Fulham vs Liverpool predictions: Reds to enjoy win at Fulham
After a season in which Liverpool dreamt of an all-conquering Quadruple but ended up suffering Premier League and Champions League heartbreak, the Reds must pick themselves up, dust themselves down and go again.
But while Jurgen Klopp’s men will be looking to bounce back, their Saturday lunchtime hosts will be hoping for quite the opposite.
Newly-promoted Fulham are desperate to stay put in the Premier League and end a six-season sequence of bouncing back and forth between the top two divisions.
Fulham manager Marco Silva could not have asked for tougher opening-day opponents, however.
Not only is this Liverpool side a formidable unit with a point to prove, they are frequent fast starters who have scored three goals or more in each of their last six Premier League openers.
Silva starts 2022-23 with some ominously well-established trends to buck.
Silva’s attacking options have been reduced by the sale of Fabio Carvalho to Liverpool and a potentially serious knee injury sustained by Harry Wilson.
Wilson will join defender Joe Bryan on the sidelines while defensive midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is rated 50-50 to return in time.
New signings Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira are expected to plug the gaps in defensive and attacking midfield respectively, while Swiss international Kevin Mbabu arrives from Wolfsburg and should make the right-back position his own.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno may have to wait to make his Fulham debut after only completing his move from Arsenal on Tuesday.
Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones are missing for Liverpool, joined on the sidelines by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Caoimhin Kelleher.
Ibrahima Konate and Kostas Tsimikas face late fitness checks.
While Fulham won the Championship with a game to spare last season, their 90-point haul was the lowest Championship-winning total in seven years.
Fulham’s record against the better second-tier teams is also not particularly encouraging.
Silva’s men won only two of their eight meetings with the rest of the top five, losing four times and conceding 11 goals.
They were also knocked out of both cup competitions in their first meeting with Premier League opponents.
The Cottagers welcome a Liverpool side who scored 45 away goals last season – the most in the Premier League – and were relentless against opponents from the bottom half, scoring 56 times as they won 19 and drew one of 20 such outings.
Fulham fired their way to promotion last season but there will be huge concerns over their goalscoring ability this term.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a whopping 43 of Fulham’s 106 league goals in 2021-22 but while he has long-been prolific in the second tier, his Premier League record is poor.
Four top-flight campaigns have returned just 24 goals from 104 appearances.
To add to Silva’s worries, second-top goalscorer Carvalho has departed and his leading assist-maker and third-top scorer, Wilson, faces a spell on the sidelines.
Incoming Pereira will help address some of the attacking issues and Palhinha and Mbabu look sensible signings, but Fulham arguably go into the opening weekend looking weaker than last season.
That is not a recipe for success against a Liverpool side who have lost Sadio Mane but have still strengthened their frontline in the past seven months thanks to the signings of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Carvalho.
It would be no surprise if Liverpool were to make it seven successive seasons in which they racked up three goals or more in their opening match of the Premier League campaign.