Rodgers defends Suarez ‘handball’

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Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of Luis Suarez after the striker’s controversial goal saw Liverpool edge past Mansfield Town with a 2-1 victory to see them through to the 4th round of the FA Cup.


The goal was number 19 of the season for Suarez, but the ball clearly struck his hand before falling to his feet for the finish. The incident prompted Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford to say it felt like a replay had been “stolen” from her club. Rodgers though has defended the player, saying he was under no obligation to ‘own up’.Luis-Suarez3~2[1]

Suarez was subjected to cries of “cheat” from the home crowd, but Rodgers has defended his player – saying he was under no obligation to ‘own up’.

“It hit Luis’s hand, there is no question about that, but it wasn’t deliberate, that’s the feeling I got when I saw it,” said Rodgers.


“Straight away I asked the fourth official if it was handball and he said ‘it was, but it wasn’t deliberate’.

“I don’t think it is a discussion. It is not his job to say it was handball. Would you ask the same if it was any other footballer if it wasn’t Luis Suarez?

“If it was someone else we probably wouldn’t be discussing it, because the officials clearly felt it wasn’t deliberate, which it wasn’t. When you see the replays you can see it pops up and hits him.

“But that is something the guy has to put up with. I am not sure what people want him to do in that position.”


Mansfield 1 – 2 Liverpool

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A debut goal from Daniel Sturridge helped Liverpool progress through to the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Reds beat Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium through an early goal from Sturridge as well as a controversial goal from Luis Suarez. Matt Green pulled one back for the visitors but it wasn’t enough to stop the Premier League side from going through.

Rodgers had made eight changes from the last game and will have been impressed with Sturridge’s first game for Liverpool. Nobody could deny the striker’s brilliant finish but it was Suarez’s goal that was under fire when it appeared the Uruguayan used his hand to control the ball. Green looked dangerous throughout the game and he deserved to score after a strong second half performance from Mansfield.

The Blue Square Bet Premier side paid a poignant tribute to the Hillsborough disaster by setting aside 96 seats bearing the names of the victims. Although these seats separated the two sets of supporters, this wonderful gesture demonstrates football fans united for justice.

Mansfield are in the fifth tier of English football and saw hardly any of the ball in the first period. There was a copious amount of space for Liverpool in midfield and this was exploited by Jonjo Shelvey when he threaded a ball through the middle to an unmarked Sturridge. The new signing curled a first time shot around goalkeeper Alan Marriott with ease and claimed his first goal in a red shirt after just seven minutes.

Seconds after the restart, Sturridge nearly claimed a second when a back pass only just reached Marriott, who had scrambled out of his goal to clear. On the rare occasion that the Stags were in possession, they were quick to rifle the ball into attack for Green to chase. Jamie Carragher and Sebastian Coates were keeping Green quiet and the home side were given few chances to challenge Brad Jones.

Once the Reds had stolen back the ball in defence, Mansfield found it difficult containing fast-paced attacks. Shelvey located Sturridge with another inch-perfect pass, but Sturridge hesitated in front of goal with just the keeper to beat. The striker over-thought the finish and released a late shot, denied by a great save from Marriott.

Liverpool were enjoying vast amounts of possession but allowed Mansfield to attack them in defence. Suso gave the ball away in his own half and when Green received it 20 yards out he released a powerful effort. The low shot was on target but Jones was able to push the ball away to safety.


The home side were giving away several fouls whilst trying to win back the ball, an indication that they were keen to push Liverpool’s defence, if not slightly frustrated at their lack of opportunities. The first half ended 0-1 to Liverpool but Mansfield will have been encouraged by a stronger performance after Sturridge’s early goal.

Mansfield came into the second half believing they could equalise and immediately pressed Liverpool. Anthony Howell picked up the ball on the left side of Liverpool’s box and released a decent shot from a tight angle. Jones pulled off a great save to turn the ball away but the Stags continued to push.

Green had two shots blocked from close proximity and Jones was nearly left blushing when he fumbled a catch, only for Carragher to clear it to safety. The defender was on hand again to block a close-range shot from Green, and Jones saved well to deny Louis Briscoe’s shot from the right side of the area. The corner resulted in a scramble in the six yard box, but Jones was there again to push the ball away.

Suarez replaced Sturridge after 55 minutes and it only took the Uruguayan three minutes to make his mark, albeit with a touch of controversy. The striker linked up with Stuart Downing, exchanging a lovely one-two inside Mansfield’s area. Suarez knocked it past two defenders but appeared to control the ball with his hand after his first shot came back off the keeper. The touch directed it away from Marriott and Suarez smashed the ball into the open goal to make it 0-2.

The Stags were enraged that the goal was allowed to stand, especially after playing the better football in the second half. Despite facing an uphill struggle, Mansfield continued to press the visitors. With just over ten minutes to go, Colin Daniel crossed the ball into a crowded area. Lee Beevers knocked the ball back to Green who smashed a volley goalwards. Jones got a hand to it but he could not prevent the Stags from making it 1-2.

The home side, bursting with confidence from their goal, were keen to grab an equaliser. Matt Rhead’s directed header flew across the face of the goal and was inches away from denying Liverpool’s progression into the fourth round. A viscous shot from Green was palmed away by Jones during injury time and full time signalled the end of Mansfield Town’s FA Cup run.

The home side came close to forcing a replay but in the end the Premier League side held out long enough to secure a fourth round tie against Oldham Athletic. A young Liverpool side worked hard to prevent any upsets and Liverpool fans will be pleased with a decent first half performance from new boy Sturridge.

Rodgers hopes Carragher will stay on

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Brendan Rodgers is hopeful he can convince Jamie Carragher not to hang up his boots at the end of the season, with the seasoned defender having hinted that he may call time on his Liverpool career.

“Jamie’s contract is up and we’ve had loose discussions in terms of where he’s at,” said Rodgers.

“It is largely down to him and how he’s feeling.”jamie_carragher-368925[1]


Carragher has been a bit-part player under Rodgers – with Daniel Agger being preferred to partner Martin Skrtel in defence – and had already lost his place as a guaranteed starter long before our current manager took over.

“When you’ve played so long at the top level and been a key figure, and then don’t have a period of playing so much, it gives you some thinking time, ‘Do I want to put my body through this every day and not have the games I’m used to?'” added Rodgers.

“You’re in the firing line at the back. There is no hiding place for a centre-half. It is not an easy decision for him but do I want him here? Of course.”

Liverpool sign Sturridge

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Liverpool have confirmed the signing of striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea.

The 23-year-old becomes the Reds’ first signing of the January transfer window after putting pen to paper on a long-term contract today.

Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Sturridge said: “I am humbled and happy to be here,

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“Brendan Rodgers said he sees me here for a long time – and I also see myself here for a long time. I’ve not signed here to play for a couple of years and then move on.

“I’ve signed to be here for as long as possible. It’s a humongous club – for me, one of the biggest in the world – and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing.”

Sturridge played for Manchester City, before moving to Chelsea in 2009. His form at Chelsea led to a call up to the national team when he was 22.

He has collected three more caps since and last summer scored twice for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Liverpool 3 – 0 Sunderland

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By AmericanKopite, 02-01-2013, 22:38:54

Anfield was packed to welcome a confident Sunderland coming off their 1-nil win over Manchester City, but they would face a confident Liverpool backed by their boisterous home support and fresh after their 3-nil thumping of QPR. But Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill wasn’t phased as he’s never lost to Liverpool before. Recent Liverpool signing Daniel Sturridge was on hand to watch the match.

It was all a domination for the home side in the first half after a quick chance by Sunderland fizzed by the face of goal.

Crosses coming in from Stewart Downing and Raheem Sterling, and the odd shot from youngster Andre Wisdom were the attacking highlights until the 19th minute when 17 year old Raheem Sterling was sent on a lone counter attack after Luis Suarez set him up with a beautiful lobbed pass. The shot sailed over Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet and hit the back of the net for the 1-nil.

Not many chances were afforded to the visiting side but for one scramble in front of Pepe Reina that was hastily cleared out for a corner kick.

The second goal of the game came five minutes later from the eccentric Uruguayan Luis Suarez when Suarez was fouled, but play was allowed to continue from the referee. Suarez took advantage of the minor pause and was off to the races in front of goal where he tapped the ball and scooted it past the hands of Mingolet for the 2-nil lead.

The dominance continued until the halftime whistle.

The second half opened with a change from Martin O’Neill’s side when Fraizer Campbell was switched for fellow midfielder Stéphane Sessegnon.

The second half started with a bang as it only took nine minutes for Liverpool’s third goal. Steven Gerrard who was well behind the run of play lobbed a 35 yard cross to Suarez who took in stride at the top of the 18 yard box. Suarez once again worked his magic once again past Mingolet and scored his second of the night into the lower right corner of the net, mirroring his first goal. That was Suarez’ 18th goal for the club this year; 15 of those goals coming in the Premier League.

Shortly afterward in the 57th minute Joe Allen was Liverpool’s first substitution of the evening when he was sent on for the young Sterling. 10 minutes later another youngster, the 19 year old Suso, replaced England U23 international Jordan Henderson

Sunderland’s second sub of the game was made when James McFadden replaced Swedish international Seb Larsson in the 62nd minute.

Suarez was searching for the first hat trick in the fixture since 1966 when he was in the six yard box square in front of keeper, but couldn’t make it happen in the 70th minute.

Fifth and sixth substitutions of the match came in the 73rd minute when David Vaughan came on for Danny Rose. But that switch was overshadowed by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher when he came on to make his 493rd appearance for Liverpool; second all time.

Joe Allen nearly got in on the scoring act twice but for one shot that skidded wide and another that was called offside from the winger Stewart Downing. The remaining minutes of the match were a calm closure of routine play and the 92nd minute saw referee Phil Dowd blow the whistle.

Liverpool have secured back to back wins for the first time since September and are now eighth in the table just two points from sixth, and five points off fourth place in the table.

The third round of the FA Cup will be the next fixtures for both sides on 5 and 6 January when Sunderland will visit Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool will make the trip east to Mansfield Town FC who are third in Conference National; the fifth tier of English football.

After the FA Cup match Liverpool will make the trip to Old Trafford on 13 January to face current league leaders and arch rivals, Manchester United.

Until then,
YNWA

–AK

QPR 0 – 3 Liverpool

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By jpa90, 30-12-2012, 19:07:44

Three goals in the first 30 minutes secured a win for Liverpool against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. An unorganised QPR couldn’t stop Luis Suarez from charging through their defence and slotting home after ten minutes. The striker added another six minutes later after a clever run and neat finish, and Daniel Agger made it 0-3 when he rose highest to meet Steven Gerrard’s cross.

Rodgers was not present to oversee his side take on the West London side due to illness. Colin Pascoe was given the top responsibility and will have been happy with the way that Liverpool started the game. QPR were having difficulty in holding on to possession and the Reds were confident in moving the ball around in midfield.

With ten minutes gone, Jordan Henderson picked up the ball deep in the home side’s half and located Suarez with a decent pass. Suarez turned Clint Hill with ease and sprinted into the box, one-on-one with Julio Cesar. The striker placed the ball past the hapless keeper into the bottom left corner, giving the visitors a 0-1 lead after ten minutes.

With confidence in their ability to beat the home side’s defence, Liverpool were relentless in attack. Stewart Downing was forced wide on the right wing and found Suarez unmarked on the overlap. The Uruguayan jogged into the penalty area and placed a low cross towards Raheem Sterling in the middle. The ball deflected back out to Suarez who hit a powerful first time effort straight past Cesar and into the net.

With just over 15 minutes gone, Liverpool were 0-2 up against a sloppy QPR who were yet to settle into the game. Rangers had made very few chances early on and the closest they came was an overhead kick from Mbia that looped over the bar. Liverpool’s defence were busy in keeping Djibril Cisse and Adel Taarabt quiet but the visitors were easily winning the battle in midfield.

Liverpool’s constant dominance in attack forced a corner which Downing played short. Gerrard, with acres of space, swung a textbook cross into the area which Agger met with a powerful header. The defender’s effort bounced under Cesar’s flailing hand and into the bottom right corner, putting Liverpool 0-3 up within half an hour.

Hill and Armand Traore were having a torrid time in defence and could not prevent a persistent Liverpool attack. Suarez was able to travel into QPR’s area with ease and the home side’s last-ditch defending was all that was stopping Liverpool from adding more. Ryan Nelsen only just prevented a fourth when he cleared a deflected shot from Gerrard off the line.

Apart from a decent spell of possession towards the end of the first period, it was a half to forget for QPR. Taarabt had threatened with a decent shot that forced a strong save out of Pepe Reina but Harry Redknapp will have been extremely disappointed at his team’s first half performance. The Reds were rolling the ball into attack with ease and exploiting the obvious gaps in a terribly unorganised QPR defence.

Liverpool were quick to assert their dominance in the second half, playing with a high tempo and pressurising QPR’s defence. Jose Enrique and Sterling were linking up well on the left wing and the home side could not contain Gerrard’s distribution. Suarez released a rasping shot on the edge of the box but his high effort was turned over the bar by Cesar.

Rangers were playing with a higher attacking line in the second half, a risky tactic that left the home side susceptible to counter attacks. Taarabt and Mackie were playing with a high level of energy that was non-existent in the first half and the Hoops pushed a determined Liverpool defence.

Taarabt had a low shot comfortably saved by Reina, by far QPR’s best chance of the game before then. Esteban Granero had a chance to pull a goal back for Rangers with a free-kick in a decent position, but his effort trickled wide of the post.

Liverpool were losing possession in midfield and Mbia nearly capitalised on this when he received the ball on the edge of the visitor’s penalty area. Reina was happy to see the effort fly past the post but it was clear that Rangers were battling to get back into the game.

Redknapp’s men continued to drive forward but were unable to challenge Reina’s goal. Taarabt won another free kick on the edge of Liverpool’s box when he was brought down by Lucas. Mbia’s resulting free kick was on target but easy pickings for Reina.

The game fizzled out with neither side creating many chances in the last 15 minutes. Liverpool capitalised on QPR’s poor first half performance and a clean sheet was a result of hard work and concentration in defence. QPR remain at the bottom of the Premier League table whereas Liverpool move up to 9th. Rangers face a tough fixture against Chelsea on Wednesday and Liverpool host Sunderland.

Kopworld man of the match: Luis Suarez

Rodgers to miss QPR game

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Brendan Rodgers will miss today’s clash with QPR at Loftus Road, after the Reds boss succumbed to illness.

Rodgers is one of three club employees that have been sent home from London ahead

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of the Premier League clash after picking up what is believed to be a virus. This has made it impossible for him to be in close proximity with the players for fear of spreading the illness.

Head of performance Glen Driscoll and goalkeeper Brad Jones are the other two to be sent home by the club’s medical team.

Club doctor Zaf Iqbal said: “It was impossible for Brendan, Glen and Brad to attend the game. They are not fit to be at the match and any contact with the rest of the squad could cause the bug to spread to more of the playing staff.”

Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh are set to stand in for Rodgers in his absence.

Reality Check

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“Same old story” “Same old Liverpool” “Typical, story of our season” …. sorry it’s time to face facts … we are a mid table side. We can no longer hide behind these comments and throw away statements to make excuses as to why teams like Aston Villa and Stoke are humiliating us.

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Luis Suarez, whose attitude of late has been fantastic considering how frustrated he must be, has been the one thing to take from the last few weeks, he is also the last big name in world football we will sign until we get taken over by a Sheikh. Beating Fulham, who have one of, if not, the worst away record in the league is not a corner turned. We are nowhere near a force and teams now WANT to play us. These are facts, our record over the last 2 and a half seasons is awful. At home, away, everywhere and when we retain players like Dagger, Skrtel, Suarez and Sterling it is always sold to us as “like a new signing in itself”… that does not fly with me. Yes, it’s great we can keep these loyal servants and great players who are loved by every fan here, but why wouldn’t players like that want to stay when they are not going to be loved like this anywhere else? Great that they are buying into Brendan’s ethic but until we get better players around them, we will win nothing that we want to, i.e. the League, Champions League Qualification and even the Europa League.

We are not a club that attracts big players anymore and we won’t be for years. Who would want to come to a club that got beaten at home by relegation fodder (I say that respectively as Aston Villa played us off the park but they are still one of the worst footballing teams in the league), whom the week after got spanked 8-0 (could have been 12) by Chelsea with EXACTLY THE SAME Starting 11 and 4:0 at home to a Spurs side, both of whom, a few years ago we were laughing at?

There are a number of reasons for this…BR trying to make our players play to a style that is not suited to their ability. That’s the reality. Swansea had no trouble doing it so don’t come at me and say our players are world class because they are not. A stonewall fact on recent performances. But his “style” is pass and move. Correct me if I am wrong but is that not “The Liverpool Way”? Everything the club stands for and built it’s foundation on? Players like Henderson, Shelvey, Downing and Cole are not good enough to adhere to this play. Some of the aforementioned players’ second touch is a tackle and can trap it further than most can kick it. Before you all tell me to go and support someone else, yawn, consider this… before Rafa lost the plot, we had a midfield of Gerrard, Alonso, Garcia and Mascherano. Now, it is Gerrard with bad knees, Lucas, who had a good season I admit and won us over but is not good enough, Downing and either Shelvey, Allen or Henderson. This is why we aren’t competing. Players who would not get into any other Premier League team. Joe Allen was made to look a much better player by partnering Leon Britton and is not the answer to our problem of getting goals as the boy is currently incapable of shooting. Nuri Sahin who was on the cusp of the Real Madrid team is with us and I can’t remember what he looks like, same as Assaidi, who BR brought in and has looked good when he has had his chance in the Europa League. Where are they? Give them a shot. It CANNOT be worse than what we have been seeing.

I know this is going to generate a lot of negative comments and hate but the current team is a million miles off competing and “rebuilding” is not a positive thing. We are Liverpool and we should NOT be in this position…. Until now. We are where we are because that is our ability level. I genuinely hope I am wrong and in which case you all have permission to email me on the hour every hour that I was wrong but I cannot see us miraculously being the Liverpool of old without a new plan and MASSIVE investment.

Stoke City 3 – 1 Liverpool

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By EddieC, 26-12-2012, 23:26:54

Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium this evening.

It took the Reds just two minutes to take the lead when Luis Suarez won a penalty after being fouled by Ryan Shawcross. Steven Gerrard stepped up to slot the spot-kick past Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.

The cheers of the away fans didn’t last long though as just three minutes later Stoke were level thanks to an equaliser from Jonathan Walters following a mistake from Pepe Reina.

Things went from bad to worse on 12 minutes, when the home side took the lead through Kenwyne Jones. Glenn Whelan whipped an in-swinging corner into the box, and Jones rose above the Liverpool defence to head home.

Despite the quick-fire turnaround in the scoreline, Liverpool’s confidence didn’t appear to be too badly dented, and the visitors pushed forward in numbers. All too often though the final ball was lacking, and the Reds were unable to find an equaliser before half time.

It took just three minutes of the second half for Stoke to find a third goal. Jones flicked the ball into the path of Walters, who controlled with his chest before firing a volley into the top right corner of Reina’s goal.

Only two clubs have managed to score more than one goal at the Britannia Stadium this season, and with a healthy lead secured Stoke reverted to the style of play they have become known for – defending with 10 men behind the ball.

The introductions of Jordan Henderson and Joe Cole did little to change Liverpool’s fortunes, and their search for a goal proved to be fruitless as Stoke saw out the game to secure all three points.

Liverpool 4 – 0 Fulham

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By jpa90, 22-12-2012, 20:42:28

Stewart Downing scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool as they cruised to a 4-0 win against Fulham at Anfield. An unorganised Fulham couldn’t stop Martin Skrtel firing home from close-range early on and failed to pick up Steven Gerrard for the second. Downing was lively throughout the game and fully deserved to score when he travelled into the box and released a deadly left-footed strike. Luis Suarez added a fourth in injury time to top off an impressive game for Liverpool.

Fulham, with a packed out midfield, started out keeping a tight watch on movement down the wings from Jose Enrique and Downing. Jose Enrique worked an early corner which when floated in by Downing, found Daniel Agger completely unmarked on the penalty spot. Agger got too much under the ball and his effort flew over, but a complete lack of marking highlighted big gaps in Fulham’s defence.

A deft flick from Jonjo Shelvey was blocked for another corner which Gerrard swung in. Again, the Fulham defence was left standing when the ball dropped to Skrtel, who controlled the ball perfectly. Avoiding an extremely overdue challenge Ashkan Dejagah, Skrtel’s half-volley rocketed past Mark Schwarzer and into the net, giving the Reds an early 1-0 lead.

With hardly any pressure in midfield, Liverpool were keen to take advantage of a slow-moving Fulham. Downing picked up the ball 25 yards out and smashed an effort towards the top-right corner. Despite the referee giving a goal-kick, Schwarzer made a good effort to turn Downing’s strike around the post.

The home side were using the rain to their advantage as Gerrard and Lucas were able to skim the ball across the slippery surface, providing excellent distribution to the wings. Fulham were yet to find their rhythm in the game, evident when Kieran Richardson knocked Downing to the ground after miss-controlling the ball.

After the Reds took a short free-kick, the ball was teed up for Gerrard on the edge of the box. His shot was deflected and ran to Suarez on the right side of the box, unmarked. Suarez released a low cross into the middle to find Agger two-yards out, only to miss the open goal completely with a touch that flew high into the upper tier of Anfield Road.

Richardson was the first to trouble the Liverpool goal with a fierce shot that Reina had to save with his feet. Fulham’s tempo remained slow and this did very little for their momentum.

Collecting the ball deep in Fulham’s half, Downing demonstrated fantastic awareness when he placed a pass into the path of Gerrard who had charged into the 18-yard box from midfield. Nobody had picked up the captain and he calmly struck a low shot across the keeper and into the bottom left corner, doubling Liverpool’s lead.

Liverpool, with a flavour for goal, did not hesitate to pressure Fulham for another goal before half time. Suarez located Suso in the box far too easily but the Spaniard hooked his shot wide from a tight angle. Glen Johnson then played in Suarez behind the defence and the striker’s short-range effort was pounced on by Schwarzer.

A two-goal advantage at half time was kind on Fulham as the visitors had let Liverpool control the game. The Reds were having an easy time of locating their front men behind Fulham’s defence and could have easily scored three or four in the first half.

Composure was important for the Reds if they were to hold onto their lead and Suarez missed a golden opportunity to extend his team’s lead when he missed a gaping goal when Downing’s deflected shot found him unmarked.

Liverpool were determined to add another however and when Downing received the ball on the right wing, he moved into the box unchallenged by ex-Red John Arne Riise. He hammered a shot towards goal and despite getting a hand to it, Schwarzer could not deny Downing his first Premier League goal for Liverpool.

Despite being 3-0 down, Fulham managed to force their way into Liverpool’s half. Reina was on hand to palm away a dangerous driven cross and the Liverpool defence were working hard at closing down.

The introduction of Raheem Sterling added to Fulham’s woes as the teenager ran hard at the visitor’s defenders. Gerrard nearly claimed his second after the ball fell to him six yards out from a set piece, but Schwarzer stayed on his feet and denied Liverpool a fourth goal.

Dimitar Berbatov’s attempts to get his side back into the game were in vein as the striker was denied by Reina on several occasions. The Reds were quick pushing out after winning the ball back and Sterling won a free-kick on the edge of the area during a counter attack. Schwarzer stretched to make a good save from Suarez’s effort, keen to prevent any further embarrassment.

Fulham came so close when substitute Hugo Rodallega hit the post from a nicely-struck free-kick. This didn’t faze the Reds as they raced up the field, with Jose Enrique darting into the box from the left side. The Spaniard put in a low cross for Suarez, whose first-time effort rolled into the bottom-right corner, making it 4-0.

With an all-round convincing performance, Liverpool move up to eighth in the Premier League at the expense of a sluggish Fulham. Both teams are back in action on Boxing Day when Fulham host Southampton and Liverpool travel to Stoke.

Kopworld man of the match: Stewart Downing