Liverpool bounced back in style from last week’s deflating loss to Arsenal by trouncing Fulham 4-0 at Anfield and piling more pressure on their beleaguered boss Martin Jol. On a run of three-straight defeats, Fulham’s afternoon got off to a woeful start when Fernando Amorebieta headed the ball into his own net midway through the first half. Martin Skrtel soon headed in a second before Luis Suarez made it 3-0 and effectively game over by half time. Suarez then added a fourth after the break to make the score line even more emphatic.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had been keen to accentuate the positives of his club’s start to the season despite defeat in the top of the table clash, stating that they remained on course for a coveted top-four berth. And his side’s performance on Saturday will have only heartened those expectations.
It is a very different story for his opposite number. Once again Jol’s side were listless in defeat and all too acquiescing to their opponents. Already facing the ire of a section of Fulham’s fans, Jol will be all too aware that the manner of performances his side are putting in cannot continue if he is to remain in his job.
It was a dominant first-half display by the home side, who had nearly three-quarters of possession and led the shot count by 17 to two at the break. There was little surprise then when the opening goal arrived 23 minutes in. Steven Gerrard produced a typically teasing delivery from a free-kick and Amorebieta was caught facing his own goal, with opposition players around him, and could only deal with the danger by heading into his own net for a first goal in English football that he’ll be all too eager to forget.
For Fulham’s defense the concession of another goal from a set piece was right around the corner. This time Gerrard’s cross came from a corner and Skrtel was allowed to get in front of his marker with a simple run to the near post and stoop to head past Maarten Stekelenburg.
If the first two goals had been largely enabled by Fulham’s slack defending, the third had a real touch of class about it from Liverpool’s point of view. Gerrard was again involved, swinging the ball across to the right side for Jordan Henderson. From there the man recalled to the England squad in the week took advantage of the space afforded him and produced a piercing pass through the Fulham defense for Suarez, who made the most of Henderson’s invitation with a first-time low finish.
Liverpool had chances to further their lead early in the second half, but a fourth goal would soon arrive in the 54th minute. Some more abject play from the visitors, this time by Kieran Richardson as he lost possession in a key area, enabled Gerrard to send a pass through for Suarez to finish with authority at the near post and put the seal on a comfortable afternoon.