Liverpool going into this Monday night match on a tremendous run of form hoping to keep it going at Fulham as they chase a European place. Never an easy place to go to especially this season as they are unbeaten at home in the League this season. Fulham gave Liverpool a very tough match at Anfield earlier in the season as Dalglish recorded his first victory since his return to Anfield with an own goal being the winning goal that night. Fulham also went into the game with a good victory last weekend so confidence with both sides was high.
With Liverpool having no new injury worries and no players on the injured list back to fitness left Dalglish with an unchanged side from last weeks win over Newcastle. So Flanagan extended his run in the side this time at left-back with Johnson switched to the right-back position. The ever improving engine room of Lucas and Spearing also started and the free-scoring Maxi kept his place in the team. Andy Carroll still unfit to start as Suarez and Kuyt provide the firepower.
There are good starts to a match and for Liverpool they couldn’t have dreamt of a better start when they took the lead inside the first minute, Lucas played a great pass down the left freeing Suarez whose deflected cross was kicked clear by Schwarzer only to find Maxi who smashed the ball home continuing his goalscoring streak.
After taking the lead on 32 seconds Liverpool went for the jugular as Fulham were reeling and they doubled their lead on 7 minutes when once again Lucas sent a defence splitting pass through to Johnson who crossed perfectly to the back post for Maxi to volley into the bottom corner of Schwarzer’s net.
Liverpool were rampant now as they dominated proceedings and hemmed Fulham into their own half. Next came a claim for a penalty when Suarez raced behind the Fulham defence only to be impeded by Hangeland as the big defender was caught out, but appeals were waved away.
Then on 16 minutes Liverpool made it three when Kuyt shot low from just outside the box, it should have been a comfortable save for Schwarzer but he uncharacteristically let the ball squirm through him and into the net.
Spearing and Lucas were dominant in midfield and Suarez was virtually unplayable tying the Fulham defenders in knots at times and he almost made it four when he turned Hangeland down the left before firing wildly from close range.
The next chance was created by a good throw from Reina sending Suarez on his way before teeing up Maxi who volleyed into the stands as he looked for his second hat-trick in three matches.
Fulham were unlucky not to pull a goal back as they witnessed Johnson making a great clearance off the goaline from Dempsey.
So Liverpool went in at half-time three goals up and hoped to keep their good form going in the second half.
But early in the second half Liverpool were dealt another injury blow when Meireles had to be replaced by Shelvey. Fulham came out more like the team that has remained unbeaten at home this season as they pressed Liverpool into their own half.
Dempsey had a shot from 20 yards but it flew over Reina’s bar. But in the 57th minute Fulham got a goal back when substitute Zamora set-up Demele who curled a shot beyond Reina from just inside the box, it was only what Fulham deserved.
Zamora then had a header cleared off the line as Fulham felt the game was far from over after getting a goal back.
But the fightback was short lived when in the 70th minute Maxi got his hat-trick with a great strike into the top corner from 25 yards. It took the wind out of Fulham and Liverpool made it five in the 75th minute when Shelvey split the defence with a perfect pass to Suarez and he danced round Schwarzer before passing the ball into the net. It was just reward for his outstanding performance.
With the game now finished as a contest Fulham snatched a late consolation when Sidwell hit a 25 yard strike into Reina’s top right hand corner giving the Spaniard no chance. But it could not take the gloss off a magnificent performance from Liverpool.
I thought we would only come away with a draw from Fulham as their home form has been superb and I certainly was not expecting us to grab such a convincing win as this. I heard you could have got odds of 250-1 on predicting this scoreline. But obviously the early couple of goals were paramount in the performance and really set the team up for another great performance. The pressure and work rate we put Fulham under in the first half was impressive as Dalglish continues to have us pressing higher up the park and puting teams under pressure. Spearing and Lucas were dominant in midfield and some of their passing was a joy to watch, Lucas set up the first two Liverpool goals with passes from midfield. Like most people I can’t believe the form of Maxi who has now scored 7 goals in his last 3 matches. Suarez was a constant threat as the Fulham defence struggled to deal with his movement and he deserved his goal. It really was one of the best performances of the season if not the best and I’m just disappointed that we are at the end of the season.
Man Of The Match – Luis Suarez – I thought he was outstanding, his movement his constant threat and the Fulham defence couldn’t live with him. Great finish too.
written by Jamie McLaughlin blog http://theliverword.blogspot.com/