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Liverpool 4-0 Fulham Prem 11 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 11th November 2013, 1:39 PM
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Joe Bernstein at Daily Mail

Liverpool (3) 4 Fulham (0) 0

Captain marvel Steven Gerrard has consistently written off Liverpool's title chances but if he carries on performing like this, he may prove himself wrong.

Gerrard was instrumental in the four goals Liverpool scored before he was substituted to a standing ovation, the game already won to leave Liverpool only a couple of points behind leaders Arsenal.

The 33-year-old, ranked alongside Kenny Dalglish as the club's greatest-ever player, has never won the Premier League - although if Liverpool played Fulham every week, he surely would.

The visitors were a poor excuse for a top-flight team and with the Premier League now taking a fortnight's break, their manager Martin Jol could pay the price with his job. Jol said: 'Like every manager in the bottom six, I have to keep fighting. We made it too difficult for ourselves. Conceding two goals from set pieces isn't acceptable.'

Midfielder Scott Parker was run ragged by Gerrard. It was hard to believe Parker is four months younger than the Liverpool skipper and that Stuart Pearce gave him the England captaincy last year.

Enjoying the mismatch was Liverpool fan and Hollywood comedy actor Mike Myers who looked on approvingly despite the predictability of the script.

'We had 30 shots on goal which is pleasing,' said Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers. 'Steven's delivery is as good as it gets. I told the other player they weren't utilising his quality. I asked them to be much more aggressive getting to the ball because every week Steven puts the ball exactly where we ask for it.'

Jol, in charge since 2011, must have feared the worst following Fulham's shambolic displays against Southampton and Manchester United. On Saturday, his players did little to persuade new owner Shahid Khan to stick with the manager.

After 23 minutes relying on goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to keep them level, Fulham conceded twice in four minutes - both from Gerrard set pieces.

Parker, manfully trying to make up for the deficiencies of team-mates, put Daniel Sturridge on his backside. Gerrard's whipped free-kick just evaded Luis Suarez in the penalty area but it did not matter as Fulham centre half Fernando Amorebieta got a touch to beat his own goalkeeper.

Liverpool added a second quickly, after Parker had been booked for raking a stud down the back of Gerrard's leg. Again, Gerrard's right foot did the damage, this time from a corner as he directed the ball with power and precision for Martin Skrtel to head in.

By this stage Fulham were camped inside their own half in a 9-0-1 formation - Dimitar Berbatov 50 yards apart from his colleagues.Thankfully, Stekelenburg was in inspired form to prevent a rugby score mounting up. His tip-over from Philippe Coutinho was world-class and he saved from Suarez.

It did not matter. After 36 minutes, it was 3-0; Gerrard passing to Jordan Henderson down the right. The ball was moved on to Suarez and the Uruguayan hit a crisp, low finish past the Dutch goalkeeper.

Jol admitted to despondency at half time. 'You would like to stay in the dressing-room but you can't, you have to go back out there,' he said.

Liverpool could have taken their foot off the pedal but did not. Instead, Sturridge forced Stekelenburg into another wonder-save with the first attack and Suarez blazed over the rebound.

Fulham's afternoon plumbed new depths after 54 minutes when Kieran Richardson dawdled on the ball and lost it to Gerrard.

He simply toe-poked a pass through to Suarez who ran on unchallenged to score his second.

That was the signal for Rodgers to relax. Gerrard, who has minor discomfort in his hip, went off for a well-deserved rest after 65 minutes.

Fulham's captain Berbatov followed, though his rest was less deserved.

'It wasn't his best day, he was isolated,' said Jol.

Fulham are perilously close to the drop zone and the smart money is on NFL owner Khan turning elsewhere to try and get out of trouble. Jol wants to lead his team out in two weeks against Swansea. 'This result wasn't the end of the world. Other games against teams around you in the table are more winnable,' he said.

Fulham players looked shellshocked at the final whistle, assistant manager Billy McKinlay having to cajole them to go over and applaud the 1,200 visiting fans.

For Liverpool, life looks good.

Liverpool (4-3-1-2): Mignolet 7: Johnson 8, Skrtel 7, Agger 7, Cissokho 6 (Enrique 60mins 6): Henderson 8, Gerrard 9 (Allen 66mins 6), Lucas 7: Coutinho 7: Sturridge 6 (Moses 76mins), Suarez 9.
Unused: Jones (GK), Luis Alberto, Sakho, Sterling

Goals: Amorbieta (OG 23), Skrtel (26), Suarez (36, 54)

Fulham (4-4-2): Stekelenburg 7: Zverotic 5, Senderos 5, Amorebieta 4, Richardson 5: Dejagah 5, Sidwell 5, Parker 5, Kacaniklic 4 (Ruiz 46mins 4): Berbatov 4 (Karagounis 83mins), Kasami 5.
Unused: Stockdale (GK), Hughes, Taarabt, Boateng, Bent

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 44,768

Man-of-the-Match: Steven Gerrard

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