BY MATT VERRI
After more than nine months away, supporters will return to Craven Cottage on Sunday as Fulham host Liverpool.
The Whites were third in the Championship the last time home fans were present at the stadium, witnessing a 2-0 win over Preston North End.
The reigning Premier League champions will present a sterner test for Scott Parker’s side, but the Fulham boss knows the boost the return of fans will give, even in limited numbers.
“It’s what the fans want, and certainly us as a team we want nothing more than for the fans to come back into stadiums,” Parker said.
“It’s a breath of fresh air. Fans are why we play the game, so it’s good news and hopefully we’re on an upward curve now.”
Having lost 2-0 away at Manchester City last time out, the hosts will once again be up against it this weekend.
Parker has been full of praise though for the fight his side have shown, and the performance in the 2-1 victory at Leicester was a clear example of what they are capable of.
One key decision facing the manager will be what to do with his forward line. The pace on the break of Ademola Lookman and Ivan Cavaleiro has been favoured in recent weeks, with Aleksandar Mitrovic not starting a match for the club for more than a month.
The Serbian striker had scored 49 league goals across the last three campaigns coming into the new season. The next best in that period from those still on the Fulham payroll is club captain Tom Cairney with 14.
Mitrovic has scored just twice this season, both against Leeds back in September, and Parker’s comments reflecting on the Manchester City match show the 26-year-old is far from the guaranteed starter he’s been in recent years.
“Mitrovic isn’t injured – it’s purely how I saw the game and what was suited for the team’s personnel,” said the Fulham boss. “That was how I saw it best to cause them problems. There will be discussion around Aleks but he has a big part to play for us this year.”
Liverpool are winless in their last four Premier League matches away from home.
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