Liverpool produced an emphatic and crushing display to blitz Fulham 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday, with Luis Suarez once again the main man.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are tied for most goals in the Premier League (8). Steven Gerrard is tied for most assists (4).— LFC USA (@LFCUSA) November 9, 2013
The tempo and the attack from the home side was relentless from the first whistle, with an altered 4-4-2 shape providing the basis for a mobile and fluid attack, which interchanged positions at will.
Suarez and Philippe Coutinho already had chances before the Reds took the lead with Steven Gerrard's free-kick delivery inch-perfect for a Suarez header. His effort was headed toward goal but changed direction after it struck the arm of Fernando Amorebieta, ending inside the near post for the opening goal.
The pace of the game picked up even further with the next goal arriving via the head of Martin Skrtel, who thumped the ball in after another Gerrard set-piece delivery.
Fulham barely had the ball in the Liverpool penalty area by this point, and the game looked all but over on 35 minutes when a great move involving Gerrard and Jordan Henderson resulted in a through pass releasing Suarez to drill home the third.
After half-time, the Reds had a wonderful chance to score inside five minutes with Suarez, Sturridge and Suarez again all denied in the same attack by a combination of good goalkeeping and wasteful shooting.
Just a few moments later, though, Suarez had his second as pressure high up the field led to him having a free run in on goal to score at the near post.
Chances came and went for Sturridge, Henderson and Coutinho—who had nine shots himself, more than double Fulham as an entire team—but the Reds couldn't add to their tally as they moved back up to second in the table.
32 - Liverpool had 32 shots at Fulham’s goal today. Peppered.— Opta Liverpool (@OptaLiverpool) November 9, 2013
Key Player Grades
Steven Gerrard: A
Sublime set-piece delivery got the Reds off and running with Gerrard setting up the first two goals from a free-kick and a corner. He picked up his hat-trick of assists with a through pass for Suarez's second goal. Gerrard's all-round game was based on expansive passing, pressing high up the pitch and being allowed far, far too much time and space on the ball—and he made Fulham pay.
Luis Suarez: A
Few teams can stop Suarez creating and scoring, least of all one as woeful as Fulham were on Saturday at Anfield. He tore them apart time and time again with his movement, aggression and willingness to run behind the defence, and his goals were just reward.
Glen Johnson: A
Having missed the defeat at Arsenal, Johnson had a huge impact on Liverpool's performance in the first half, helping mount attack after attack down the right side in combination with Henderson. He was a real danger and created several chances for his team-mates.
Following the 4-0 win and Chelsea's late draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, the Reds head into the international break in second place in the Premier League. They've lost just once in their last six games against table-toppers Arsenal, and they face Everton in the derby in their next match.
Fulham remain two points and two places outside the drop zone ahead of Sunday's games and play Swansea City next.