Liverpool 4-0 Fulham
1-0 Skrtel (8), 2-0 Gerrard (36), 3-0 Downing (51), 4-0 Suarez (90)
As deserved win against a indifferent and ultimately poor Fulham side.
The opposition was probably as off colour as Aston Villa were over par last week suggesting that we were fortunate to catch them on an off day. After the game Fulham manager Martin Jol said
“Of course you will say that Liverpool were great today, but they weren’t”
Well Martin we were better than you four times which suggests that the more we attack your defence the greater we get. Perhaps, with only one league in their last eleven games, Jol should concentrate on keeping his own back yard clean rather attempting to foul others? For us you can only beat what is front of you and full credit, it was the right response to last weeks defeat.
This was a sharper, pacier more intent Liverpool. We were helped by an early goal and when Gerrard struck our second there was a confidence about the way we played that suggested that even if Fulham did buck up their ideas they weren’t, despite Jol’s rhetoric, going to get near us. More importantly this was a home win, our forth of the season, which should hopefully increase confidence going forward?
BR made a few changes giving Sterling and Allen a rest and bringing in Suso. Enrique also returned. It took only eight minutes for us to make our mark Gerrard’s corner avoided Agger leaving Hughes and Hangeland in heap on the floor. The resulting space allowed Skrtel to thrash a half volley home. It was a sweet moment for the Slovak as it was his own goal that made the difference in last season’s corresponding tie.
Two could have followed quickly as Gerrard’s fluffed volley eventually found Suarez. His low ball across the six yard area avoided everyone until it reached Agger who, from around six feet, somehow managed to sky it over the top into the top tier of the Anny Road End, thankfully the Christmas Bloopers CDs have already been issued this season! However any thoughts about a Fulham comeback or jittery hanging on were soon dispelled .Johnson fee Downing his reverse through the eye of needle ball caught out the Fulham defence, Gerrard collected on the edge of the area to knock it across Schwarzer into the far corner.
In the second half Gerrard returned the complement to Downing feeding him on the right, who cut inside against a retreating Fulham back line and to fire firmly home with his left foot to get his first Premiership goal for us. He nearly made it two with a viscous swerver that flew past the angle of post and upright. Add to this his assist for the first goal and it was a timely response from Downing given recently speculation about his future. Only a week ago reports were saying that Downing had announced he’d been told he could leave, now BR appears to be suggesting that he still has future with us? Needless to say BR was keen to point out that he’d talked to Downing presumably liking us to think that his pep talk has done the trick. May be but what about the games before this? I suspect Downing is trying to please prospective new employees which begs the question why couldn’t he have done that when he first joined us?
There can however be know questioning the attitude of Luis Suarez who, as ever, persevered. A typical “let’s take on everyone” run was eventually ended by Schwarzer who then did well to save his free kick. However in added time he finally got his reward knocking in Enrique’s cut back from the by line.
Yet Suarez, or for that matter Downing, will need to be a tad more consistent to match the status of Steven Gerrard at Anfield. The captain seemed to relish the freedom he was given due to Lucas’ return and he was instrumental in so many of our important moves. Great to see that, after tempering his natural role for the benefit of the team, he is now able to do and it seems to be paying dividends for him and the team. A revitalised, more potent Gerrard could be just the Christmas present we want and a merry one to you too!
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson Booked, Jose Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Downing, Lucas (Carragher – 83′ ), Shelvey (Allen – 74′ ), Suarez, Suso (Sterling – 71′ ), Substitutes: Jones, Carragher, Wisdom, Sahin, Henderson, Allen, Sterling
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Baird, Richardson (Frei – 54′ ), Hughes, Riether, Karagounis Booked, Kacaniklic (Rodallega – 46′ ), Berbatov, Dejagah Booked Substitutes: Stockdale, Senderos, Briggs, Kasami, Frei, Tavares, Rodallega