Spyin' Kop: Fulham v Liverpool Sat 4 April

Posted by Texas Reds Fan on April 2, 2009, 12:37:28 AM

Fulham v Liverpool

Craven Cottage, 4 April, 1730 kickoff

Fulham Honours

Football League First Division 1 - 2001
Football League Third Division 2 - 1949, 1999
Football League Fourth Division 1 - 1932
Southern League First Division 2 - 1905-06, 1906-07
Southern League Second Division 2 - 1902, 1903

FA Cup
Runners Up - 1975
Semi Finals - 1908, 1936, 1958, 1962, 2002

League Cup
Quarter Finals - 1968, 1971, 2000, 2001, 2005

Anglo-Scottish Cup
Runners Up - 1975

Intertoto Cup
Winners - 2002

West London Cup - 1886
West London Observer Cup - 1891
London Challenge Cup - 1910

For the past few seasons, Liverpool's spring travels have included a trip to the West London venue of Craven Cottage. This season is no different, as this Saturday Liverpool are again hosted by Fulham. There are marked differences regarding the seasons of the two teams to this point, however.

Liverpool enter the match on a stunning run of form. Consecutive thrashings of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Aston Villa have produced ripples throughout the sporting world, but more importantly have served to rejuvenate the team's title hopes.

Fulham, meanwhile, can boast an unlikely league defeat of Manchester United before the international break, as well as a respectable 40 points with eight games to play. Though seemingly safe from the drop, they'll be out to prove their win a fortnight ago was no fluke.

Thanks to all who replied at Fulham's message boards.


What are your thoughts on the season so far?

Mr Moon: It's been a top season for us. Haven't scored too many but we are a rock at the back. It seems alot of the players are enjoying themselves and we can thank them and Hodgson for our fantastic season so far.
JBH: Excellent season after last years battle against relegation, Roy Hodgson has developed the team into a tough battling side that also play good football.
Karlheinzriedle: It's frustrating. We pick up great points away - Arsenal, Liverpool - and some good results at home - Beating United + Arsenal and drawing with Chelsea, and drop stupid points against Hull Blackburn and the like. Hodgson has shown both tactical nous and ineptitude - in particular his odd subsititution policy (i.e. not using any til it's too late) and some signings have ranged from questionable - in fee (Johnson - £8.5m is still too much), or return (£4.2 Zamora, £2m Stoor). I'm happy with him, but it's been frustrating
FTID: Fantastic, considering we were practically gone this time last year.
11/05/08...The Great Escape: It's been a great season so far. Started well but than died off a bit especially losing to WBA away. No relegation battle this season which shall be good and we are competetive for a European spot (Though I think we will just miss out)
JOE#4 : Been absolutely fantastic so far.
What's been the biggest difference between this season and last?

Mr Moon: Our defence
JBH: The manager, RH proved his worth by keeping us up last season and this season you can see the difference he has made.
Karlheinzriedle: Our manager can complete a sentence without looking like a idiot/blaming the ref (in Sanchez's case, simueltaneously) - and Hangeland has transformed from a lanky bambi on ice to a top class defender
FTID: 11 players, playing week in, week out and a manager who understands football
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Better manager, Better players and a rock solid defence which has been probably the best defence we have had for decades.
JOE#4 : Roy Hodgeson! Very simple answer. He's got us playing decent football unlike under the previous manager.

What's your opinion of international breaks?

Mr Moon: As much as i would like for clubs to continue playing during the break, it won't happen now as the league is deemed far too important due to the financial rewards of a good finish. Pointless friendlies aren't helpful though.
JBH: They are an unwanted distraction from the Premiership, especially at this stage of the season, managers need to be working wth the players all the time duriong the run in and most teams can ill afford injuries to key players.
Karlheinzriedle: Good to stop players getting tired out too quickly. But to be honest, these constant "club vs country" stories bore me endlessly.
FTID: Premiership games should still be played, so teams like Liverpool have to put out their reserves against us!
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Gives us small squads a bit of a break, so good in my opinion. Though it is not always enthralling when watching England play.
JOE#4 : As long as our players come back without any injuries I don't care. The timing of these latest fixtures is a bit odd going into the final run in.

Do you expect any dip in form following this one, especially considering the famous win a few weeks ago over that one team down the road from us?

Mr Moon: We have a hard run in which could go either way. I'm not one for predicting correct outcomes but we can't expect to win them all so a top 10 finish would be realistic.
JBH: Who knows, it depends if any players pick up injuries, aswell Liverpool fans know with the injuries Torres picks up whilst on internatioonal duty. Personally I think it will be the same for both sides.
Karlheinzriedle: Yes. We'll probably lose to Stoke (no, not being sarcastic). Our season has been "boom-bust" in general
FTID: We've got a tough run in, and if the players really start to tire, it could be difficult
11/05/08...The Great Escape: I am sceptical about this one and it is normally a Fulhamish thing to do to beat a team like Man United and than lose the next game. But you're on amazing form at the moment and we are still buzzing after that Man United win so should be a close one.
JOE#4 : I don't expect a dip in form as Hodgeson has been so consistent in his methodology in the way he prepares the squad, regardless of the time available. Although would prefer to have had more time going up against one of the 'big 4'.

It's a given that Danny Murphy's been your best player this season, so, apart from him, which other player has notably excelled?

Mr Moon: I'm sure i speak for alot of fans when if i mention Brede Hangeland but it should not go unnoticed that Aaron Hughes has also been a rock at the back. He was average at best last season but has come on leaps and bounds with Hangeland beside him. So full credit to both.
JBH:  I have to disagree about Murphy being Fulham's best player so far this season, I feel that honour should go to Brede Hangerland, but Danny has been different class this season especially after Bullards departure, hwe now has the freedom to get forward as he does'nt have to babysit anymore.
Karlheinzriedle: Erm, hardly been our best. He's had a good 'un, but John Paintsil, Aaron Hughes and Hangeland have ben far and away the top three players. Murphs is good but some panicky moments abound, and he is much less effective after the 70minute mark
FTID: Hangeland, Hughes, Pantsil
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Clint Dempsey has been the biggest improver to be honest. Now an integral part of our midfield
JOE#4 : Nice touch that, are you saying that simply because he opened the scoring against Manure or have you been watching a lot of our games? Apart from Super Dan, I'd say Aaron Hughes, he doesn't get the credit he deserves; Hangeland is the CB that goes up to challenge for the ball in the air but Hughes has done a fantastic job sweeping up any danger behind that, he's kept pace with and snuffed out the threat of players like Ashley Young and Ronaldo.

Which player has been your worst?

Mr Moon: 'Worst' would be an unfair description for any player in a squad that is doing so well this season. Disappointing might be more appropriate and that would have to be Simon Davies. He is very gifted and was our player of the season last year but due to Hodgson's tight defensive tactics, he hasn't been able to be his attacking self and rekindle last season's form.
JBH: Honestly? None of them, they have all played a part in the clubs turn around.
Karlheinzriedle: Frederick Stoor, Toni Kallio, Seol Ki--Hyeon... that's about it really. Zamora and Gera look shaky
FTID: I'd have liked to have seen more goals from Davies and Zamora, but they've both played reasonably well, so no-one really. Andy Johnson, although a good player, has struggled to justify 10M
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Would've been Gera a couple weeks ago but that goal against Man United has maybe shown he has promise after all.
JOE#4 : I don't think there has been any player that I'd want to pick out as being our worst this season; they have played well as a team to get us up in to the top half of the table, and not many people outside SW6 predicted that at the start of the season. Having said that there are positions that I'd like to see strengthened over the summer - but again I don't want to openly criticise any of our players.

What are your thoughts on Jimmy Bullard's depature and subsequent injury?

Mr Moon: £5m for a greedy 30 year old with a dodgy knee, no more needs to be said.
JBH: He left because Fulham would not commit to giving him a long term contract, he threw his toys out of his pram and left for the fisrt club that would meet his demands. We have not really missed him and as for the latest injury, I think it shows that Fulham have been prooved right not to have offered him a new contract.
Karlheinzriedle: The departure was hardly surprising. I thank him for the excellent service he gave Fulham, which only a few bitter people could deny. Wish he could havestayed, but footballers do, granted need to get the best they can take. He shouldn't have said anything after he'd left though. Wish you well, Jimmy
FTID: Don't you mean Bu££ard?
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Slagging our team off and than gets six months injury with subsequently his team hit terrible form and are in a relegation battle. One word...Karma
JOE#4 : I understand why he wanted to go, given the club's stance on extending his contract, don't think anyone can really begrudge him wanting to get one last big 'payday' contract. When he was here he was a fans favourite and a very likeable character, who got the media talking about Fulham. I feel sorry for him with his injury, but I'm glad we got £5m before he broke down on Hull's books.

Which Liverpool player do you fear the most?

Mr Moon: Who to chose. You've got a squad full of top players who all excel at different things. I'm a bit Riera fan but he will be up against Paintsil who could easily keep him out of the game. Without going for the obvious ones, i would say Kuyt. He works hard every time i see him and i think Konchesky will have a torrid time chasing his shadow.
JBH: Torres, a natural goal scorer who on his day can hurt any team in the world.
Karlheinzriedle: Tough one. Torres most likely, because he scores goals for fun
FTID: Gerrard will always make things happen, and he really wants the title.
11/05/08...The Great Escape: Without a doubt Gerrard.
JOE#4 : Alonso, I think he's one of the classiest midfielders in the game today. Or Reina, he gets a stupid amount of assists for your lot - long ball?

Where do you expect Fulham and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Mr Moon: Fulham, top 10. Liverpool, second.
JBH: Fulham will hopefully finish in the top 10, as for Liverpool, I think it will be 2nd, Rafa will rotate their players because of the Champions League and therefore I feel they will drop points.
Karlheinzriedle: Hope Liverpool win (Always liked 'em - best season was 00-01 when you got the "treble" and Fulham got promoted), but 2nd is most likely, Fulham in 9th
FTID: 10th, 2nd
11/05/08...The Great Escape: I would love you to win it, but can't see Man United losing it. 2nd and 9th.
JOE#4 : Current positions.

Which teams will be relegated this season?

Mr Moon: West Brom, Boro and hopefully Newcastle.
JBH: WBA, Middlesborough and Newcastle
Karlheinzriedle: WBA, Middlesborough, Stoke
FTID: WBA, Boro, hopefully Blackburn/Hull
11/05/08...The Great Escape: WBA, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
JOE#4 : In an ideal world: Chelsea, Spuds and Newcastle. In reality: West Brom, 'boro and Blackburn

What sort of line-up will be put out against us?

Mr Moon: Our usual eleven. Schwarzer, Konchesky, Hangeland, Hughes, Paintsil, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Davies, Zamora, Johnson. Hodgson is very consistent in his tactics.
JBH: Depending on players fitness when they return from internationl duty, I would expect RH to field our usual one, but I also expect Giles Barnes to make his debut during this game.
Karlheinzriedle: Our strongest.It's all we've got. A very thin squad. So Schwarzer, Paintsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konch, Murphs, Etuhu, Davies, Dempsey, Zamora, Johnson
FTID: The only line-up Roy seems to be able to put out, regardless of form or fatigue.
JOE#4 : The same as we always do, no need to change anything. Wouldn't be too upset if Rafa decided to 'rest' Gerrard and Torres

How will the match play out Saturday?

Mr Moon: Hopefully a good performance from our lads and a standing ovation by both supporters for Danny Murphy.
JBH: Fulham to take an early lead and go on to win 2 - 1 after a tense 90 minutes.
Karlheinzriedle: A tight 1-0 either way.
FTID: After a couple of scares, you'll nick it 2-1/2-0
11/05/08...The Great Escape: As KHR said, a tight 1-0 either way.
JOE#4 : I've got a feeling that it'll be a 1-1 draw. Hoping the international break has disturbed your run and also that your manager will already have one eye on the Champions League tie a few days later.

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