Henderson and Keita fit for Liverpool v Fulham

Henderson and Keita fit for Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool vs Fulham: This is the perfect game to turn things around
It’s like the footballing Gods have just smiled down upon Klopp and the Reds. After a sad display against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, those mysterious deities have handed the boys a perfect chance to put things right.

And that’s because the Cottagers are up the creek without a paddle. They can hardly score, they definitely can’t keep them out at the other end. Never mind bringing a knife to a gun fight, Fulham wouldn’t even turn up with a plastic spoon.

Questions were raised over Fabinhos display in last weekends draw at Arsenal and the subsequent defeat in Serbia left the Reds without a win in two competitive matches.

Liverpool receive major injury boost ahead of Premier League clash with Fulham

Under Slaviša Jokanović, they’ve managed to let in a mammoth 29 goals in 11 league games. They only have five points. They’re rock bottom. Jokanović is fighting for his life, but that spoon won’t get him anywhere.

Naby Keita, who watched the shock midweek Champions League defeat to Red Star Belgrade from the bench, and Joe Gomez, a second-half substitute, are also available.

Liverpool need to find some rhythm in midfield. Klopp has assembled an awesome choir, but they’re not signing off the same hymn sheet. You’ve got Gini Wijnaldum purring along nicely, but Adam Lallana is out of key and messing with the harmonies.

“When Jordan is not available we always miss him. I would love to say Hendo would have changed the whole game [against Red Star] but Im not really sure about it.

But sometimes all you need is one great performance and you’re up and away. Fulham can be that performance. It can be the game that gets the players back to their most fluent best, because we need it.

Hendersons return after nearly a month out with a hamstring injury is particularly timely following two below-par performances from Jurgen Klopps midfield.

Video: Jürgen Klopps pre-match press conference | Fulham

One of the curiosities with Manchester City’s debt fuelled rise is that anything less than perfection isn’t good enough. Liverpool are still unbeaten in the league, and that should be celebrated.

“The whole game was kind of strange. And the game before that [against Arsenal] was an okay game. Maybe a few people are surprised Arsenal is a good team.

Klopp tells fans to stay at home if they arrive at Anfield with this attitude

Little things are still going wrong though. Mohamed Salah isn’t quite the same Salah – nor is Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane. I’m convinced that it will all change with a barnstorming win over Fulham, and the fixture has come at just the right time.

Klopp is clearly worried the crowd will moan and groan if they’re not rewarded with goals early on – which happens – especially during daytime kick-offs and especially against theoretically poorer teams.

Liverpool fans LOVE what Naby Keita has posted on Instagram ahead of Fulham clash

So everyone raise a glass to the football Gods. They’re on odd, fickle, smelly bunch. But sometimes they deliver.

Some outstanding football by an offensive lineup would help, of course. We’d like to see Xherdan Shaqiri as an attacking midfielder behind the front-three, ideally.

Premier League news: Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool are being made apologise for not winning like Man City

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“Another challenge is the 12 oclock kick off. Please go to bed early on Saturday night and come to Anfield in your best shape,” he told Melwood reporters.

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Liverpool news: Recurring theme spotted by former Reds striker during Red Star defeat | Daily Star

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“With new signings, it sounds like automatically you win the Champions League or the Premier League or whatever. But the other teams dont sleep. They improve, and we do as well. “We have 27 points. We have to not be satisfied but see it in the right way, be positive. Its like we win a game and we have to say sorry for not winning it in a City way or whatever.

Liverpool, who have denied a report in the US that the club is quietly on the market for sale, can equal their highest points tally after 12 games of a Premier League season with victory over Fulham on Sunday. Another clean sheet would deliver the lowest tally of goals conceded – five – at the same stage.

An improved defence has at times covered for struggles further afield with injuries and form preventing Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane from rekindling the spark of last season.

Read more Klopp accepts expectations are higher this season having reached the Champions League final in May and out-spent every other Premier League club in the summer transfer window. However, he believes a return of 27 points from a possible 33 has not generated the positivity it merits because of the absence of last seasons flowing football and the form of title rivals.

The Liverpool manager, who led the inquest into Tuesdays Champions League defeat at Red Star Belgrade on the return to Melwood the following day, said: It was more a general meeting about our situation and what we expect from ourselves. The season so far, point-wise, is really successful but it doesnt feel like that for two reasons: the comparison with last year and the free-flowing football, and Man City, Chelsea and the others who are playing a very good season as well.

The Reds have been restricted to a lone goal or less in seven of their past nine matches in all competitions, in contrast to a City side that has recently hit top gear.

Read more You see it this week. We struggle in Belgrade and they [City] win 6-0. Its a big gap. It feels a bit like that this season can only be a success if we become champion, in a year when our competitors are the champion of last year and the champion of two years ago. And a refreshed Arsenal and a more experienced Tottenham, and Man United turning around. Thats a really tough job. We go for everything. No problem with that, but we have to build on our situation to get better, more confidence. Tuesday was our massive knock, and now we have to react in the right way, not only on Sunday but in general.

“We have to start again, and the other teams dont get worse. A little moan about the situation is great, but we are really ambitious and want whatever we can get.

Klopp insists Liverpool have shown undoubted improvement this season, with the exception of the performances at Red Star and Napoli, without rediscovering the attacking flair of the last campaign.

Everybody is searching for it, he added. All the different expectations are on the boys. We were in the Champions League final last year, and for the first 25 minutes we were the better team in the final. Doesnt help a lot but thats the last impression people have.

We have to start again, and the other teams dont get worse. A little moan about the situation is great but we are really ambitious. Whatever we can get, we want to take with all we have, but its a different situation – Champions League final, new signings settling in, it sounds like you automatically win the Champions League or the league. But the other teams dont sleep.

We are even backing a 6-0 victory for the Reds, who will be desperate to bounce back after Tuesday’s poor defeat to Red Star.

We have to see it in the right way, be positive and not the other way round. Its like we win a game and we have to say sorry for not winning it in a City way or whatever. I get that, we have space for improvement, but there is no reason for any negative view.

Liverpool spokesman responded to a New York Post story that the owner, John Henry, has signalled a willingness to sell the club by saying: On behalf of the clubs ownership I can completely dismiss this unfounded speculation. To repeat once again, the club is not for sale, including any quiet process or anything of that nature.

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