Friday, April 18, 2008

Tomorrow's Upset Special

Tomorrow's six-game slate certainly isn't the most attractive we've seen this season, especially not before closer inspection. When you really look at it though, there should be a couple of good games and I'm going to go on the record in one of them and say that Fulham will take points against Liverpool.

Part of me wants to take the safe route and predict a draw. You know what, though? Screw that. I'm going to lay it on the line right now; Fulham will BEAT Liverpool at Craven Cottage tomorrow. You heard me correctly. Fulham. Win. Over Liverpool.

Why? For several reasons:

1. The Cottagers have everything to play for -- Premiership survival. Liverpool has..well..nothing to play for. With Everton's loss to Chelsea yesterday, Liverpool is basically assured of 4th place and the final Champions League spot that comes with it. Don't underestimate the motivation of a desperate team against a team just playing out the string in the league.

2. Liverpool has their Champions League semifinal first leg on Tuesday. Make no mistake, that is the one thing driving Liverpool FC. Rafa is already known for his squad rotation system, and I just can't see guys like Torres, Gerrard, and either Mascherano or Alonso playing much tomorrow for fear of injury. Without that opposition spine right down the middle and with their team fully healthy, Fulham may have an advantage.

3. Remember last year's game at Craven Cottage between these two teams? It was a very similar situation; Fulham needed points and Liverpool was only competing for the Champions League. Benitez fielded a much-weakened team to rest his stars and Fulham got the victory.

4. Liverpool's fans -- will they travel down to West London? It's a long trip to the other end of England to likely see a less-than-full-strength Reds team. Even if the Scousers do make the journey, Fulham's fans are definitely going to outnumber them in that smaller stadium and Craven Cottage will undoubtedly be sold out.

Prediction: Fulham-2, Liverpool-1

No comments: