Liverpool's Stewart Downing put in an impressive display as the Reds overwhelmed a tame Fulham to move up to eighth in the Premier League.

Martin Skrtel controlled a Steven Gerrard corner and powered in a shot to put the home side in front.

Downing's piercing ball then set up Gerrard to drive in Liverpool's second.

'Excellent' Liverpool impress Rodgers

Winger Downing cut inside and rifled in a shot for his first Premier League goal for the Reds, before Luis Suarez side-footed in to seal an emphatic win.

Downing claims he has been told he can leave Liverpool, but his lively display against the Cottagers suggests he wants to stay and fight for his place.

The 28-year-old helped raise Liverpool's hopes of reasserting a challenge for a top-four place as the Anfield club moved five points off the Champions League places.

Fulham had problems in midfield with Steve Sidwell, Bryan Ruiz and Mahamadou Diarra missing, but manager Martin Jol will be concerned at the meek surrender of a side which has one win in 10 top-flight outings.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said his team were determined to put right the wrongs of last week's 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa and the Reds quickly showed the pace, movement and intensity to echo their manager's words on the pitch.

Unmarked centre-back Daniel Agger headed a driven corner over the Fulham goal and Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey had a clever flicked effort from Downing's low cross deflected wide.

Analysis

"A deserved win for Liverpool. From the opening whistle to the final one, they were far and away the better side. Steven Gerrard was in exquisite form and Stewart Downing was excellent. A miserable evening for Fulham."

Fulham had not learnt from those scares and the home side took the lead when defender Skrtel was allowed the time and space to control Gerrard's corner before thundering in a shot.

The early goal only served to increase the appetite and the Reds should have added another goal only for a lunging Agger to sidefoot over from close range after a low Suarez cross.

Fulham midfielder Kieran Richardson's swerving shot almost caught Pepe Reina out before he saved the effort with his legs but the visitors fell further behind after 36 minutes.

The much-maligned Downing provided his first assist in 45 Premier League appearances for the Reds when he slid a precise ball through the heart of the Cottagers' defence to Gerrard, who angled a shot past keeper Mark Schwarzer.

A deflected Downing cross set up Suarez for a gilt-edged chance at the far post shortly after the interval but the Uruguayan sent his six-yard shot wide.

Jol wants to forget defeat

Downing was playing in a preferred right-wing berth as opposed to the left-back spot he has sometimes had to fill and took it upon himself to add Liverpool's third as he cut inside before drilling a left-footed shot past Schwarzer.

Fulham were hugely outplayed and it was one-way traffic as Liverpool constantly threatened more goals.

Suarez bustled his was through the Cottagers' defence only to be foiled by a smothering Schwarzer save and the striker also had a well-struck free-kick tipped around the post by the 'keeper.

Reina saved a Hugo Rodallega free-kick before Suarez rounded off his side's win by converting a Jose Enrique cut-back for his 11th league goal of the season.

Fulham manager Martin Jol: "Of course you will say that Liverpool were great today, but they weren't.

"I don't think that we played well. It is disappointing, the second half was a bit better, Karim Frei showed some spirit, but it was bad defending on the third goal as we backed off.

"On the fourth goal from the corner kick it was almost too easy.

"Our intentions were to play the ball to the front three and get Berbatov into the game and support from midfield - we didn't do it."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 4-0 Fulham FT
(HT 2-0)
  • Skrtel 8
  • Gerrard 36
  • Downing 51
  • Suarez 90+2

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Fulham

    Substitutes

    Ref: ClattenburgAtt: 44,570
    LIVERPOOL
    FULHAM

    Possession

    • Liverpool 57%
    • Fulham 43%

    Attempts on target

    • Liverpool 12
    • Fulham 6

    Attempts off target

    • Liverpool 10
    • Fulham 1

    Corners

    • Liverpool 8
    • Fulham 2

    Fouls

    • Liverpool 13
    • Fulham 6
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:12 The referee brings the game to a close.
    • 90:00+1:33 The assist for the goal came from Sanchez Jose Enrique.
    • 90:00+1:33 GOAL - Luis SuarezLiverpool 4 - 0 Fulham Goal scored by Luis Suarez from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 4-0 Fulham.
    • 90:00+1:09 Short corner worked by Raheem Sterling.
    • 90:00+0:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashkan Dejagah by Sanchez Jose Enrique. Hugo Rodallega has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 89:49 Corner taken right-footed by Giorgos Karagounis to the near post, Sanchez Jose Enrique manages to make a clearance.
    • 89:28 Ashkan Dejagah has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 87:44 Kerim Frei sends in a cross, clearance made by Joe Allen.
    • 86:32 Raheem Sterling takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.
    • 86:04 Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Hugo Rodallega manages to make a clearance.
    • 84:44 Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Luis Suarez, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 84:44 Booking Giorgos Karagounis is booked.
    • 84:39 Giorgos Karagounis challenges Raheem Sterling unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 84:00 Sascha Riether delivers the ball, clearance by Martin Skrtel.
    • 83:38 Sascha Riether crosses the ball, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.
    • 81:59 John Arne Riise restarts play with the free kick.
    • 81:59 Substitution Jamie Carragher on for Leiva Lucas.
    • 81:59 Foul by Luis Suarez on Brede Hangeland, free kick awarded.
    • 81:50 The ball is delivered by Kerim Frei, Martin Skrtel manages to make a clearance.
    • 81:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Raheem Sterling. Sascha Riether takes the indirect free kick.
    • 80:47 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
    • 79:38 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
    • 78:45 Luis Suarez takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 77:12 Luis Suarez sends in a cross, Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
    • 77:12 Booking Ashkan Dejagah receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 77:07 Unfair challenge on Sanchez Jose Enrique by Ashkan Dejagah results in a free kick.
    • 75:11 Martin Skrtel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Hugo Rodallega. Free kick crossed right-footed by Chris Baird from left wing, Martin Skrtel makes a clearance.
    • 73:29 Substitution Joe Allen on for Jonjo Shelvey.
    • 72:48 Corner taken by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, Headed effort from inside the area by Martin Skrtel misses to the left of the target.
    • 70:12 Substitution Raheem Sterling replaces Jesus Fernandez Saez.
    • 70:00 Sanchez Jose Enrique produces a cross, Chris Baird manages to make a clearance.
    • 68:49 Stewart Downing has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.
    • 67:28 Glen Johnson has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
    • 65:14 A cross is delivered by Sascha Riether, clearance made by Glen Johnson.
    • 64:51 The ball is sent over by Jesus Fernandez Saez, clearance by John Arne Riise.
    • 61:38 Sanchez Jose Enrique fouled by Ashkan Dejagah, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick.
    • 60:14 Ashkan Dejagah crosses the ball, save by Jose Reina.
    • 56:51 Inswinging corner taken by Chris Baird from the left by-line, Hugo Rodallega has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 56:02 Foul by Jonjo Shelvey on Giorgos Karagounis, free kick awarded. Chris Baird takes the direct free kick.
    • 54:41 Short corner taken by Stewart Downing from the right by-line.
    • 54:22 Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.
    • 52:44 John Arne Riise restarts play with the free kick.
    • 52:44 Substitution Kerim Frei is brought on as a substitute for Kieran Richardson.
    • 52:44 Booking Booking for Glen Johnson.
    • 52:38 Kieran Richardson fouled by Glen Johnson, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 50:59 Assist by Steven Gerrard.
    • 50:59 GOAL - Stewart DowningLiverpool 3 - 0 Fulham Stewart Downing finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 3-0 Fulham.
    • 49:48 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 48:52 Sanchez Jose Enrique produces a cross, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
    • 48:41 Steven Gerrard takes a short corner.
    • 48:24 Sanchez Jose Enrique delivers the ball, clearance by Brede Hangeland.
    • 48:09 A cross is delivered by Jonjo Shelvey, Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
    • 46:45 Aaron Hughes fouled by Jesus Fernandez Saez, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Sascha Riether.
    • 46:13 Close range shot by Luis Suarez goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
    • 45:01 Substitution Hugo Rodallega on for Alex Kacaniklic.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:03 The half-time whistle blows.
    • 45:00+0:35 The ball is sent over by Glen Johnson, clearance made by Sascha Riether.
    • 44:20 Unfair challenge on Chris Baird by Jesus Fernandez Saez results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Giorgos Karagounis.
    • 42:35 Luis Suarez takes a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 39:25 Jesus Fernandez Saez has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
    • 38:07 Steven Gerrard concedes a free kick for a foul on Giorgos Karagounis. Giorgos Karagounis restarts play with the free kick.
    • 37:47 The ball is swung over by John Arne Riise, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
    • 37:22 Unfair challenge on Dimitar Berbatov by Steven Gerrard results in a free kick. Chris Baird restarts play with the free kick.
    • 35:13 Assist on the goal came from Stewart Downing.
    • 35:13 GOAL - Steven GerrardLiverpool 2 - 0 Fulham Steven Gerrard grabs a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 2-0 Fulham.
    • 31:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Brede Hangeland on Glen Johnson. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 30:00 Giorgos Karagounis fouled by Jesus Fernandez Saez, the ref awards a free kick. Kieran Richardson crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.
    • 26:50 Kieran Richardson takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
    • 26:20 The referee blows for offside against Luis Suarez. Brede Hangeland takes the indirect free kick.
    • Correction - 24:34 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland. Shot by Daniel Agger from inside the six-yard box clear the bar.
    • 24:34 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland. Daniel Agger takes a shot from close range clearing the crossbar.
    • 23:57 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kieran Richardson on Stewart Downing. Free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
    • 23:41 The ball is crossed by Luis Suarez, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
    • 22:20 Luis Suarez produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.
    • 20:42 Alex Kacaniklic takes a shot. Blocked by Sanchez Jose Enrique.
    • 20:00 Martin Skrtel takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 19:29 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Dimitar Berbatov.
    • 18:26 Foul by Sanchez Jose Enrique on Ashkan Dejagah, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Giorgos Karagounis.
    • 16:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Suarez on Chris Baird. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
    • 16:30 Stewart Downing sends in a cross, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.
    • 15:37 The ball is delivered by Sascha Riether, save by Jose Reina.
    • 12:53 Stewart Downing has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 7:49 Assist on the goal came from Steven Gerrard. Unfair challenge on Martin Skrtel by Dimitar Berbatov results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Martin Skrtel.
    • 7:49 GOAL - Martin SkrtelLiverpool 1 - 0 Fulham Martin Skrtel gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Fulham.
    • 7:45 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line.
    • 7:20 Effort from deep inside the area by Jonjo Shelvey misses to the right of the target.
    • Correction - 7:08 Sanchez Jose Enrique produces a cross, clearance by Alex Kacaniklic. Stewart Downing delivers the ball, Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
    • 7:08 The ball is sent over by Sanchez Jose Enrique, clearance by Alex Kacaniklic. A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.
    • 4:41 Corner from the left by-line taken by Stewart Downing, Header from deep inside the area by Daniel Agger goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
    • 2:33 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jesus Fernandez Saez on Ashkan Dejagah. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
    • 0:00 The game gets underway.

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