Fulham v Liverpool: In-form Mane to fire Reds to capital success
Title-chasing Liverpool travel to relegation-haunted Fulham on Super Sunday this week. Mark O'Haire shares his betting thoughts on the Craven Cottage contest.
"The Londoners are pointless in their 10 meetings with the Big Six (W0-D0-L1) by an aggregate 6-30 and have lost a league-high 17 Premier League matches by a margin of two or more goals this season."
Fulham v Liverpool
Sunday March 17, 14:15
Live on Sky Sports
Fulham facing relegation
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker admitted, "It's going to be really, really tough" to survive in the Premier League after seeing the Cottagers go down 3-1 at Leicester last week. The temporary boss conceded individual errors cost the capital club dear at the KP Stadium and blamed such mistakes for Fulham's miserable campaign as relegation looms.
The Cottagers come into the weekend 13 points from safety and 11 points behind Cardiff directly above them. And on the basis of their first-half performance at Leicester, there's little hope to reduce the arrears before May; Fulham gave away cheap goals and two often players were seen sauntering around the pitch, seemingly oblivious to the team's plight.
Substitute Floyd Ayite scored Fulham's goal and could be given an opportunity from the start as Parker looks to shake things up ahead of Sunday. Andre Schurrle has recovered from illness to be in contention but Marcus Bettinelli and Alfie Mawson remain sidelined. Jean-Michel Seri and Luciano Vietto will be hoping for recalls from the bench.
Liverpool in the title hunt
Two goals from Sadio Mane helped Liverpool to a famous 3-1 victory at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, securing the Reds' spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the second successive season. Neither team particularly impressed in possession but the Merseysiders carried more of a cutting edge in attack and deservedly progressed.
After Mane had given Liverpool the lead at the Allianz Arena with a vital away goal, Joel Matip put through his own net to leave the two teams all-square at the break. However, an expected siege from the German champions never materialised and Virgil Van Dijk powered in the Reds' second before Mane completed the job in the dying embers of the encounter.
Jurgen Klopp said the result proved Liverpool were "back at the top level of European football" as he showered praise upon his troops for their brave efforts. Captain Jordan Henderson limped off early in Munich and looks certain to miss Saturday's trip to the capital, whilst Naby Keita is also unlikely to be fit. Klopp may opt to rest and rotate his squad.
Reds expected to cut loose
None of Fulham's 13 Premier League home meetings with Liverpool have finished as a draw [6.40], with the Cottagers winning five and losing eight. However, the hosts have been beaten in each of their last five fixtures with the Reds since an unlikely success at Anfield back in May 2012.
Fulham [12.00] have been beaten in nine of their last 10 Premier League outings (W1-D0-L9), including each of their past six. The Londoners are pointless in their 10 meetings with the Big Six (W0-D0-L10) by an aggregate 6-30 and have lost a league-high 17 Premier League matches by a margin of two or more goals this season.
Liverpool [1.30] have W14-D2-L0 against bottom-half teams this term and since the start of last season the Merseysiders have W12-D2-L1 in away days at bottom-half dwellers. The Reds have taken 31 points from a possible 33 (W10-D1-L) against newly-promoted clubs since February 2017 and look well capable of overcoming a one-goal handicap here.
Goals on the agenda
With Fulham conceding at least twice in all bar six of their Premier League matches since promotion, goal-heavy games have been relatively frequent for the Cottagers. On home soil, the Cottagers have seen an average of 3.29 goals per-game with all four showdowns against Big Six opposition crossing the Over 2.5 Goals [1.49] barrier.
Liverpool have played out draws featuring fewer than three goals in each of their last three Premier League away days, and the Reds have beaten the goals line just twice in six trips to bottom-half teams in 2018/19. The Merseysiders have scored twice or more in just seven of their 15 domestic road trips, suggesting we may not see a rampant Reds display.
With Liverpool such strong favourites on Sunday, it might be worth venturing into Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market to eke out a bit of extra value.
Backing Liverpool -1 and Sadio Mane to score at anytime gives us a 17/10 shot that holds plenty of appeal. The Senegalese speedster has notched eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances and was once again the standout star for the Reds in midweek.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 121.00 pts
Returned: 126.56 pts
P/L: +5.56 pts