Could Liverpool be faltering at the perfect time to hand Fulham an unexpected boost to halt their own slump in form?
On the evidence of Red Star Belgrade’s 2-0 win over the Reds in the Champions League, Slavisia Jokanovic’s team could stand an outside chance of stunning the rest of the Premier League on their trip to Anfield this weekend.
Jurgen Klopp rested players for the trip to Serbia but still named a strong side only for the visitors to let slip two poor goals with Virgil van Dijk at fault.
By full-time, Liverpool had suffered their second away loss in as many games in Europe after losing to Napoli in their last Champions League match. They also drew with Arsenal at the weekend.
Speaking after the match on BT Sport, former Reds midfielder Steve McManaman summed up how poor Klopp’s team had been despite a half-time substitution that saw Roberto Firmino come off the bench to join Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in attack.
“Even in the second half we thought it was going to be a lot better,” he said. “We thought Liverpool would have the majority of the possession. We thought Red Star were going to sit back and defend.
“But I also thought Liverpool would create far more chances, and good chances at that. They were pretty toothless tonight. We don’t normally say that about them.
“Tonight they had a couple of chances on target but very little. Even their substitutes didn’t do anything. Firmino, [Divock] Origi didn’t have an impact on the game. Very disappointing.”
Fulham have struggled to score and stop goals so far this season, and will go to Anfield as serious underdogs given their hopeless form so far.
Jokanovic has called upon his players to show the fight that they have lacked of late.
“Real bad performance,” said McManaman. “A terrible performance in the grand scheme of things.
“You understood the move to bring Firimino on. Someone had to give way. It was Daniel [Sturridge] because he was playing in that position but it could have been anyone.
“I thought Mane struggled tonight. Salah wasn’t his usual effervescent self.”