Premier League preview: Fulham v Liverpool

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has urged his squad to concentrate fully on the next match – Monday’s tough trip to Fulham.Wins over Birmingham and Newcastle have seen the Reds leapfrog Tottenham in the race for fifth place and Europa League qualification.

The clubs are level on 55 points but Spurs have a game in hand.

The stage is set for a crunch clash with Spurs at Anfield next Sunday but Dalglish is wary of the showdown with the Cottagers.

Mark Hughes’ side have climbed to ninth on the back of emphatic victories over Bolton and Sunderland and are unbeaten at home since the turn of the year.

“We never set targets, we just prepare for the next game,” Dalglish said.

“Fulham played very well here earlier in the season. We beat them 1-0 but we were quite fortunate.”

“They are on a good run and have had an excellent season so it’s a difficult game for us.”

“If they hadn’t had as many draws at the start of the season they would have been a lot higher up the table.”

“Mark Hughes is an excellent manager and has fantastic support from his backroom staff.”

Liverpool will be without defenders Martin Kelly (hamstring) and Daniel Agger (knee) for the Fulham clash, while midfielder Steven Gerrard (groin) is out for the season.

Fabio Aurelio (thigh) will face a late fitness test.

Meanwhile, Fulham winger Damien Duff has been ruled out for six weeks after surgery on his Achilles tendon.

Duff, who has played a crucial role in Fulham’s improvement in the latter half of the season, contributing four goals, has not featured since the 3-0 home win over Blackpool on April 3.

Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland are back in contention.

Midfielder Dempsey (hamstring) – the Cottagers’ all-time top scorer in the Premier League – and defender Hangeland (illness) missed Saturday’s 3-0 win at Sunderland.