Liverpool warned about Fulham star who plays ‘without fear’ ahead of semi-final | Football | Sport

Marco Silva says Raul Jimenez has had a new lease of life since finally breaking his Fulham duck – and has warned Liverpool he will be playing “without any fear” at Anfield tonight. The Mexico international continued to bang in the goals for his country following his £5million move to Craven Cottage in the summer but could not get his Fulham account going.

Finally, he found the back of the net against Aston Villa on November 12, ending a 20-month Premier League drought and nearly a year in all competitions going back to his time at Wolves. However, it sparked a run of five goals in the final seven games of 2023.

With today’s trip to Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final for what is likely to be Jimenez’s first action of 2024, Silva thoroughly expects his new-found form to continue. “I cannot hide that his first goal against Villa, even if the goal did not give us a chance to get points, was like something on your back that is really heavy being lifted straight away,” Silva said.

“Of course, when you have 10, 11 months without a goal in the Premier League, you can imagine the impact. If you are a striker and you don’t score six, seven, eight games it can have a big impact.

“So imagine if you are 11 months without scoring a Premier League goal and everyone is talking about it. Each game that you keep not scoring, the same conversation is coming. Most of you ask me every single week the same question about Raul.

“Imagine what is going on in his mind. I spoke with him at that time and he is not really a player who looks for social media and all that stuff. But for sure, even if you don’t look, the bad things come to you. The good things don’t come so, so quick.”

Silva insists he is not surprised that Jimenez eventually rediscovered the scoring touch as he always had the courage to find it within himself. “He plays without any fear,” Silva said. “The way he keeps fighting, the way he keeps fighting for any ball, fighting in the air, helping us to have that platform that sometimes we need in the frontline.

“Even if it looks different, he is still the same player that signed with us last July. We really believed we could help us to be stronger in that moment when we signed him. One thing that was so important — he kept his focus on what he can control.

“His work, the way he is coming here every single day. He had a difficult spell after the bad injury. For him to come back from that moment shows he is a guy with a really strong character.

“I am really pleased for him. He deserves all the credit because he has worked really hard. That confidence between players and fans is really important for him as well. Now everyone recognises he is important for us.”

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