Liverpool vs. Fulham: Scores, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIDecember 22, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:  Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers gestures as Fulham Manager Martin Jol (L) looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield on December 22, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Fans at Anfield have been waiting for a sign that Brendan Rodgers is the right man for Liverpool, and they received their wish as the Reds trounced Fulham 4-0. 

The Cottagers become the first team to lose to Queens Park Rangers last week, and it took just eight minutes for the team to get on track for another disappointing performance. Martin Skrtel scored early on a fantastic volley to get the home crowd on its feet.

In the 36th minute, skipper Steven Gerrard doubled Liverpool's lead on a goal that Rodgers will be extremely proud of when he reviews this match. In order to erase any doubt of a Fulham comeback, Stewart Downing deservedly got onto the score sheet shortly after the second half started. 

Once up 3-0, Liverpool wisely started focusing on possession and bringing on defensive substitutes. Each replacement did his duty admirably, and the attacking players left on the pitch continued to threaten.

Luis Suarez capped off a dominant performance for the Reds with a goal in the closing moments of the match. 



Steven Gerrard, Liverpool: A

While Gerrard's age appeared to be catching up with him in previous matches this season, the Liverpool captain was playing like he was a young man again. With a goal and two assists in this match, he was the best player on the pitch. 

From winning the ball to distributing and scoring, Gerrard did everything a manger could ask of a central midfielder, and the Reds will be winning many more games if he continues in this form. 


Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham: C

Berbatov has revived Fulham's attack since moving to London, but he was not a factor at Anfield today. Playing as a lone striker, he failed to make Pepe Reina worried at any point.

He never really got a clean look at goal, and he rarely found any sort of space. Without Berbatov playing at a high level, Fulham tends to struggle in the attack, and this was certainly the case in this match.  


Stewart Downing, Liverpool: A

A season ago, Downing was maligned as a playmaker who could not make any plays. When Kenny Dalglish was fired, many fans joked that this was Downing's first assist of the season. 

But today, the 28-year-old played an incredibly intelligent pass through the Fulham defense to set up Gerrard's goal. He also had a goal in the match and deserves a significant amount of praise for his play. 


Brede Hangeland, Fulham: C

While Fulham's defensive collapse is not entirely Hangeland's fault, he bears the majority of the responsibility as the team's captain and centre-back. 

The Cottagers were tormented by Liverpool's slick passing, and the defenders were never able to get off their heels. This was a disappointing day for all of the Fulham players, but the back line will be especially downtrodden after its performance. 


Luis Suarez, Liverpool: B+

Liverpool did not receive a first-class performance from Luis Suarez, even though he was able to get a goal in garbage time. Still, this is a fantastic sign for the Reds. 

Suarez received a significant amount of attention from the Fulham defense, and other attacking players were able to take advantage of this and create goal-scoring chances. This is what must happen going forward for Liverpool to continue its success. 


What's Next?

Both teams will return to the pitch for EPL matches on the day after Christmas. 

Fulham will host Southampton and hope to record just its second victory in the last 10 matches. Liverpool will have a difficult time getting its fourth victory in five fixtures as it will travel to take on Stoke City's stingy defense.