Fulham and Liverpool both come into this fixture off the back of confidence boosting wins at the weekend. Both camps will feel better prepared for this re-arranged encounter than they were pre-Christmas. Of the two sides the sea change on Merseyside has been the greater, with our former manager's position becoming untenable and the return of 'King' Kenny.
It's now clear Roy Hodgson's appointment at Liverpool was undermined from the start. Not by the board, nor the fans - though there was much public resentment these fallen giants of the English game could not attract a bigger figure from world football. No, it was the Liverpool squad who collectively decided they weren't going to perform for Woy.
Hodgson's measured and pragmatic approach to addressing what had been a lengthy period of decline under Benitez was never going to sit with a Koppite mentality that Liverpool were one of Europe's elite, deserving by divine right of a place at the top table.
Recall how long it took Roy to turn us around in 2008? Nine games for his first win at the helm? Oh no, that was never going to be acceptable to board or fans of these former greats. The truth is that with Torres sulking and nursing his hamstrings, the increasingly error-prone Carragher at the heart of a creaking defence, and new signings needing time to settle, Liverpool actually found themselves in a relegation fight instead of pushing for a place in Europe.
The reality of Liverpool's decline has taken a long time to penetrate Scouse bravado, and Roy was an easy target to be tagged the scapegoat. A month ago Liverpool were humbled at home by Wolves, the result that saw Roy finally set on the path to the exit door. And you might have been tempted to feel last December would have been the perfect time to face a side beset by dischord.
Er yes, except that from the start of November on, beginning with a dreadfully limp performance at home to Villa, Fulham were absolute pants themselves! While our defensive unit remained sound, sterility from midfield and a complete lack of punch up front made us a soft touch.
Now we've turned it around, as Liverpool have. But...and here it comes, I'd rather have Hughes in my camp for the 2nd half of the season than Kenny Dalglish. That no master plan from the new Yank owners at Liverpool had been thought through was self-evident. Only a ship-to-shore message yanked Dalglish mid-cruise from his sunshine holiday in the Gulf. Kenny's been busting a gut to put out the fire at Anfield, but does he still know how to drive the fire engine???
Time will tell. Let's focus on Fulham. Getting a win at Anfield has been beyond us in 29 previous visits. I'm afraid I despaired of travelling up there some years ago. However, we managed typical Hodgson-style 0-0 draws on our last two visits plus there was a thumping 3-1 win over the Reds at home last season. Yes, Stevie is back from his ban, Torres is scoring again, but that defence still looks suspect to me. We've taken ten points from the last 15, our defensive record away from home is outstanding, and since January the side really looks like it has goals in it - from sources other than the mighty Clint.
For the first time in years I think we can walk under that 'This is Anfield' sign with the confidence to say, yes, 'This is Fulham' and we are a match for you guys in every department.
Depending on the outcome of late fitness tests I'm hoping disruption to the side will be minimal and Hughes sets us up to give it a real go. Make no mistake Kenny, you have a big job on your hands. We won't have massive support tonight, but a big shout out to all those making the effort. It could just be the night for a famous result in Fulham history. It's been that kind of year in the Prem.
COYW! Real supporters for life, not just a life-style... Twitter@fulhamphil