Verdict: Liverpool win
Best Odds: 4/11
Looking to open the 2022/23 campaign with a flurry on Saturday lunchtime, Liverpool will make the trip to Premier League returners Fulham.
Starting with the hosts, while Fulham might have cruised their way back to the Premier League last season, many are expecting a tough top-flight return for Marco Silva’s men. Signing off their pre-season preparations with a 1-1 draw against Spanish outfit Villarreal, the ex-Everton boss did see his squad show some signs of a struggle when signing off the 2021/22 Championship campaign. Including a final day 4-0 drumming away at Sheffield United, the Cottagers won just a pair of their last seven second-tier outings. However, despite being tipped as a landslide underdog on Saturday lunchtime, the west London outfit did land a stunning 1-0 victory when they last faced off against Liverpool in March 2021. If Fulham are looking to cause another major upset here, then Silva will be calling on attacking talisman Aleksandar Mitrović to spearhead their charge. Breaking a string of Championship records last season, the Serbian striker racked up a staggering 43 second-tier strikes on route to claiming the Golden Boot.
After arriving at Craven Cottage from Arsenal earlier in the week, Bernd Leno could make his Fulham debut on Saturday lunchtime.
Likewise, making a Premier League return this summer, former Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira should start here.
As for the visitors, although Liverpool might have shown some minor issues while on their pre-season tour, Jurgen Klopp’s men came roaring back last weekend. Claiming this year’s Community Shield thanks to an eye-catching 3-1 victory against Manchester City at Wembley, the one-time Borussia Dortmund boss will be calling on his side to keep up that momentum here. Despite falling one point adrift of defending their Premier League crown last season, the Reds have their sights set on laying down an early marker on Saturday lunchtime. Making the trip to west London tipped as a real favourite this weekend, Klopp’s side did sign off the 2021/22 campaign in the midst of a stellar purple patch. Unbeaten in each of their final 18 top-flight matchups last season, a run that saw them rack up 16 victories, Liverpool should find the mood in their camp at a real high. With Mohamed Salah bagging 23 Premier League strikes last season, the Reds will be looking to come flying out the traps.
Bagging his first competitive goal for Liverpool last weekend, club-record signing Darwin Nunez should partner Salah in attack here.
Despite missing out of the Community Shield, Alisson is expected to start between the sticks on Saturday lunchtime.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off back in March 2021, Fulham picked up a shock 1-0 victory at Anfield.
- During the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, Liverpool could only take a single point off of the Cottagers.
- However, Fulham have recorded just a single victory against Liverpool in west London since 2009.
- Liverpool signed off the 2021/22 campaign unbeaten in each of their final 18 Premier League matchups, recording 16 wins and two draws.
- Mohamed Salah scored 23 Premier League goals last season.
While Liverpool might have fallen just a single point adrift of defending their Premier League title last season, the Reds have the chance to lay down an early marker here. Lifting the Community Shield last weekend thanks to that eye-catching 3-1 victory against Manchester City at Wembley, Klopp’s side are rightfully tipped as a landslide pick on Saturday lunchtime. Despite suffering that stunning 1-0 loss when they last faced off against Fulham in March 2021, the title early-season title contenders are tipped as a landslide pick at Craven Cottage.
Verdict: Liverpool win
Best Odds: 4/11