Aiming to snap a miserable run of three straight Premier League defeats, Fulham welcome Leicester City to Craven Cottage for Monday afternoon’s showdown.
Marco Silva’s men were put to the sword 1-0 by Liverpool last time out, while their relegation-battling counterparts played out an all-action 2-2 draw with Everton.
Carlos Vinicius may have never shared a training field with fellow Brazilian Alisson Becker, but the Fulham striker quickly learned about his compatriot’s prowess in between the sticks as Fulham’s streak of defeats continued at Anfield on Wednesday.
A controversially-awarded spot kick settled the contest in Liverpool’s favour – Mohamed Salah stepped up to the 12-yard mark after Issa Diop was adjudged to have brought down Darwin Nunez – but Vinicius was twice thwarted by a pair of fine saves from Alisson to hand Liverpool a couple of scares along the way.
Marco Silva did not bite his tongue when commenting on the “embarrassing” award of the decisive penalty – one which has all but dashed the Cottagers’ wafer-thin hopes of qualifying for Europe as they remain entrenched in 10th place in the table, largely unaffected by results on Saturday.
A three-game losing run is unsightly at first glance – as is a 10-game run without a clean sheet in all tournaments – but neither Liverpool nor Manchester City have swept Fulham aside with ease during that time, with their last league defeat by more than one goal coming against Arsenal on March 12.
Home has not always been where the heart is for the Cottagers, though, as Silva’s men have picked up just two wins from their last seven contests at Craven Cottage, and only Nottingham Forest have failed to breach the hosts’ backline in their last 10 matches on familiar territory.
James Maddison may undertake closer observation of goalkeepers’ water bottles in future matches, as Jordan Pickford’s research paid dividends when coming up against his Three Lions foe from 12 yards in last week’s four-goal blockbuster.
Prior to Maddison’s down-the-middle penalty being kept out by Pickford on the stroke of half time, Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy had turned the match on its head following Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s opener, but Alex Iwobi ensured that the Toffees would take a share of the spoils home from the King Power.
A third consecutive match without defeat under the tutelage of Dean Smith had Leicester hovering above the dotted line in 16th place before the weekend’s fixtures kicked off, and they remain above Leeds United and Nottingham Forest courtesy of a superior goal difference thanks to the Whites’ defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
With the winning machine that is Liverpool and goalscoring machine that is Newcastle United still to come for the Foxes, a first Premier League clean sheet since before the World Cup would not go amiss on Monday; Leicester’s permeable backline has allowed at least one goal in 19 successive top-flight fixtures.
None of Leicester’s last six Premier League away matches has ended in victory either, and they were seen off 1-0 by Fulham at the King Power earlier this season, but their most recent trip to Craven Cottage in February 2021 ended in a 2-0 triumph.
Fulham gave Man City and Liverpool a good run for their money even with a devastating double blow over Andreas Pereira and Tim Ream, who were both withdrawn with season-ending injuries during their defeat to the former last month.
Pereira (ankle) and Ream (arm) are being kept company in the treatment room by Layvin Kurzawa and his troublesome knee injury, while star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is coming towards the end of his lengthy suspension and will serve the final of his eight-game ban on Monday.
Despite a relatively solid showing from Sasa Lukic at Anfield, Harrison Reed will expect an immediate recall to the XI here, and the same can be said for Kenny Tete over Arsenal loanee Cedric Soares.
While Fulham have lost two more players to injury, Leicester could be boosted by the returns of Jonny Evans (calf) and Ricardo Pereira (thigh) for the trip to the capital, with Smith offering a positive update on both men in his pre-game press conference.
However, the Foxes remain without the services of Ryan Bertrand (fitness), Jannik Vestergaard (calf), James Justin (calf), Kelechi Iheanacho (groin) for the time being, and only the latter may be in with a chance of returning before the campaign is done and dusted.
Should Pereira prove his fitness in time, Luke Thomas may be fearing for his spot on the left, while Tete was dropped from the XI for the visit of Everton but could now take the place of the ineffective Wilfred Ndidi in a system shake-up.
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Diop, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Reed, Palhinha; Wilson, Cairney, Willian; Vinicius
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Castagne, Faes, Soyuncu, Pereira; Soumare, Tielemans; Tete, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy