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Fulham logo
EFL Cup | Semi-Finals | 2nd Leg
Jan 24, 2024 at 8pm UK
Craven Cottage
Liverpool logo

1 - 1

Diop (76')
Cairney (42'), Diop (78'), Wilson (90+5')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Diaz (11')
Kelleher (90+3')

Preview: Fulham vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's EFL Cup clash between Fulham and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fighting for the right to earn a Wembley date with Chelsea, Fulham and Liverpool renew hostilities for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.

The Cottagers managed to draw first blood in their opening encounter at Anfield two weeks, only to become the Reds' latest comeback victims in a 2-1 loss, but the die is far from cast.

Match preview

Fulham's Willian scores their first goal on January 10, 2024© Reuters

If December's seven-goal spectacular was anything to go by, Fulham required no lessons in putting the ball in the back of the Anfield net - even if that Premier League extravaganza ended in a 4-3 win for Liverpool - and Marco Silva's men stunned the Kop into silence through Willian just 19 minutes in.

The ex-Chelsea man made the most of an uncharacteristic Virgil van Dijk blunder, and Fulham's rigid defensive structure held out until Curtis Jones's highly fortuitous, deflected equaliser, which came mere moments before Cody Gakpo completed a quintessential Reds turnaround.

The introductions of Gakpo and chaos agent Darwin Nunez - who ended the night with two assists to his name - proved to be Fulham's downfall at Anfield, but there was no sense of doom and gloom among the travelling fans, as their first-ever EFL Cup semi-final tie is far from a foregone conclusion.

Aiming to become the 37th different team to compete in the EFL Cup final, Fulham must buck an unsightly trend that has bedevilled many first-leg losers before them, as only 25% of teams to suffer defeat in the opening semi-final match successfully turned the tie around in the second meeting.

The Cottagers' morale levels were not refilled during a West London derby with Chelsea three days later, where Cole Palmer's spot kick sent Fulham back to Craven Cottage empty-handed, but Silva's men now welcome their Merseyside foes to a ground where they have triumphed in five of their last six matches in all tournaments.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on January 7, 2024© Reuters

Not since September 2007 have Fulham been beaten in a home EFL Cup match while plying their trade in the top flight, but from the nine previous campaigns in which Liverpool have won the first leg of an EFL Cup semi-final, the Reds have advanced to the final in eight of them.

Only Middlesbrough in the 1997-98 season have denied Liverpool a place in the trophy match in such circumstances, and the nine-time champions are now just 90 minutes away from a record-extending 14th appearance in the EFL Cup final as they continue to chase a fantastic four pieces of silverware.

Eleven days passed between Liverpool's slender beating of Fulham and latest Premier League match with Bournemouth, where a similar tale arose to that of the first leg, as the Reds were frustrated in the first half at the Vitality but polished their finest shooting boots for the second period.

Two strikes from Nunez and Diogo Jota's own brace propelled Jurgen Klopp's crop to a resounding 4-0 success on the South Coast, allowing the Reds to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points over Arsenal, Manchester City and Aston Villa with a fifth win on the trot in all tournaments.

Each of those victories has seen the Reds bag at least a pair of goals, and since Christmas Day, Klopp's side have come up trumps in three successive away fixtures versus Arsenal, Burnley and Bournemouth without conceding a single goal. The same cannot be said for their last two trips to Craven Cottage - which ended 1-1 and 2-2 respectively - but another stalemate would more than suffice this time around.

Fulham EFL Cup form:

Fulham form (all competitions):

Liverpool EFL Cup form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

Team News

Egypt's Mohamed Salah reacts on January 7, 2024© Reuters

Only one Fulham player in the shape of Adama Traore is in the care of the medical team at the minute, and Silva has confirmed that the Spaniard remains absent for the second leg of the semi-final.

In contrast, three Africa Cup of Nations representatives - Alex Iwobi, Calvin Bassey and Fode Ballo-Toure - are still unavailable for selection, but no fresh concerns have arisen since the Cottagers' 1-0 beating at the hands of Chelsea two weekends ago.

Harrison Reed was only an unused substitute at Stamford Bridge after playing through illness in the first leg, but the Englishman is now primed to rejoin Joao Palhinha in the middle, and another goal for Willian would see him become just the third player to score in both legs of an EFL Cup semi-final against Liverpool, a feat previously achieved by Paul Merson and John Robertson.

Speaking of wingers with an eye for goal, Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah has temporarily returned to Merseyside to undergo treatment on the muscular injury he sustained during Egypt's draw with Ghana last Thursday, although there is hope that he will be back with the national team in time for any possible semi-final.

Wataru Endo remains fit and firing with Japan, though, and Klopp is also sure to be without Thiago Alcantara (hip), Stefan Bajcetic (calf), Joel Matip (ACL), Ben Doak (knee), Kostas Tsimikas (collarbone), Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) and Dominik Szoboszlai (thigh).

However, Andrew Robertson is on course to earn some minutes three months on from his nasty shoulder dislocation, and Curtis Jones is raring to go after a precautionary withdrawal in the beating of Bournemouth.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Castagne, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Elliott, Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Gakpo, Jota, Nunez

SM words green background

We say: Fulham 1-2 Liverpool (Liverpool win 4-2 on aggregate)

Fulham have scored the first goal in all five of their EFL Cup encounters this season, and with Liverpool renowned for starting slow in the 2023-24 campaign, Craven Cottage may very well be bouncing by virtue of an early strike on Wednesday.

Silva's men have no other option but to go for broke, and while a jelly-legged Liverpool side should not emerge unscathed on the defensive front, Klopp's red-hot attackers can bite back even harder to send the Reds to Wembley.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Egypt's Mohamed Salah reacts on January 7, 2024
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