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Liverpool 4, Fulham 0: First Thoughts

A dominating first half saw off Fulham as Liverpool put in a complete performance and beat the Cottagers in every phase of the game.

There was much Suarez trickeration today, and it was glorious.
There was much Suarez trickeration today, and it was glorious.
Alex Livesey

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Liverpool 4 Amorebieta (og) 23', Skrtel 26', Suarez 36', Suarez 54'
Fulham 0

  • We saw the much-anticipated return to a four-man back line today, specifically showing up as a 4-2-2-2, with Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho on the wings and a midfield of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva. Daniel Agger made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup along with Glen Johnson, who came back from his mystery infection last weekend. As one might have anticipated, the shift seemed to take the squad some time to adjust to, and there were some rather shaky moments in the early goings of the match, especially against the corner.

  • That shaky start, however, was put aside after Brave Air Captain Scotty Parker felled Daniel Sturridge outside the box. Gerrard teed up probably his best free kick of the season that Luis Suarez was able to head in off the arm of Fernando Amorebieta for an own-goal. Just three minutes later, a corner was awarded for Gerrard to send in, and Martin Skrtel powered it home with a header toward the near post. Those two goals turned the match on it's head, and opened a period of tremendous Liverpool pressure, seeing them put in a number of dangerous shots and earn several more set pieces that challenged Fulham's defense. 

  • The corner that Skrtel scored on was very smartly played by Liverpool. Skrtel quickly recognized that he had a size and strength mismatch with his marker in Amorebieta, so when Sturridge stepped up from the near post and took his man with him, the Slovakian charged in to the newly opened space. When Gerrard's corner floated in to that area, there was absolutely nothing that Martin Stekelenburg could do to stop Skrtel from scoring. That was probably the best-executed corner drill we've seen from Liverpool in years.

  • Just before the 36 minute mark, Henderson put in a perfectly weighted ball over the top to Suarez in space, who quickly hammered it home past a flailing Stekelnburg. Suffice it to say that the first half did nothing to cool Martin Jol's hot seat. Also, poor Amorebieta was the defender on call once again. Hard not to feel bad for him, really.

  • The second half started off much as the first ended, with Liverpool applying tremendous pressure on Fulham's goal. Several good chances were left wanting, however, until high pressure from Jordan Henderson forced another error from Fulham's back line. The ball wound up at Gerrard's feet, who fed a rushing Suarez for another Liverpool goal. If not for the touch off Amorebieta's arm for Liverpool's opener, that would have been his hat trick.

  • Maybe the best result of being 4-0 up against an opponent that looked completely unlikely to threaten was that Brendan Rodgers was able to comfortably bring off Steven Gerrard in favor of Joe Allen in the 65th minute. This will help keep the captain fresh for the vital Merseyside Derby that's quickly coming up, and gives Allen a chance to gain some form and fitness as he works his way back from injury. Plus, it was nice to see Daniel Agger wearing the armband again.

  • It was a shame that Sturridge couldn't manage to get a goal before he came off in favor of Victor Moses. He was bright and active and dangerous all match long. He won the free kick that lead to Liverpool's opener, won the foul that got Scott Parker booked, which lead to him being quiet the rest of the match. He was also a general nuisance to Fulham's back line, keeping them from focusing their efforts on Suarez, which allowed the Uruguayan the room he needed to work his black magic. Sturrdge certainly earned himself a goal, but one won't be added to his tally today.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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