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Liverpool 4-0 Fulham: Cottagers collapse

last updated Saturday 09th December 2006, 8:57 PM
Jan Lastuvka in the wars at Anfield
Jan Lastuvka in the wars at Anfield

Liverpool's Scouse heart of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher scored two of the four goals which finally accounted for a resilient Fulham 4-0 at Anfield.

Brian McBride rises above Jamie Carragher at Anfield.After dominating a goalless first half Gerrard followed in his saved 53rd-minute penalty for the first after Ian Pearce's handball.

Carragher, whose last goal came on January 16 1999, then dived in at the far post to stab in a second and Luis Garcia headed in Agger's cross before substitute Mark Gonzalez curled in an injury time free-kick to cap the victory.

Gerrard, who along with Jose Reina, Steve Finnan, Luis Garcia and Dirk Kuyt was brought back after the Champions League defeat by Galatasaray, was instrumental throughout.

However, even he needed a stroke of luck when Jan Lastuvka saved his penalty, but he made no mistake with his follow-up effort.

Up until that point it appeared Fulham, playing five in midfield, would frustrate their opponents on a ground they have never won at in 95 years of competition.

In Liverpool's first real attack Kuyt combined with Bellamy and when the Wales striker's shot was half-blocked Luis Garcia stabbed an effort past Lastuvka, only for Liam Rosenior to clear off the line.

Even with less than six minutes gone Lastuvka seemed intent on wasting as much time as possible, but when his long clearance released Volz down the right, he crossed for McBride to hit a first-time shot, which Reina did well to tip around his left-hand post.

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From the corner Liverpool launched a quick counter-attack down the right through Jermaine Pennant, but John Arne Riise's 25-yard drive went wide.

In the 15th minute Pennant outpaced Rosenior, but Kuyt's ambitious long-range shot from the winger's pass spun horribly off his right foot for a goal-kick.

Pennant, having one of his better games, broke from inside his own half and after a 40-yard run slipped the ball to Bellamy, who laid it off to Luis Garcia, only for the Spaniard's shot to be blocked by Zat Knight.

When Fulham did gain possession in their opponent's half, they were not sure what to do with it and Papa Bouba Diop blazed a 30-yard shot well over.

Match Stats Liverpool Fulham
Goals 4 0
Possession 59% 41%
Goal attempts 33 5
On Target 19 3
Corners 14 1
Off-sides 5 2
Fouls 7 8
Yellows 1 1
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

At the other end, Pennant just failed to get a telling deflection on Xabi Alonso's low free-kick, while Bellamy's clever dummy set up Pennant to cross, but from 10 yards Kuyt could not get enough contact on the ball to divert it goalwards.

Lastuvka was then forced to save low to his left from Alonso's 30-yard curler as Liverpool continued to pressurise the Fulham defence.

A minute before half-time Luis Garcia's looping header from Kuyt's left-wing cross dropped onto the top of Lastuvka's net.

Diop, who had returned in the second half with heavy strapping on his right thigh, lasted just four minutes before he was replaced by Philippe Christanval.

In the 50th minute Pennant's cross from the right side of the penalty area saw Bellamy miss with his head and the ball bounce through Kuyt's legs - with both players no more than seven yards out.

But the long-awaited breakthrough finally came three minutes later. Bellamy's cut-back to Kuyt saw the Holland international's shot blocked by Pearce's arms and referee Uriah Rennie had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Gerrard's effort was well saved low to Lastuvka's left, but the Liverpool captain followed up to drive home.

Agger had a great chance to make it 2-0 a minute later, but he missed a free header from Gerrard's corner, while Bellamy also fired over at the far post from his captain's next flag-kick.

Bellamy's quick break from the halfway line earned Liverpool another corner in the 59th minute and when the ball came back out to Gerrard, Lastuvka could only fumble it around a post.

It was to prove costly as Agger flicked on Gerrard's resulting cross and Carragher dived in feet first at the far post for Liverpool's second.

The result was assured when Agger crossed from wide on the left in the 67th minute and Luis Garcia jumped unmarked to head in the third.

Late on Gerrard was denied by the Fulham goalkeeper again when he fired straight at Lastuvka from Pennant's cross, while substitute Robbie Fowler's volley was deflected wide by Rosenior.

Substitute Gonzalez curled in a 25-yard injury time free-kick to cap the victory.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Alonso, Gerrard, Luis Garcia (Fowler 80), Bellamy (Crouch 77), Kuyt (Gonzalez 72).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Hyypia.

Booked: Pennant.

Goals: Gerrard 54, Carragher 61, Luis Garcia 66, Gonzalez 90.

Fulham: Lastuvka, Volz, Knight, Pearce (Helguson 90), Rosenior, Radzinski, Brown, Diop (Christanval 49), Claus Jensen, Boa Morte, McBride (John 72).
Subs Not Used: Batista, Routledge.

Booked: Pearce (53,handball)

Att: 43,189

Ref: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source Soccernet
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