Monday, 9 May 2011

Fulham 2 Liverpool 5

Liverpool continued their march towards European football next season with a 5-2 mauling of a woeful Fulham at Crave Cottage on Monday.With Fulham having little to play for, the Reds always looked primed to take three points and they did it in fabulous style - with Maxi Rodriguez bagging a second hat-trick of the season.Jamie Carragher led the team out on his 666th appearance, which took him into second in Liverpool's all-time list, and within a minute he was celebrating a goal. Luis Suarez raced down the left, pulled the ball back and after Mark Schwarzer had made a mess of clearing Maxi was on hand to lash home.Maxi doubled the advantage shortly after, volleying home after Glenn Johnson had dinked the ball expertly across the box.
It could be argued Schwarzer could have done better with the second as well, but there was no argument he was at fault for the third. Dirk Kuyt has been in sizzling form, but he was given a helping hand by the Fulham keeper to net for the fifth successive league game as the Australian let Kuyt's hit-and-hope effort slip through his grasp.

Johnson has found some good form in recent weeks and after creating the second, he produced a superb block to deny Fulham a lifeline as he instinctively stuck out a leg to turn a Clint Dempsey volley round the post.

Fulham threw on Bobby Zamora at the interval and were much improved as a result. The big forward played a part in the Cottagers cutting the lead, as he cushioned a pass expertly into the path of Moussa Dembele who stroked the ball beyond Pepe Reina.

Mark Hughes' side had the wind in their sails for 15 minutes, but it was taken out of them by a stunner from Maxi. The Argentine bagged a hat-trick against Birmingham last month and was at it again at Craven Cottage. And no blame could be apportioned to Schwarzer, as the midfielder lashed home an unstoppable shot from 20 yards into the top corner.

Suarez capped a dynamic display with Liverpool's fifth, rounding Schwarzer and stroking home after a fine pass from Jonjo Shelvey, before Steve Sidwell grabbed a consolation with a brilliant strike from 20 yards.

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