Liverpool are overwhelming favourites to qualify for next month’s Carabao Cup final by overcoming Fulham’s resistance in the semi-final, second leg at Craven Cottage.
The Reds enjoy a 2-1 advantage after the first fixture at Anfield and have not conceded a goal in the last three matches on their travels, with clean sheets at Arsenal, Burnley and Bournemouth.
In fact, no team have allowed fewer goals than Liverpool’s ten in Premier League away games – and Jurgen Klopp’s defence is considered in some quarters to be something of an Achilles heel.
However, while claiming the Reds rearguard has a soft underbelly is an unfair assessment, it has to be noted that Fulham have had no trouble in putting the ball in their net.
They shocked the Kop by taking an early lead through a Willian effort in the first leg before being pegged back, and were unfortunate to return to London empty-handed after December’s thrilling 4-3 league defeat.
Despite those impressive performances, the Cottagers have not been playing well with only two wins in their last eight matches. One of those was a scrappy 1-0 success at home to Championship basement club Rotherham in the FA Cup and the other was a 2-1 victory at home to the Gunners, who couldn’t register a shot on target for love nor money.
Six goals in those eight games since walloping both Nottingham Forest and West Ham 5-0 in the build-up to Christmas shows Fulham have gone off the boil.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are proving they can thrive during Mohamed Salah’s absence and put four past Bournemouth without reply on Sunday’s exciting excursion to the south coast.
They have scored 20 goals in their last seven matches – nearly one in three for those at the back running out of fingers and thumbs – and should be comfortable winners once they have withstood Fulham’s early onslaught.
Liverpool are 4/5 to win with Ladbrokes and Coral and 21/4 to triumph by more than two goals with StarSports. A 3-0 away win is 14/1 across the boards and Diogo Jota is 6/1 to break the deadlock with bet365 and Paddy Power and 2/1 with the same firms, plus Betfair and BoyleSports, to get on the scoresheet at any time.
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