A Liverpool versus Fulham match hasn’t been known for producing many goals over the last three seasons. Heading into Monday night’s encounter at Craven Cottage, the two teams had only shared eleven goals between them in their previous eight premier league meetings. This averages only 1.375 goals per game.
However, this all changed last night as a total seven goals were scored with King Kenny’s men hitting five past the Cottagers who pulled two back.
The Reds, mounting a late charge into the Europa Cup and probably Champions league qualification, faced a Fulham side which had not lost at home in their last eight games. But the Reds (who have now not lost to Fulham at Anfield in the last 30 games) have been in a menacing form since KK took over in January. A rapid start saw the Merseyside club take the lead only after 31 seconds when Maxi Rodriguez pounced on a comedy of errors from the Fulham defence to score the fastest goal in the Premier League this season.
Things got even worse for Mark Hughes’ side when the diminutive Argentine hit a left-foot volley at near post from Glen Johnson’s cross to double the Reds’ lead after six minutes only. The Reds were clearly on song and killed the game inside 16 minutes when on-form Dutch workhorse Dirk Kuyt hit a speculative and weak effort inside the penalty area but which was fumbled by Fulham custodian Mark Schwarzer to make it 3-0. The Dutchman has now scored nine goals in his last eight Premier League games.
The teams headed into half time with the scoreboard reading 3-0 in favour of the 18-time Premier league champions.
Mark Hughes was obviously not impressed by the proceedings at Craven Cottage and this saw him bring on Bobby Zamora for Simon Davies after the break. This substitution paid off just twelve minutes into the second half as Zamora shielded the ball from Skrtel, turned and crossed for Moussa Dembele who hit a low shot past Pepe Reina and into the bottom left corner. Reina was vexed at conceding the goal
But any hopes of a Fulham comeback were dashed when Maxi Rodriguez scored for the Redmen in the 70th minute. The Argentine pummeled in a stunning 25-yard pildriver into the top corner to complete his second hattrick of the season and score his sixth goal in the last three games.
Liverpool couldn’t just get enough and January signing Luis Suarez was rewarded for his effort when he collected a beautiful through ball from Jonjo Shelvely before he rounded Schwarzer to score a beauty for the Reds with fifteen minutes remaining.
Steve Sidwell struck a second consolation for the Cottagers four minutes before the end but there was never any doubt as to which set of players and fans left Craven Cottage the happier.
The result stagnated Fulham to tenth position while Liverpool moved back to fifth position above Tottenham who have a game in hand against Manchester City on Tuesday night.
5 - Liverpool have scored 5+ goals in a top-flight game in London for the first time since Aug 1994 v C Palace (6-1). Capital.