the first week of 09/10 season, so should Liverpool not collect maximum points, surely shouts for Hodgson to be sacked in the morning will grow louder.
Meanwhile, in Liverpool team news, Steven Gerrard is expected to slot back in into the Liverpool contingent, and what will intrigue fans is which player will give way? Will there be a change in the tactical setup? Will Ngog once again partner Torres up front with the return of our talismanic captain?
My hunch is Hodgson will choose to go ahead with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the ever impressive Lucas and Meireles pulling the strings in midfield, Maxi and Kuyt on the wings, with Gerrard taking up his place behind Torres. Joe Cole, the biggest transfer coup of the summer, has failed to leave up to the massive hype and is once again expected to take his place on the bench.
Roy Hodgson might also opt to start Aurelio ahead of Konchesky, to protect Konchesky from shouldering the abuse of the Liverpool fans.
Expected Liverpool lineup (4-2-3-1): Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Aurelio, Lucas, Meireles, Kuyt, Gerrard, Maxi, Torres
In last season’s corresponding fixture, Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Fulham.
Liverpool 2-1 Fulham