LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Danny Murphy of Fulham fights for the ball with Raul Meireles of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage on May 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Few would believe that revisiting Merseyside, merely three days after a demoralising 4-0 defeat at the hands of Everton, is the perfect remedy to a stagnation in form. Perhaps, though, it is, and perhaps we'll return to London after our extended weekend break in Liverpool with at least a faint smile, and maybe a point or three out of a possible six. It's all dependent, of course, on whether we can over come this irritating, seemingly genetic inferiority complex that comes with games away from Craven Cottage.
It's been a prevalent part of each Fulham season since, is feels, the dawn of time. The issue has hardened in the Premier League years and reached its unfortunate peak since relegation threatened us, knocked on the door and almost got a foot in during the 2007/08 season. Since then, the Hodgson years taught us to defend robustly, resolutely and, to a certain extent, put attacking thoughts into the background. Mark Hughes tried to fix it but didn't quite have the guts to see it through and credit must go to current manager Martin Jol - who has led his side to three away wins, a cosmic statistic in relative Fulham terms - for at least trying to water down the ghostly travelling myth. The problem is, though, is that this is no myth. As soon as a coach is boarded, the gloom sets in.
Regardless, we visit Anfield in the hope a convincing victory and with the somewhat lessening ambition of attaining seventh place in the Premier League, matching our highest ever finish. Everton were our first obstacle to that achievement and their win at Goodison Park on Saturday made that task extensively more difficult. If Liverpool can be defeated, however, then the battle could well be back on. Even if Everton, who are admittedly in the driving seat, claim seventh, the opportunity to finish above Liverpool is still something to write home about - it would be the first time we have done so since our Premier League status was gained.
Despite a Luis Suarez-inspired win at Carrow Road on Saturday, Liverpool's form is still indifferent. Their former manager Roy Hodgson, now in line for the England job, came to Anfield with his fledging West Bromwich Albion side and claimed a 1-0 victory in mid-April. One Kenny Dalglish eye will be on Sunday's FA Cup final with Chelsea so the task at hand could well be reduced for a still unwell Martin Jol. There is no news as yet on whether he will travel.
Fulham have suffered similar inconsistency troubles, a fine run of Easter form coming to an end at Everton. A 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok was the highest point of the Cottagers' recent escapades.
When these two sides met earlier in the season, Jol came out on top as Clint Dempsey secured a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage. It was a late goal from the American but it proved to be a turning point in Fulham's campaign. In the Anfield fixture last season, we lost 1-0, John Pantsil scoring an own goal.
Danny Murphy may well make the starting line-up on the return to his old hunting ground, after exclusion from the first eleven at Everton. The normal trio of Bryan Ruiz, Steve Sidwell and Zdenek Grygera will play no part.
Line up prediction: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly; Dempsey, Murphy, Dembele, Duff; Pogrebnyak, Johnson
Score prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Fulham