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Liverpool finish 2012 with an away win

 


Match of the Day - 22nd December 2012... by MRLooka

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing had a day to remember at Anfield as his first Barclays Premier League goal for the club wrapped up a comfortable 4-0 victory over Fulham.

In fairness Fulham, who have won just one of their last nine Premier League matches and only one of their last 10 away from home, were not at their best. Martin Jol’s side left holes all over the pitch and, unlike Aston Villa last week, who were rewarded for all their harrying and hustling with a 3-1 win, Liverpool had plenty of time to take advantage.

As a result we moved up to eighth in the table, our highest position of the season, and five points adrift of the top four. Gerrard’s eighth-minute corner picked out Skrtel, who was left unmarked as John Arne Riise collided with Brede Hangeland, enabling the Slovakia international to bring the ball down and smash a volley past Mark Schwarzer.

Daniel Agger’s miss from just three yards - blazing into the top tier of the Anfield Road stand from Luis Suarez’s cross - may have resurrected fears about the hosts not being clinical enough in front of goal, and, at the other end, goalkeeper Jose Reina almost made a mess of Kieran Richardson’s swerving shot, diving one way and having to save with his legs. But those insecurities were put to bed in the 36th minute with Downing’s first significant intervention.

The England international’s brilliantly-disguised reverse pass from the edge of the penalty area deceived everyone except Gerrard and the Liverpool captain seized on the flat-footedness of Fulham’s defenders to clip a shot across Schwarzer and just inside the far post. Gerrard, who had one of his better days spraying passes all over the field, picked out Downing on the right wing and he cut inside before unleashing a fierce shot.

Schwarzer did well to block Gerrard’s close-range shot as Liverpool continued to press, while Reina did less well with Berbatov’s long-range effort which squirmed from his grasp and required Skrtel to clear. But that was a rare moment of concern on what was a trouble-free evening as Liverpool recorded only their fourth home league win of the season when Suarez side-footed home in added time for his 11th Premier League goal of the season - equalling his tally from the whole of last season.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "Last week was disappointing but this week we have had our first clear week of work and we have worked through from Saturday to Saturday and I think you saw the reaction today. The pressing was outstanding and the quality of the football and the goals were brilliant.

Liverpool FC, anfieldreview.com, bill shankly

Photo Danny Moi

 

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