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West Ham United
22 December 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 44570
M. Škrtel 8'
S. Gerrard 36'
S. Downing 52'
L. Suárez 90'+
Thank you for watching Goal.com's LIVE! text commentary from Liverpool vs Fulham. Join us next time as Goal bring you the latest from all the big games across Europe, including the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League. I've been Theo Squires, thank you and good night.
A much needed win for the Reds as Fulham's away day blues continue. Stewart Downing was magnificent from start to finish as he managed to not only get his first league goal for Liverpool, but also his first league assist. Will he still be allowed to leave Anfield I wonder?
The victory sees Liverpool climb four places to eighth, while Fulham remain thirteenth.
Full-time Liverpool 4-0 Fulham. A deserved victory for the Reds, who dominated proceedings from start to finish. Martin Skrtel got us started, volleying home Steven Gerrard's early corner, before Gerrard then scored himself, after Stewart Downing's picked him out well with a delightful through-ball. Downing scored his first league goal just after the break, with Luis Suarez capped off the scoring in injury-time.
90' + 2'
Assist José Enrique
90' + 2'
Goal Luis Suárez
4-0! Luis Suarez has finally scored. The Uruguyan equals his league tally from last season. The corner is played short to Enrique, who runs into the box before playing the ball back to Suarez, who is left with a simple side-foot finish past Schwarzer.
90' + 1'
Riise stands over it, but it is Rodallega who takes. Reina dives full stretch to palm it onto the post. Liverpool couner-attack as Suarez wins a corner.
90' + 1'
Free kick to Fulham in a dangerous attacking position.
After slow Cottagers pressing they win a corner. However, it comes to nothing as Liverpool clear at the near post. Three minutes added on...
Fulham are holding onto possession, determined not to concede a fourth goal.
Suarez curls the ball at goal but Schwarzer does well to dive across goal and push it wide.
Yellow Card Georgios Karagounis
Karagounis is booked for a late challenge on Raheem Sterling just on the edge of the Fulham penalty area.
Skrtel and Agger have been rocks at the back for Liverpool so far, clearly everything that Fulham have thrown at them. Dimitar Berbatov is unsurprisingly very frustrated.
As promised 25 minutes ago Jamie Carragher does finally come, replacing Lucas Leiva in midfield. This is his 491st league appearance for Reds.
Suarez stumbles his way through the Fulham defences and toe-pokes a tame shot straight at Schwarzer. He couldn't do much else to be fair. It should be noted that he chose to stay on his feet following constant pressure from Fulham defenders.
Yellow Card Ashkan Dejagah
Yellow card to Dejagah as Luis Suarez stands over the free kick out wide for Liverpool.
The Uruguayan's free kick reaches Johnson, whose shot somehow finds its way to Steven Gerrard, but his side-footed strike from an acute angle is straight at Schwarzer.
After a period of sitting deep, Liverpool are back on the attack again now. Do not be surprised to see another goal in this from the Reds yet.
Raheem Sterling is looking for a penalty following a Reither's challenge, but goes down far too easily and the ref waves play on.
Joe Allen is on as he replaces Jonjo Shelvey with 15 minutes remaining.
Sterling almost makes an immediate impact. Linking up with Jonjo Shelvey, he dribbles into the box and wins a corner off Chris Baird. The set-piece is headed wide by Skrtel.
Joe Allen is preparing to join the action and will be with us imminently.
Raheem Sterling comes on to replace Suso. Will the England international celebrate his new contract with a goal?
Downing hits a superb outswinging shot just over the bar from the edge of the area, after advantage is played following a foul on Luis Suarez.
Johnson cuts in, but sees his low, left-footed strike drift just wide.
A fourth goal would really kill this game off as Fulham continue to press more, fighting for a way back into the game. It is a pity it has taken them so long to start performing.
Suso's lofted cross is just too high for Shelvey, while Downing is unable to get on the end of the clearance.
Fulham have sharpened up since Karim Frei came on, as Liverpool sit back, inviting pressure, but they are still waiting to really test Pepe Reina.
Martin Skrtel heads Gerrard's free kick across goal but Schwarzer is on hand to claim it.
Free kick to Liverpool on the left-hand side as Enrique is scythed down.
Dejagah hits a low cross to the near post but Reina gets a glove to it and is fortunate that there are no Fulham players to hammer home the rebound, as Liverpool clear their lines.
Downing gives the ball away. A rare poor pass from Liverpool's No. 19 this evening.
Fulham get players forward but are unable to fire a shot at goal as Liverpool quickly counter-attack with Suarez.
Fulham have their first corner of the afternoon, but Huga Rodallega flicks a header well wide.
Jamie Carragher is preparing to come on as Liverpool fans show their appreciation for former Red John Arne Riise, with a rendition of his old chant.
Suarez feeds Shelvey, but his shot is deflected wide for a corner.
Second change for Fulham as Kerim Frei comes on for the disappointing Kieran Richardson.
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
Glen Johnson picks up the first caution of the afternoon.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Stewart Downing
Christmas has come early for Downing. His first league goal and assist for the Reds since his £20m move from Aston Villa last summer. Brendan Rodgers applauds on the touchlines. Maybe he'll be having second thoughts about letting the winger leave.
3-0 and Stewart Downing finally has his first league goal for Liverpool. He has been involved in everything since the break and fully deserves his goal. Gerrard picks him out, allowing the winger to run at Riise into the penalty area. He cuts in before firing a powerful strike past Schwarzer at the near post.
Suarez wins a corner for Liverpool, which is take short, but Enrique's cross into the box is punched clear by Schwarzer.
Downing cuts in and curls a shot at goal, but it is deflected. It falls to Suarez, who is free at the far post and hits it first time but his shot is well wide.
A half-time substitution for Fulham as Alex Kacaniklic makes way for Hugo Rodallega.
Fulham have switched to a 4-4-2 formation, with Rodallega partnering Dimitar Berbatov up front, and they kick-off for the second half.
A special mention must go to Stewart Downing. Much has been said about the England international's future, after he revealed he has been told he can leave Anfield, but he has been one of the Reds stand-out performers so far. After featuring at left back in recent weeks, he has been handed an attacking role today and he is thriving, causing former Red John Arne Riise endless problems. You'll struggle to find a better through-ball this season than his pass to pick out Steven Gerrard for Liverpool's second goal. If he carries on like this I'm sure Brendan Rodgers will be fielding calls from interested parties after the game.
Liverpool have bounced back from last week's disappointing performance against Aston Villa in superb fashion. They could easily be three or four up, but Brendan Rodgers will be happy with two, and will be hoping for more of the same after the break.
Fulham have once again failed to perform away from home and don't look like picking up three points away from Craven Cottage anytime soon. Dimitar Berbatov has been poor. Martin Jol will be expecting a lot more from his side in the second half.
The half-time whistle goes with Liverpool leading 2-0 at Anfield, and they are fully deserving of their advantage. There may well have been an element of fortune to the ball landing at Skrtel's feet for the first but the centre-back volleyed brilliantly before Gerrard gave Downing's ball in behind the finish it deserved to double the lead.
One minute added on...
Liverpool nearly grab a third as Luis Suarez latches onto Glen Johnson's through-ball but is defeated by the angle, with Mark Schwarzer holding onto his shot at the near post. The Reds are finding it far too easy to get in behind here.
Liverpool are sitting back, eager to not concede before the interval. They are holding onto possession well and will be pleased with their first-half display so far.
Suso could, and probably should, have made it 3-0, but he fires wide from inside the penalty area.
Assist Stewart Downing
Goal Steven Gerrard
And they get it! 2-0 Livepool! Steven Gerrard. Johnson cuts in and tees it back to Stewart Downing, who plays a delightful ball through to Gerrard, allowing the England captain to fire it home across goal.
Fulham, who are under-strength here, have dealt with Liverpool relatively well so far, but like last weekend's defeat to QPR, are offering little in attack. Liverpool will be desperate to net a second goal before half-time
Another great ball into the box from Gerrard but Schwarzer is alert to get to it first.
Glen Johnson wins a free kick for Liverpool after running into Hangeland.
Hangeland heads wide from a Fulham free kick.
Suarez plays a reverse-ball to Suso but the Spaniard is outpaced by Reither who just manages to toe it back to Schwarzer.
Richardson hits a swerving strike but it doesn't trouble Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Fulham fortunate there. Suarez finds himself one-on-one after Shelvey's through-ball, but is wrongly called offside.
Are Liverpool going to rue Agger's miss?
It should be 2-0. Gerrard tries an acrobatic volley but it is deflected wide to Suarez. The Uruguayan squares it to Agger but the Dane, with the open goal gaping, leaning back somehow finds a way to clear the crossbar from only two yards out.
Suarez tries to feed Shelvey but Schwarzer gathers. Liverpool quickly win the ball back and have a free kick after Richardson hauls down Downing.
Suarez sees a shot go wide. The Uruguayan hasn't scored since Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic last month.
Halfway through the first half and it remains 1-0 to a dominant Liverpool side. Luis Suarez has been very quiet so far. Fulham will be hoping to keep it that way if they are to have any chance of getting anything from this game.
Skrtel heads at goal from narrow angle but it tamely bounces into Schwarzer's grateful arms.
Liverpool win another corner as Johnson takes on John Arne Riise, forcing the Norwegian into conceding the set piece but it comes to nothing.
Downing has started really well so far. He takes on his man and puts the ball into the box, but Fulham get it away. Throw in to Liverpool.
Reither sees his cross easily gathered by Pepe Reina as Fulham push forward for a rare attack.
Downing hits a powerful shot wide from distance. It looks like Schwarzer got a touch to the strike, which was going wide anyway, but that has been missed by the officials.
The Kop boo former Manchester United player Dimitar Berbatov as he receives the ball on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area. I think that might have been his first touch of the night.
Liverpool have started very brightly and continue to press. They are dominating the early possession, much the same as they did last week against Aston Villa, but the difference is this time they have the early goal.
Assist Steven Gerrard
The goal came from Steven Gerrard's corner.
Goal Martin Skrtel
GOAL! 1-0 to Liverpool. The corner falls to Martin Skrtel who takes a touch before volleying home an unstoppable strike past Mark Schwarzer.
Downing cuts in and fires in a low cross to Shelvey. His shot is deflected wide and Liverpool have another corner.
Downing takes but Agger heads over at the far post. He climbed well to get on the end of it but it was a poor header. Should really have hit the target.
Enrique wins a corner for Liverpool...
Liverpool have had most of the early possession but most of it has been in midfield so far.
Congratulations to Jose Enrique, who starts today after his wife gave birth to a baby boy yesterday.
Liverpool kick-off and we are underway!
The teams are heading out of the tunnel. Kick-off is only minutes away.
Pepe Reina has only ever conceded one goal against Fulham at Anfield, and has never lost at home against the Cottagers, while you have to go back to 2007 to find the last time a player scored for their own side in this fixture. Will either of these change today? We will find out over the course of the next 90 minutes.
Kick-off is less than ten minutes away so stay tuned for all the action, from what is surely going to be a classic game if former clashes between these two sides are anything to go by.
Victory for Liverpool today could see them rise to as high as eighth place. A rare away day win for Fulham however would see them overtake the Reds into at least 12th.
Meanwhile former Reds John Arne Riise and Alex Kacaniklic both start against their former club. Fulham starting XI: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Dejagah, Karagounis, Baird, Richardson, Kacaniklic, Berbatov. Subs: Senderos, Kasami, Stockdale, Briggs, Rodallega, Frei, Tavares.
Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen are rested as Brendan Rodgers makes two changes to the side that lost last weekend. LFC starting XI: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Shelvey, Suso, Suarez, Downing. Subs: Jones, Carragher, Wisdom, Henderson, Sahin, Sterling, Allen.
Team news is in at Anfield with the sides as follows...
Fulham's record ever defeat also ocurred at Anfield, when Liverpool secured a resounding 10-0 win over the Cottagers in a League Cup tie back in 1986.
Martin Jol's side won for the first time at Anfield in the club's history last season, when Martin Skrtel's diverted former Red Alex Kacaniklic's cross into his own net.
The Reds will be looking to bounce back from last week's shock home defeat against Aston Villa, while Fulham are in search of what will be only their second away win of the season.
Good evening everyone and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! text commentary from today's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Fulham. I'm Theo Squires and I'll be guiding you through all the action from Anfield.
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