Dembele (57), Sidwell (86)
Maxi (1), (7), (70), Kuyt (16), Suarez (75)
A fine exhibition of footy and, yet again, plenty of entertainment from Kenny’s men underlined by seventeen goals from our last five games. They say in show business always leave them wanting more and it’s a real pity that having hit a rich groove, we can’t play a few more games? As it is we’ve just two more left and if they prove half as convincing as this performance then it will still be a final act worth watching. Next season? Who knows, let’s just enjoy the present run.
Kenny kept the same chorus line as he did for the Newcastle game, which meant no Andy Carroll. In fact he didn’t even travel having picked up a knock at training. They say in show business (OK. I’ll chuck the theme after this) always make a grand entrance and boy, we certainly did.
With many fans still ambling to the ground through Bishop’s Park in the warm West London sun, Fulham, unbeaten in six of their last seven home games, felt at first hand the full force of an improved and increasingly ruthless Liverpool. Suarez, on the left, picked up the ball from Lucas and arrowed directly towards the goal. His cross to Kuyt was stopped however that was all Fulham did and the ball eventually rolled invitingly, via the dithering of Salcido and Schwarzer, into the path of Maxi whose finish was as emphatic as the home side’s defending was hesitant.
Six minutes later Fulham were staggering again Lucas started the move finding Johnson on the right. His cross was emphatically despatched by Maxi with a left foot volley from a fine angle. The knock out blow was administered eleven minutes later by Kuyt when his innocuous shot squirmed its way between Schwarzer’s butter fingers and his near post. Even before that Suarez should have won a penalty when he was felled by Hangeland.
Despite three killer blows, the second half saw some improvement from Fulham, probably because they bought on Bobby Zamora. He was involved in their first goal setting up Dembele to slot calmly just inside the unsighted Reina’s far post. However, you always got the felling we could give more and sure enough, after an abortive attempt at a one two with Flanagan, Maxi picked up the ball from about twenty yards out and went for glory. Schwarzer didn’t even sniff it and it was a fitting way to earn his second match ball in three games. I bet they’ll make a fine pair of book ends!
The final goal was, fittingly, scored by Suarez latching onto Jonjo Shelvey’s threaded threw ball, easily rounding the hapless Schwarzer to nonchalantly flick it home and notch our second “fiver” in three games. It was another superb performance by the Uruguayan who was instrumental in tormenting Fulham from start to finish. He just wouldn’t go away and if he wasn’t having a go himself he was instrumental in setting others up, chasing back and trying to get us moving forward again. Maxi took the plaudits but surely even he will admit that Suarez enabled them? £50m for Torres, £22m for Suarez – enough said at this moment in time!
Fulham replied via Sidwell’s spectacular punt into the top corner that had Reina flapping at thin air. However, even though it was a great goal, all it received was a polite round of applause. Fulham fans knew the game was up.
Shelvey tried to get in the act as did Spearing. Kuyt and Suarez again. However, I guess it would have fitting if Jamie Carragher had scored the sixth as he was playing in his 666th game putting him second in the all time list of Red’s appearances. He didn’t manage it but surely, by way of celebration, and as a true red, he and his manager couldn’t have asked for anything better from their team tonight?
Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Davies (Zamora 46), Murphy, Gudjohnsen (Johnson 67), Sidwell, Dempsey, Dembele (Kakuta 76) Subs: Stockdale, Johnson, Senderos, Etuhu, Kakuta, Zamora, Greening.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Flanagan, Maxi (Cole 82), Spearing, Lucas, Meireles (Shelvey 48), Suarez, Kuyt. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Poulsen, Shelvey, Robinson.