Match Report from Max Munton
A Maxi Rodriguez hat-trick and goals from Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez saw Liverpool impressively sweep aside Fulham at Craven Cottage to keep up the chase for Europe.
It was Liverpool’s third consecutive Premier League victory, with thirteen goals in the last three games as the Reds move back up to fifth in the league table – with Man City vs Tottenham on Tuesday night.
Jamie Carragher made his 666th appearance for the club as captain, putting him second in the all-time appearances list for Liverpool, behind only Ian Callaghan.
With no changes from the side that beat Newcastle at Anfield last week, Liverpool got off to the perfect start with Maxi finishing off a ferocious attacking movement after just 30 seconds.
Liverpool continued to fly and were 3-0 up after 16 minutes thanks to a second from Maxi and Kuyt’s shot which embarrassingly slipped through Mark Schwarzer’s hands.
With the Reds in cruise control, Fulham came out for the second half with renewed hope and aggression, finally getting into the game with a period of pressure which was rewarded when Moussa Dembelle finished past Pepe Reina to pull one back for the hosts.
Liverpool were only on the backfoot for a bit though, with Maxi making sure the three points were safe with a cracking goal from long-range with 20 minutes to go.
The second half saw the introduction of Jonjo Shelvey, who took a while to find his feet in the game with a number of wayward balls, but did supply a killer through-ball for Suarez to run onto, round Schwarzer and finish at ease for Liverpool’s fifth.
Steve Sidwell scored a late second for Fulham with a good goal from the edge of the area past Reina, but it doesn’t dampen Liverpool’s celebrations and a delighted Kenny Dalglish met his players at the full-time whistle.
Liverpool leapfrog Spurs into fifth, with the two sides meeting at Anfield on Sunday. Should Tottenham lose at Manchester City on Tuesday night, victory against Harry Redknapp’s men will secure fifth and a Europa League place.
And for the optimists, Liverpool are now just four points behind fourth place Man City, with two games to play. A true achievement, from the relegation battle the club faced when Dalglish came in in January.