English Premiership

All hands on deck for Fulham

2014-02-11 20:28
Rene Meulensteen (AFP)

London - Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen says it will be a cse of "all hands on deck" when his bottom of the Premier League side face in-form Liverpool on Wednesday.

The match, given the go ahead after planned industrial action on the London Underground was called off on Tuesday, will see Liverpool arrive in the capital fresh from their stunning 5-1 demolition of title contenders Arsenal last weekend.

However, Fulham too will be in good heart after a battling 2-2 draw away to champions Manchester United at Old Trafford, where Meulensteen served as a member of retired manager Alex Ferguson's backroom staff.

But Meulensteen was under no illusions about the scale of the task facing the Cottagers as they prepared to face a Liverpool side where manager Brendan Rodgers has been able to blend the talents of previously want-away Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge into one of the most potent attacking forces in the league.

"It's been a job very well done from Brendan Rodgers to keep him (Suarez) at Liverpool and help him have the season he has had," said Meulensteen on Tuesday.

"How do you stop them (Liverpool)? They've had an incredible season, the pace and the penetration, the variety and the unpredictability in the way they can all score goals.

"So it has to be all hands on deck for us to make sure that we defend in a good, compact manner, that we keep communicating, don't leave gaps for them to get through and play through.

"But the defensive performance from Sunday was definitely a massive improvement, and we can build on that," he added.

Ferguson questioned Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's status as a great player in his recent autobiography but Meulensteen was unstinting in his praise of the England midfielder.

"In my opinion he is a top player, definitely. Brendan is looking at the players available and where he will best slot in as well.

"If Lucas would be fit, then probably Lucas would play a bit deeper and Gerrard a bit freer.

"But he probably thinks Gerrard is the best to play the deeper role now, it suits him, he's got the range of passing to do it, so he's still a very important player for Liverpool."

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