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By Chris Bevan
2228: Right then, this is where I say farewell after another absorbing evening of Premier League football. I've been
Liverpool have been mightily impressive, and you lot have been top class too. You want more football? Then join
for Man City versus Spurs tomorrow night when the race for fourth/fifth continues. Laters.
2225: We've just got time to see what our reporter Sam Sheringham made of tonight's events, right here...
cweeks31 on Twitter:
"Just remember this run has been without Gerrard, and Carroll hasn't hit full fitness since he signed. Roll on next season!"
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish on his side's thumping win at Craven Cottage: "That was a fantastic performance. We started reallty brightly but the football we played, and our movement and work-rate was great. Fulham stepped things up in the second half but we stood up to them. We have done fantastically well since January and that is tremendous credit to the players and Steve Clarke, Sammy Lee and the backroom staff."
CyberRobins on Twitter:
"Can't blame Liverpool fans for their enthusiasm, they look very good at the moment and Suarez is pure class."
Bally_09 on Twitter:
"Liverpool fans are not delusional, We are simply enjoying our great team be great again!"
tirshout on Twitter:
"You have to laugh at the non-Liverpool fans who are watching this revitalised team and getting scared."
2208: I think we can forgive Liverpool fans for being optimistic given their side's performance tonight. They have thrashed a team that are usually formidable on their own turf and are up to fifth in the table. They are by no means perfect, and talk of a title challenge might be a tad fanciful, but the four teams above them have not exactly been entirely convincing over the course of this season have they?
From another anonymous Liverpool fan, via text: "Re Marsh80. Not delusional, just excited at the prospect of next season with the way we are playing at the moment - who can blame us?"
From anonymous Liverpool fan, via text: "Re Marsh80. That mid-table boring team that haven't lost at home this calendar year?"
Jamie Carragher, making his 666th appearance for Liverpool, on their victory at Craven Cottage: "We played very well, I think it was the start that was the key. When Fulham scored in the second half we got a bit nervous but when Maxi scored his third that was the end of it. Our confidence is really high, we are enjoying ourselves and we just want to keep this run going." Does this bode well for a Liverpool title challenge next season? "We get this question every year. Next season is a new start but we don't want to put any expectation on ourselves, we just want keep going."
marsh80 on Twitter:
"Gotta laugh at the delusional Liverpool fans, a win against a mid-table boring team and they think they'll win the league."
vic_twenty on Twitter:
"Hard not to get carried away after a performance like this, but it's just nice to be looking forward again."
2155: Maxi Rodriguez has just bagged the match-ball and he and the rest of the Liverpool team are all-smiles as they leave the Craven Cottage pitch. Kenny Dalglish looked pretty pleased with himself too.
2153: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-5 Liverpool
2153: It really should be six. Luis Suarez runs past Aaron Hughes as if he doesn't exist and squares the ball for Dirk Kuyt, whose shot hits a Fulham defender (Chris Baird I think) on the line. Liverpool claim handball but Lee Mason shakes his head. Still, I have to say that Suarez has been magical at times tonight.
From TK in Watford, via text: "Seems the aversion to the Europa League has reached Fulham. These yellow cards will play them out of the fair play league if they are not careful."
2149: There will be four minutes of stoppage time at Craven Cottage.
2146: Chris Baird talks his way into the book after taking out Dirk Kuyt on the left-hand touchline... and Liverpool immediately go on the attack, going close twice in quick succession. Mark Schwarzer denies Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing has an effort cleared off the line from the resulting corner. Almost number six for Kenny Dalglish's men.
Fulham goal: Pick that one out. Steve Sidwell takes a touch on the edge of the area and smacks a pearler of a strike past Pepe Reina and into the top corner. The goal of the night, against some pretty stiff competition, but it won't bring Fulham fans much cheer.
2143: Less than 10 minutes left at the Cottage now but this game ended a while ago, didn't it?
2141: Maxi Rodriguez is getting a standing ovation from all the Liverpool fans as he comes off, to be replaced by Joe Cole. His third goal gets better every time I see it.
2140: Credit to Fulham, they have kept going and have even pumped a couple of dangerous crosses into the Liverpool box. But that just means they are leaving big gaps at the back for the Reds to exploit on the break. I'm expecting more goals...
S0nicH on Twitter:
"Loving the football tonight. This is the Liverpool I know and love. Watch out United, we're having that title back next season."
2135: It doesn't really matter now, but Fulham have made their final change of the night. Gael Kakuta is on for Moussa Dembele.
Liverpool goal: Definitely no way back for Fulham now. Nice goal too, with Jonjo Shelvey picking out Luis Suarez, who dances past Mark Schwarzer before nudging the ball into the empty net. A top-class finish.
2135: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-5 Liverpool (Suarez)
2133: Steve Sidwell becomes the latest Fulham player to be booked, following his challenge on Lucas. No way back for the Cottagers now I'm afraid.
2132: The Liverpool fans are currently singing the praises of Maxi Rodriguez, to the tune of 'Heartbeat'. I can't quite make out the rest of the lyrics though, sorry.
Liverpool goal: Er, that should settle it. Maxi Rodriguez becomes hat-trick hero x2... and what a way to bag his third goal of the night. There is nothing on when he collects the ball outside the area but he runs across the edge of the box before slamming a shot past Mark Schwarzer and into the top corner. Schwarzer should probably have done better there, because he had a clear view of the ball, but it was still a fine finish for his second treble in three games.
2129: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-4 Liverpool (Maxi Rodriguez)
2125: ... but Bobby Zamora slams his free-kick straight into the Liverpool wall. A bit of a waste, that. Anyway, time for another Fulham change - Andy Johnson replaces Eidur Gudjohnsen.
2125: Here's another chance for Fulham. Martin Skrtel is adjudged to have pulled back Bobby Zamora on the edge of the box as they challenge for a high ball, and the Cottagers have a free-kick in a very dangerous position...
2122: Fulham's defenders couldn't catch Luis Suarez before the break, but they are staying much closer to him right now. Carlos Salcido is the latest player to make sure the Uruguyan doesn't escape down the flanks, and gets a yellow card for a pretty blatant foul.
From anon via text: "Fulham have started well here, they could win the title next year."
I have to admit I chuckled when I read that one...
logos8 on Twitter:
"Wrong tactics in the first 45 from Hughes. What they are doing now is working just fine."
Fulham goal: The comeback starts here? Possibly. Chris Baird finds Bobby Zamora, who tees up Moussa Dembele to find the bottom corner of the net with the most precise of finishes. Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina shows his frustration when he is booked for smacking the ball out of the stadium. Half-an-hour left and we have a game on our hands.
2116: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-3 Liverpool (Dembele)
2114: Liverpool's first attack of the half sees Dirk Kuyt release Glen Johnson down the right, but his low cross does not reach Maxi Rodriguez at the back post.
2112: Yet more Fulham pressure, but they are overcooking it on the edge of the Liverpool area and the Reds hold out.
2111: Another Fulham attack. Clint Dempsey tees up Eidur Gudjohnsen, but he drags his shot wide of Pepe Reina's right-hand post. The Icelander's wait for a first Fulham goal continues...
2109: Finally, we can proceed. Danny Murphy flights in the free-kick and Bobby Zamora gets on the end of it... but sees his header blocked. Fulham are not done yet, though, and they come forward again with another neat move that ends when Clint Dempsey fires over from the edge of the box. Plenty of power behind that one but just off target. This is much better by the Cottagers, although they have got a long long way to go if they are going to get anything out of this game now.
2107: Before they can take it, Liverpool will make a enforced switch. Raul Meireles has picked up a knock and Jonjo Shelvey is on instead.
2106: Well, Fulham haven't conceded after 31 seconds this time, which is a start. They have had a bit of possession, mind, and now they have a free-kick about 30 yards out.
2104: And Liverpool get us back under way.
2103: Fulham are making a change for the second half. Bobby Zamora is on for Simon Davies.
From Farrell, Fulham fan, via text: "Mark Hughes has gone back to his silly tactics at the start of the season where he would tell all the players to chase down every ball aimlessly leaving gaps all over the park."
othomas100 on Twitter:
"Come on then... how many people think Liverpool are going to mount a serious title challenge next year? Heard it all before..."
PM9090 on Twitter:
"If Liverpool make it in to 4th, that will be the biggest managerial achievement of the season, definitely."
2055: All this, and Kenny Dalglish isn't even guaranteed to be Liverpool manager next season. They will keep him on, won't they? Won't they?
From Dreamy Steve in Stroud, at Craven Cottage, via text: "Man City lose to Spurs tomorrow then draw with Bolton and Stoke and Liverpool are fourth with two more wins!!"
redstrots on Twitter:
"Kenny & Steve Clarke have transformed these players, what a statement of intent this team are showing. So proud of the Red Men."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"0 - Fulham have won none of the 63 PL games they've conceded 3+ goals in before today, drawing just 6 of them. Over."
2048: HALF-TIME: Fulham 0-3 Liverpool Sam Sheringham's
HT snapshot: "In a word: rampant. Maxi's first-minute goal stunned Fulham and Liverpool haven't looked back, scoring twice more, with a little bit of help from Cottagers' keeper Mark Schwarzer."
2045: Steve Sidwell's header is easily kept out by Pepe Reina before Clint Dempsey earns a booking for a wild challenge on Jay Spearing. We are into stoppage time at the end of the first half... about one minute of three left.
2044: Just a couple of minutes left until the interval. I'm pretty sure Fulham boss Mark Hughes will have a few harsh words for his men when they get into the dressing room. They have improved of late, but they were dreadful for the first 20 minutes.
2043: The irrepressible Luis Suarez tries his luck with another shot, but does not get much power behind it. Mark Schwarzer is behind the ball at his near post, and this time he clutches it safely to his chest. Once bitten, etc.
SamHandwich22 on Twitter:
"There is absolutely no way Tottenham are finishing 5th this season, and this Spurs fan is pretty happy about it."
Lozzzeeeee on Twitter:
"I was one of the few liverpool fans that never thought bringing back King Kenny would work...I was totally and utterly wrong."
2039: Luis Suarez goes for goal again but Brede Hangeland, who has had a forgettable night so far, gets in the way of his shot. The Fulham defender was probably relieved that Suarez didn't run at him that time... he's not got close to him so far.
2036: Another corner for Fulham. A shame they have conceded three goals because they are beginning to make a game of this. Glen Johnson is up again to head clear a dangerous Danny Murphy delivery.
2035: Fulham's best moment of a disastrous first half from their point of view. Clint Dempsey fires goalwards from a corner but Glen Johnson is in the right place to block the ball on the line.
From Chris the Red, via text: "Re Gabrielcoy. We don't need to pummel Fulham to know we're coming back. And we recognise fear when we see it."
2031: Normal service is resumed. Liverpool sweep forward again, with Luis Suarez at the heart of the move... before the ball is, again, pulled back for Maxi Rodriguez to blast over.
2031: At last, some defending to do for Liverpool. Chris Baird sends over a cross from the right and Clint Dempsey is wating to get on the end of it, until Glen Johnson heads the ball to safety.
gabrielcoy on Twitter:
"Now we are going to have to put up with delusional Liverpool fans thinking they're going to win the league next season. Yawn."
2028: John Flanagan gets behind the Fulham defence (if that's what you can call it) but cannot quite control the ball. Chance gone. Close to half-an-hour gone in one of the most one-sided Premier League games I have seen this season, and Liverpool lead 3-0.
2025: Not for the first time tonight, Luis Suarez ghosts into the area - this time after escaping Brede Hangeland down the left. He closes in on goal but gets his finish all wrong as he tries to clip the ball past Mark Schwarzer at his near post. Moments later, Suarez is at it again, down the right-hand flank this time. He pulls it back for Maxi Rodriguez but the Argentine winger is wildly off target with his first-time shot. I'm not kidding - Liverpool could and should be five or six goals up.
mikehutchings9 on Twitter:
"Seriously what has Kenny done to Liverpool!? In 6 months we've gone from no hope to a team that could win a lot next season!"
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"9 - Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt has scored nine Premier League goals in his last eight appearances. Machine."
2020: I am not exaggerating when I say that Liverpool look like scoring every time they come forward. So far, they have done.
Liverpool goal: Oh dear, oh dear (if you are a Fulham fan). Oh my life (if you are a Liverpool fan). The goals keep coming but this one is all about a terrible, terrible error by Cottagers keeper Mark Schwarzer, who lets Dirk Kuyt's speculative shot from the left-hand corner of the area slip past him at his near post. A horrible goal to concede, but Kuyt won't care - he has now scored in five consecutive games, becoming the first Liverpool player to do so for a decade. This is turning into a rout.
2016: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-3 Liverpool (Kuyt)
2015: Fulham manage their best spell of possession of the match, but it ends with a massive shout for a Liverpool penalty. Moussa Dembele mis-kicks when he shoots on the edge of the Reds box and the ball is hoofed forward for Luis Suarez to chase. Brede Hangeland appears to shove him over as he shapes to shoot, but referee Lee Mason waves Liverpool's appeals away.
2011: Fulham just haven't settled yet. Liverpool are hustling them out of possession all over the pitch, and then pouring forward. The home side need to take the sting out of this game, if they can.
Liverpool goal: Incredible. There is just no stopping Liverpool or Maxi Rodriguez right now. This time Glen Johnson surges down the right and his lofted cross finds Maxi arriving at the back post to smash the ball past Mark Schwarzer with a first-time finish. That is his sixth goal in the last three game. Fulham are simply shell-shocked.
2006 GOALFLASH Fulham 0-2 Liverpool (Maxi Rodriguez)
2006: Liverpool's goal came after just 31 seconds. So much for Fortress Craven Cottage...
2005: Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy looks pumped tonight against his old club and is quickly in referee Lee Mason's book for a late lunge on Lucas. Murphy is in Mason's face soon afterwards with some backchat, and is a bit lucky not to get a second yellow in quick succession.
Liverpool goal: Wow. Some start at the Cottage. Luis Suarez escapes down the left and his low cross takes a deflection off Carlos Salcido and brings a scrambling save from Mark Schwarzer, who manages to divert the ball away from the corner of the net and Dirk Kuyt, but into the path of Maxi Rodriguez who slots it into the opposite corner.
2001: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-1 Liverpool (Maxi Rodriguez)
2000: Here we go. Fulham get us started.
dunnwilson on Twitter:
"Liverpool just want to win tonight so that they finish above Everton. We can find a way to get out of the Europa league later."
GordonBaisley on Twitter:
"Big fan of King Kenny but hope Fulham thump 'em in tribute to Roy Hodgson. Most LFC fans were down on him from the word go."
1957: Ah, slight correction to 1942. Actually this is Dalglish and Hughes' first managerial meeting....
Not such a long wait then, really. Anyway, moving swiftly on - here come the teams, marching out as the sun sets at Craven Cottage.
From Lewis in Cardiff, via text: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't Fulham have an excellent chance of Europa League qualification through the fair play system??"
Yep, the Cottagers currently sit second in
the Premier League Fair Play table
and, if they stay there, will qualify for Europe if England, who are also currently second, finish in the top three countries in Uefa's Fair Play League... Fair to say the Cottagers would love to be involved again?
AlexWilson1992 on Twitter:
"Re 1909. I'm desperate to see Fulham qualify for the Europa League via the Fair Play table but its obvious that only teams who have no chance of Champions League football want it."
BenBo92 on Twitter:
"Re 1909. To question whether Liverpool want to qualify for the Europa League is laughable. Liverpool excel in Europe & strive for it."
mckenny2k4 on Twitter:
"Re 1909. The more football the starting XI play, the stronger the club will get. Europa League is a must for the Reds!"
From Billy at Craven Cottage, via text: "Standing as the Liverpool faithful pour in to the ground. Everyone appears confident, clearly due to the impact that The King has made...
1942: Mark Hughes and Kenny Dalglish had some titanic clashes during their playing days, but tonight is their first managerial meeting.
tell me that Hughes scored five Premier League goals (and plenty more in the old Div One and cup competitions) against Liverpool during his playing career - the most he scored against any club - but Fulham have have failed to score in six of the last seven top-flight matches against the Reds, including their last two meetings.
1936: And here's what Dalglish thinks, when asked whether being in the Europa League next season might damage his side's Champions League prospects: "I find it very difficult to predict the future. We've always said we would get our reward at the end of the season - we never set ourselves any target. We don't have that (Europa League) problem yet and so until it arises we don't have to solve anything - the biggest problem I have is Fulham. There will be problems to be solved at the end of the season and if we get the Europa League that will be one of the problems."
FULHAM v LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS Sam Sheringham
reports: "Jamie Carragher makes his 666th Liverpool appearance, taking him above Ray Clemence into second on the all-time list. The Reds are unchanged, with striker Andy Carroll not considered fit enough to travel as he battles a knee problem. Fulham make three changes to the side which beat Sunderland 3-0 with Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland returning from injury and illness respectively, and Moussa Dembele preferred to Bobby Zamora up front."
From Sam in Milton Keynes, via text: "Re 1909. Europe for Liverpool is a must! The club needs it and we can always use it as an opportunity to give our exciting youngsters some valuable experience. The king won't settle for sixth."
richplatt on Twitter:
"Re 1909. If Liverpool qualify for the Europa League, I would want to register the youth squad for experience and leave the 1st eleven to win the league!"
sparrowredhouse on Twitter:
"Re 1909. Europa league is a good chance to blood in the academy kids. That said, Kennys 'in at the deep end' approach seems to work too."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"6 - Fulham have kept six clean sheets in their last seven Premier League games at Craven Cottage. Statuesque."
1927: It's not just me slating the Europa League by the way... Here's what Redknapp had to say: "Teams who get into the Europa League want to get out of it. Half of them put reserve teams out in the early stages and it's difficult to play every Thursday and Sunday. It disrupts things. We didn't have European football last year and we finished fourth. That was a big advantage to us. If there are teams around you in the Europa League, you want to keep them in it."
1924: The form they are in, Liverpool fans probably wish it was August, not May... but surely the Reds' run bodes well for next season? It's the same for Fulham too - another side finishing with a flourish. Much to look forward to tonight too, but it won't be the same if you lot don't get involved.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or feel free to text me via 81111 (UK) instead.
1920: BREAKING LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS As you can see from the line-ups below, Andy Carroll is not fit enough to make the Liverpool squad tonight, and has not travelled to Craven Cottage. More on both teams in just a jiffy.
FULHAM v LIVERPOOL (2000 BST) Sam Sheringham
reports: "Kenny Dalglish takes his resurgent Liverpool side to Craven Cottage in search of a victory that would boost their chances of a spot in the Europa League ahead of next weekend's showdown with Spurs. But Fulham are also in great form, having won six of their last seven home games to climb into mid-table respectability. Liverpool will be eager to avoid a repeat of last season's disastrous visit to the Cottage, when they lost 3-1 and had two men sent off."
1912: Yep Kenny Dalglish takes his revitalised Reds to Fortress Craven Cottage this evening to take on in-form Fulham. A win for Liverpool would see them leapfrog above Tottenham into fifth place, and that coveted (cough) Europa League spot. Those two sides play each other on Sunday... a case of loser takes all, or is that a bit unfair on the Europa League?
Fulham certainly enjoyed themselves when they were in it last year...
1909: Judging by what Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp
said over the weekend,
he would rather miss out on Europe altogether than qualify for next season's Europa League. How keen are Liverpool on more Thursday night action? We might just find out tonight...
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