Fulham have a fairly dismal record against Liverpool in recent seasons, and while few expected them to crash and burn so spectacularly on Saturday at Anfield, three points for the hosts wasn't the most shocking of outcomes. As part of a broader trend, however, sides similar to Fulham have given Liverpool fits in seasons past, often causing an anxious, frustrated "favored" side to drop points in the most irritating manner possible. Liverpool were always supposed to be better, but performances and results were never good enough on a consistent basis.
That's changed somewhat since Brendan Rodgers has arrived, with Liverpool steadily improving their dominance over the squads they "should" be beating. Saturday was no different, and for Rodgers it's part of a trend he feels is an indication of a Liverpool side with fewer vulnerabilities than their previous iterations:
"When I first came in here, there was vulnerability in games like this - there seemed to be nervousness around the group for some reason. But over time, our mentality and focus in the games is good, and we're becoming relentless in these types of games. That's what Liverpool is about; the energy and that commitment to winning games are there. You've got to give massive credit to the players because they've got to put in the work and they're doing it.
"We played very well. Our appetite in the game was outstanding - there was a real hunger to get the ball. We had over 30 shots on goal so it was a really dominant performance, very pleasing. Against Palace we were in a similar sort of position and we were too slow in the second half, and the game just petered out."
It's hard to argue with the manager's assessment; there was little let-off on Saturday, even with the result done and dusted after the first 45 minutes, and in comparison to the win over Crystal Palace, there was far more urgency even with the points settled. Having better players available probably didn't hurt, but the overall display, albeit against a side who at times looked almost inconvenienced to be taking part, was far sharper.
With a difficult December on the horizon, Rodgers and Liverpool will have to take all they can get, and there's a chance to stockpile points over the weeks leading up to the end of the calendar year. That requires that they replicate the type of focus and hunger Rodgers references here, however, and not just against the sides that they "should" be beating.