Liverpool Victorious In 7 Goal Thriller
An unchanged eleven from Dalglish sprung immediately into action with Suarez on a run into the box, his pass aimed at the approaching Kuyt and Meireles took a deflection and Schwarzer managed only to get a foot to it to make a clearance. After splaying out the ball came to an awaiting Maxi Rodriguez who struck to put the Reds 1-0 up in what i had down as 32 seconds - phenomenal.
Little time to even catch a breath and Liverpool were on the attack again, Glen Johnson saw his chance when Salcido failed to encroach on his attack down the wing, a floating cross fell beautifully to none other than Maxi Rodriguez, the Argentinian sent the volley into the back of the net and a lovely finish meant Liverpool were 2-0 up in 6 minutes.
It's something we never saw under Hodgson and something that faded away at the end of the Rafa era, that punch to the start of a game, an attacking threat that requires no build up, it is simply always present. Any time Suarez touched the ball the switch would flick and Fulham's defence would crumble. It's brilliant to see and worrying for any sides who are still to face our Uruguayan.
After looking on the chalkboard stats Fulham actually held their own in terms of passing and interception but although Liverpool allowed Fulham to get a lot of balls to their man what they didn't do was allow them to get into space. Oppositions usually have pockets where they can play one or two threatening balls through but with players like Spearing working overtime, constantly harassing the likes of Danny Murphy, Fulham were struggling to create play. The tightness of the Reds flustered Mark Hughes' side and forced them into putting in shots they'd never think of in order to get on the score sheet.
16 minutes and Kuyt who is on that super scoring run scored Liverpool's third. Glen Johnson was again involved after playing an inviting through ball to Kuyt. His shot from just inside the area was more of a punt than anything else but after a poor error from Schwarzer, the Fulham goalkeeper was beaten at his near post and Dirk had got his five in five.
Not even half time and Dalglish was making a mockery of the Craven Cottage fortress it had become of late, with the lads all carrying out instructions and still the clear threat of more goals to come this was a brilliant night out for the make shift Kop End that had travelled all the way to London.
Kuyt himself paid tribute to the noise levels and i think it's safe to say the atmosphere created was fantastic!
Towards the end of the first half with Liverpool having a rest on the scoring front it was only really Clint Dempsey causing problems for Fulham, an attempt that was cleared by Glen Johnson and a decent shot that was sent just wide nearly saw the American grab his side a goal.
Fulham boss Mark Hughes brought on Zamora at half time and took off Davies. Liverpool made no substitutions but Raul Meireles pulled up a couple of minutes into the second half and was replaced with Jonjo Shelvey.
Fulham managed to get on the score sheet via Dembele just after the 50 minute mark. A poor pass from Skrtel meant Fulham gained some possession and they finally got themselves a consolation goal.
A spell of Fulham attacks now ensued but even with a boost of confidence the cottagers failed to put pressure on the scoreline immediately.
Big name Gudjohnsen was replaced with plain old English Johnson after an ineffective spell from the ex Chelsea player.
Before Johnson could even get settled he found his side conceding yet again after Maxi completed his second hat trick in 3 starts for the Reds. A speculative strike from outside the box swept past Schwarzer in stunning style. (I promise you i never noticed that bombardment of alliteration until i proof read this! Haha.)
If you're gonna finish off a hat trick you may as well do it in style! The heartbeat tune had been ringing out around Craven Cottage for most of the match but a particularly vociferous version was bellowing out now. You'd be fooled for thinking Liverpool were chasing 5th it felt more like it was the start of next season. High spirits are the trend at the moment and the excitement is clear to see.
5 goals in and apparently this still wasn't enough entertainment for either side. Luis Suarez felt after the amount of work he'd put in, he probably deserved a bit of celebration himself. A delightful pass from Jonjo Shelvey fell perfectly to the number 7 who took it round a surely embarrassed Schwarzer and put it calmly into the net.
Another 5 goals after the battering of Birmingham and this time it from away from home. Anyone still doubting the Dalglish factor needs to clean their glasses!
Maxi got a standing ovation as he was replaced with Joe Cole at 80 minutes and the beaming smile on Maxi's face was wonderful to see. There were times when it felt like he might end up drifting into a squad role but thankfully the King is man managing him to perfection.
Fulham got themselves a second before the 90 minutes were up and Steve Sidwell can take a bow after a peach of a strike taken in similar fashion to the Maxi one earlier in the game. No celebration though which was a shame because it was a superb goal.
Mark Hughes admitted faults in his post match interview whilst Dalglish when asked about chasing fourth replied with something like "I want to be 1st". I know sometimes we get carried away but all the signs are there for a brilliant season if we can get off to a good start in August.
With Spurs up next wouldn't it be brilliant to put them in their place?!