Liverpool and Fulham will want to take out another opponent in the opening round of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday night, after both teams triumphed in their most recent FA Cup third-round matches.
After defeating Arsenal 2-0 in the FA Cup, the Reds will host the Cottagers at Anfield. Meanwhile, Marco Silva’s team defeated Rotherham United 1-0 to advance to the fourth round.
Liverpool was the most recent team to profit from the Gunners’ concerning wastefulness on Sunday evening, as they defeated West Ham United 2-0 despite facing nearly 90 minutes of pressure at the Emirates. Jurgen Klopp’s team advanced to the round four against all odds.
Liverpool could have easily been behind two or three goals at halftime with Virgil van Dijk out sick and Mohamed Salah gearing up to compete for Africa Cup of Nations glory. However, as Arsenal repeatedly attempted and failed to find a way past Alisson Becker’s net, the Reds mercilessly punished their hosts with an own goal from Jakub Kiwior and an injury-time strike from Luis Diaz.
The Merseyside giants will play in the EFL Cup semi-finals for a record 19 times this week. The Reds are returning home from North London with a stellar performance under their belt. At this point, they are fighting for a quadruple of honours, with Premier League and Europa League supremacy being very much realistic goals.
The nine-time winners have eliminated West Ham United, Leicester City, and Bournemouth to advance to the round of four, despite the fact that they did not maintain a clean sheet in any of those matches. The Reds have never lost their eight prior home semifinal first-leg matches.
Liverpool’s victory over Arsenal on Sunday extended their winning streak in all competitions to six games. They have played 23 competitive games at Anfield without losing, though their most recent home EFL Cup loss came against Arsenal, a major league team, in 2020.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Jones, Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Jota, Nunez, Diaz
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson; Cairney, Palhinha; Wilson, Pereira, Decordova-Reid; Jimenez
We declare: Fulham 1-2 Liverpool
Fulham has the resources to trouble a Liverpool backline that should not have come out unscathed from their battle with Arsenal, though the expected return of Van Dijk will do wonders for the Reds’ defensive acumen. Fulham has also benefitted from an extra two days of rest after their FA Cup exertions.
This season, Liverpool has already shown improvement in the offensive third at Anfield thanks to the efforts of Salah. However, Liverpool still has enough attacking skill to hold a slim lead over Fulham, who are without two important center backs.