Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Favourite Wins Against - Fulham away

Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins the Liverpool’s next opponents.  Midweek fixtures this week sees Liverpool travel to Craven Cottage to meet Fulham and here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.

There have not really been enough meetings in the League to make up a Famous Five, so this just covers three of my favourite wins.

16th October 2004
FULHAM   (2)   2   (Boa Morte 24, 30)
LIVERPOOL   (0)   4   (Knight og 50, Baros 71, Alonso 79, Biscan 90)

FULHAM: van der Sar; Volz, Bocanegra, Green, Knight; Pembridge, Diop, Malbranque; Radzinski (John), McBride, Boa Morte

LIVERPOOL: Kirkland; Josemi, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore; Garcia (Warnock), Hamann, Diao (Alonso), Riise; Baros (Biscan) Cisse

Two months into Rafa Benitez new regime at Liverpool and they were still waiting for their first away win.  In fact, they’d lost their last three on the road and so were desperate to get things up and running.  Fulham were down in 12th having won just twice all season, but were on a run 1 win in their last 6.

Midway through the first half and Pembridge’s pass into the area found McBride in some space and his ball across the goal was turned in by Luis Boa Morte.  Barely six minutes later and Fulham were again on the attack as Boa Morte was played in and his low shot beat Kirkland at his near post.  Fulham were rampant and went in at the break still 2 goals up.

But as we were soon to discover, Benitez had the knack of changing things at half-time and Liverpool came out a different side in the second half.  Baros shot from 30 yards out was deflected sharply by Zat Knight and it looped over van der Sar for a goal back.  With 20 minutes to go Xabi Alonso on the left-wing floated a ball right-footed into the area where Luis Garcia’s header was saved by the Fulham keeper.  The ball bounced back out and Milan Baros was first to it to bundle it over the line for the equaliser.  Eight minutes later and Liverpool had a free-kick just outside the area.  Xabi Alonso took it and the Spaniard gave Liverpool fans a glimpse of what they would become used to as he floated a superb free-kick over the wall and past van der Sar.

The comeback was complete as the visitors were now in front and as the game reached the end, and the home side pushing men up, Liverpool came forward to finish things off.  Warnock played a square ball to Biscan on the edge of the area and his first time shot fired into the top corner to complete a fine win from a losing position.

Liverpool finished 5th in the League and won their 5th European Cup with a famous victory over Milan in Istanbul.  Fulham finished 13th.

9th May 2011
FULHAM   (0)   2   (Dembele 57, Sidwell 86)
LIVERPOOL   (3)   5   (Maxi 1, 7, 70, Kuyt 16, Suarez 75)

FULHAM: Schwarzer; Salcido, Hughes, Baird, Hangeland; Sidwell, Murphy, Dempsey, Davies (Zamora); Gudjohnsen (Johnson), Dembele (Kakuta)
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Flanagan; Spearing, Meireles (Shelvey), Lucas, Maxi (Cole); Kuyt, Suarez

Five months into Kenny Dalglish’s 2nd reign as manager and Liverpool were in good form.  Wins over Manchester City (3-0), Birmingham (5-0) and Newcastle (3-0) had seen them rise from 12th at Christmas to 6th coming into this match.  Fulham were 10th, although 10pts behind their opponents on this night. 

Just over 25,000 watched Liverpool, on a warm early summer Monday night, make a stunning start.  Fulham kicked off and played a long ball forward which Flanagan cut out and eventually the ball fell to Lucas midway through inside his own half.  With Suarez on the left wing, Lucas threads a perfectly weighted ball beyond the Fulham defence and Suarez was away.  He gets all the way to the edge of the 6-yard box and plays the ball across the area where Fulham make a real hash of defending it. The ball runs free to Maxi Rodriguez who fires a low shot into the net.  Barely 30 seconds into the game and it was a dream start. 

Fulham had hardly a chance to find their feet when Johnson was put away down the right and his cross to the far post was fired in by Maxi for his 2nd goal.  Seven minutes into the game and Liverpool lead 2-0.  Ten minutes later and Maxi was again involved in a sweeping move from left to right, where Meireles found Kuyt.  His progress was halted but Johnson was first to the ball and he played Kuyt back in and from a tight-angle Kuyt beats Schwarzer on the near post.  Sixteen minutes gone and now they were 3 goals up and the game was gone.  The home side, then managed by Mark Hughes, were stunned and never recovered.

During the second half, which predictably lacked the intensity of the first, Fulham got a goal back after a slick passing move saw Dembele slide the ball in from the edge of the area, but the celebrations were muted.  With 20 minutes to go, the visitors restored their 3-goal advantage as Flanagan intercepted a crossfield pass and set off.  He tried to play a one-two with Maxi, but when the Argentinian’s return pass was blocked, Maxi took the ball on himself and from 25 yards hit a screamer into the top right corner of the net to complete his hat-trick.  He’d scored a hat-trick in the Birmingham game and grabbed a goal in the win against Newcastle, and to everyone’s amazement the Argentine had finally come alive.  But Liverpool weren’t finished as they stole the ball in midfield and Shelvey surged forward.  He played a lovely through-ball for Suarez to round the keeper and slip the ball home for Liverpool’s 5th.

Sidwell hit a real screamer from outside the area to get another consolation goal but Liverpool were comfortable winners.  They finished the season in 6th with Fulham just two places below them.

12th May 2013
FULHAM   (1)   1   (Berbatov 33)
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Sturridge 36, 62, 85)

FULHAM: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Richardson (Emanuelson); Duff, Karagounis (Riise), Enoh, Kacaniklic (Petric); Ruiz, Berbatov
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Wisdom (Enrique), Coates, Carragher; Johnson, Henderson, Lucas; Shelvey (Borini), Downing; Coutinho (Coady), Sturridge

The penultimate game of the season for both these sides and Liverpool were sitting in 7th with Fulham down in 12th.  Since beating QPR at the beginning of April, Fulham had suffered an alarming drop in form with no win in their last 6 and picking up just 1pt.  Liverpool were unbeaten in their last 6 and this was their 3rd game without Luis Suarez, but they had coped well since his ban with a 6-0 win at Newcastle.

Fulham took the lead when Berbatov headed in a right-wing cross from Riether after 33 minutes.  It was a poor goal to concede as Berbatov was unchallenged despite standing between Wisdom and Coates.  But Liverpool were soon back level when Daniel Sturridge ran onto a ball from the back by Wisdom.  He twisted and turned, giving Aaron Hughes a torrid time, and then fired right-footed past Schwarzer.  The two sides were still level going into the break.

In the second half it was Liverpool who looked the more likely to score next but it took until the 62nd minute for them to take the lead.  Another long ball forward which Fulham again struggled to defend and Coutinho’s shot was half-stopped and the ball ran to Sturridge where the striker made no mistake as he slipped the ball past Schwarzer for his 2nd.

Then with just 5 minutes to go Liverpool completed the victory when they counter-attacked again with a precision and incisiveness we’ve come accustomed to this season.  Coutinho was inevitably involved as he continued to pull the strings in midfield.  From the centre circle he played a beautiful ball with the outside of his right foot for Sturridge to run onto, and he got there before Schwarzer and clipped the ball over the keeper for a wonderful hat-trick.  It was Sturridge’s 5th goal in the 3 matches since Suarez was banned and Liverpool were finishing the season on a high enabling them to go into the following one with great optimism.

HEAD TO HEAD at Craven Cottage/Loftus Road

Matches: 28
Liverpool win: 13
Fulham win: 9
Draws: 6

Liverpool goals: 43
Fulham goals: 36

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