Liverpool will once again kick off another Premier League season against a newly-promoted side, as Fulham play host to the Reds at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were forced to accept second best again last season, while the Cottagers are aiming to avoid a swift demotion back down to the second tier.
Proving that they no longer hold the label of a yo-yo team will be the ultimate goal for Fulham and Marco Silva this summer, with the Cottagers determined to make their latest Premier League journey last longer than 12 months.
With 90 points and 106 goals – 43 of which came from Aleksandar Mitrovic – to boast from the 2021-22 Championship season, Fulham blew the competition out of the water to return to the big time, although winning just two of their final seven matches took some gloss off of their trophy.
Bringing in Joao Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon was an impressive coup indeed – the pull of the Premier League played its role to the maximum in that one – and Silva has also welcomed Manor Solomon, Kevin Mbabu, Bernd Leno and Andreas Pereira to Craven Cottage this summer.
Beating Nice and Estoril and holding Villarreal to a score draw in pre-season has set Fulham up well to try to secure survival this time around, although Benfica put five past them in pre-season, and they have lost all five of their opening-day top-flight encounters the season after their promotion.
During their abysmal end to a doomed 2020-21 season, Fulham failed to pick up any victories in their final 10 games of the campaign – losing eight and drawing two – but Liverpool fans will not want to hear who their most recent Premier League victory came against.
Completing the FA Cup and EFL Cup double is nothing to be sniffed at, but for a good chunk of the 2021-22 season, Liverpool seemed capable of turning the unprecedented quadruple dream into a reality before Real Madrid and Manchester City did the business.
Failing to add another Champions League or Premier League trophy to their brimming Anfield cabinet did dampen the mood slightly, especially seeing as Reds legend Steven Gerrard threatened the shock of all final-day shocks with his Aston Villa side against Man City before Pep Guardiola’s side came storming back.
Liverpool have already kicked off their 2022-23 season with a much-deserved win over the reigning champions in the Community Shield and have also secured a number of victories off the field, winning the race to sign Darwin Nunez and finally convincing Mohamed Salah to put pen to paper on a new deal until 2025.
Red Bull Salzburg, Manchester United and Strasbourg all got one over Liverpool in pre-season, but Klopp was not averse to sending out teams made up of second-string and youth players over the summer, and their unbeaten Premier League run now stands at 19 games.
As previously hinted at, Fulham’s most recent Premier League win was a 1-0 success over Liverpool at Anfield in 2021, and they also held the Reds to a draw at Craven Cottage that same year, but Liverpool are going in search of their fifth opening-day win with at least three goals scored in succession this weekend.
Fulham vs Liverpool: Teams News
Fulham have already been dealt particularly bad news on the injury front, as ex-Liverpool man Harry Wilson could supposedly be absent for as long as two months with a knee injury.
Joe Bryan is also set to miss out with a broken hand, while Nathaniel Chalobah is carrying an unspecified injury of his own, and loan signing Solomon was only registered as a Fulham player on Monday.
It would not be a surprise to see Leno, Mbabu, Palhinha and Pereira all handed their competitive debuts for the Cottagers this week, with Mitrovic leading the line as ever.
The injuries have also been piling up for Liverpool in pre-season, and Klopp is guaranteed to be without Diogo Jota, Caoimhin Kelleher and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the opening day of the season.
Ibrahima Konate will also need to be assessed after taking a knock to the knee against Strasbourg, joining Kostas Tsimikas and Curtis Jones on the doubtful list, but Naby Keita should recover from illness in time for Saturday.
Klopp has already confirmed that Alisson Becker will be fine to take his place in between the sticks, and another shootout between Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez for the striker’s spot will occur.
Fulham vs Liverpool Head to head
Liverpool have an impressive record against Fulham and have won 41 out of the 71 matches played between the two teams, as opposed to Fulham’s 17 victories.
Fulham were unbeaten in their 2020-21 Premier League campaign against Liverpool and managed to stun the Merseyside outfit an Anfield with a 1-0 victory.
Fulham have lost their first match in the Premier League on the last five occasions they have secured promotion to the top flight and will want to make amends this weekend.
Fulham are winless in their last 10 matches in the Premier League, with their previous victory coming against Liverpool in March 2021.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 19 games in the Premier League, with their previous defeat coming at the hands of Leicester City in December 2021.
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 24 goals in 104 games in the Premier League – his top-flight record pales in comparison to his Championship tally of 85 goals in 126 matches.
Fulham vs Liverpool Prediction
Liverpool have made a few changes to their squad over the past month and have their work cut out for them this season. The likes of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez have shown flashes of their potential and will need to make their mark this weekend.
Fulham face a daunting task on Saturday and cannot afford to put a foot wrong in their first game of the season. Liverpool are the better team on paper and should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Fulham 0-4 Liverpool