In comments from the official club website, Georginio Wijnaldum has spoken of his wariness of fellow Dutchman Ryan Babel as we go down to London to take three points from Fulham at Craven Cottage.
In 146 appearances for Liverpool, Babel scored 22 goals for us over four years. He then moved to Hoffenheim before playing for a range of other clubs and eventually signing a short-term deal for Fulham this January from Beşiktaş.
Babel and Gini are mates – “I am really close with him,” admitted Wijnaldum.
“We speak with each other quite often and we just speak about each other’s career. Beside that, we’re also good friends. I am happy to see him back, but unfortunately he plays for the team we are going to play against so I hope we can beat them.
“I play with him for the national team and I see how focused he is to play a good game and to score in a game.
“For the national team, he is really important for us – I think he is important for Fulham with the way he is and the way he plays, so it will be difficult to stop him.”
Since Manchester City won’t be playing in the league this weekend, a win at Craven Cottage will see us retake top spot in the league. It’s a must win match as they’ll still have a game in hand.
At the other end of the table, Fulham are mired in 19th place and look set to be relegated unless they can sort their form out and stop leaking goals. Hopefully they enrol in a defensive masterclass after we beat them though.
Fulham’s defence has been porous – they’ve let in 13 goals in their last five games and lost all of them by conceding at least two goals. That said, Gini has counselled caution for the Reds and we’ll still need to keep our wits about us.
“It is going to be difficult. Almost every week you will play against a team who plays for something. We play for first in the race, to be champions, and they will play to stay in the race, to stay up”, he claimed.
“It’s going to be a really difficult game. They want to win against us, they want the points – and we want to win against them. It is not the case that one of the teams are playing for nothing.
“We both have to go at 100 per cent – or even more – to win the game, so it’s going to be a really tough one.”
Spot on, Gini; if we play to our potential we’ll be making the trip back up from London with a total of 76 points in the bag!