ANDREW VORCE - Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Clint Dempsey and Fulham had no response to the fervor of Liverpool on Monday night as they fell 5-2 in an ugly night at Craven Cottage for the London club.
Liverpool found themselves 2-0 up inside the opening seven minutes through a pair of Maxi Rodriguez goals. After just 40 seconds Liverpool were on the front foot after a list of Fulham mistakes, with the defense all over the place before Rodriguez tucked in the final effort from 12 yards out.
His second came in the seventh minute as Mark Schwarzer misjudged Rodriguez back post effort. A long ball across shifted the defense and the midfielder had sent his shot back across goal and into the back post. The goalkeeper tried to hug his post but was beaten by the back post shot.
Schwarzer had his head in his hands again in the 16th minute as Dirk Kuyt's shot scuffed in. The Dutch striker found himself in space inside the 18 as he quickly turned to find his shot. Schwarzer went to his knees to make his save but completely screwed up as it bounced off his thigh and into his own net.
Fulham pulled one back in the 57th minute after a succession of passes sent Moussa Dembele free inside the area. Chris Baird slipped the ball into Bobby Zamora who kept his defenders at bay before laying the ball off for Dembele to take a touch before sidefooting it home.
Rodriguez hit his third in the 70t h minute as Fulham failed to clear their lines. The midfielder was allowed time and space to find the right angle before unleashing a rocket from 25 yards out to fly past Schwarzer for Liverpool's fourth.
It was five just five minutes later as second half substitute Jonjo Shelvey slipped Luis Suarez into the space down the right flank. Suarez still had it all to do but the forward shimmied past Schwarzer with ease to tuck away into an empty net.
Fulham scored an absolute cracker in the 86th minute but it was a mere consolation goal with the game already well won by Liverpool. Martin Skrtel's cross was only cleared as far as Steve Sidwell who smacked his half volley from 25 yards out to score his goal.
Chris Baird, Dempsey, Danny Murphy, and Sidwell were all booked for Fulham while Liverpool's Pepe Reina and Skrtel were both booked for Liverpool. Up next for Fulham is a trip to Birmingham.