English Premiership

Suarez rampant as Reds win

2013-11-09 22:21
Luis Suarez (AFP)

Liverpool - Luis Suarez has maintained his remarkable goal-scoring form since his return from suspension with two goals in a 4-0 Liverpool victory over Fulham that poses major questions about the future of Cottagers manager Martin Jol.

Suarez, who flew to Istanbul on a private jet for Uruguay's World Cup play-off game against Jordan immediately after the win at Anfield on Saturday, has now scored eight times in six Premier League games since serving his ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Brendan Rodgers' team are now two points behind leaders Arsenal, who travel to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Liverpool had the game effectively wrapped up by the time they claimed their opening goal after 23 minutes and, just for good measure, proceeded to add two more over the ensuing 13 minutes as Fulham capitulated in alarming fashion.

All had the stamp of midfielder Steven Gerrard on them, the first two coming directly from his set-pieces, although Suarez, as has so often been the case throughout his controversial Anfield career, provided the end product in devastating fashion.

On 23 minutes, Liverpool capitalised on their strong start when their captain's free-kick from the right was met at the near-post by Suarez whose header flew in via the shoulder of defender Fernando Amorebieta who was credited with the own goal.

Fulham might have been expected to learn from that painful lesson but just three minutes later, Liverpool produced an almost identical goal, this from a right-wing corner from Gerrard.

With Fulham's defence embarrassingly absent, defender Martin Skrtel was allowed to surge deep into the area from where he planted a stooping header into the back of the visitors' goal.

Worse was to come from Fulham's back four when Suarez claimed a third goal on 36 minutes.

Gerrard was again the architect, his sweeping pass to Jordan Henderson stretching a defence that was already looking ragged and desperate for their torture to end.

But Henderson had other ideas, slipping through a pass which Suarez took in his stride before beating the keeper with a low shot into the bottom corner, the sort of finish that has become his trademark.

Given that Fulham had conceded three goals in the opening 22 minutes at home to Manchester United seven days earlier, this was not the sort of display likely to do the job security of Jol much good and the afternoon threatened to become progressively embarrassing.

Midfielder Philippe Coutinho might have scored a first half hat-trick with a series of excellent long-range shots, one of which drew a spectacular acrobatic stop from Maarten Stekelenburg.

And, following the restart, Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were denied in quick succession by excellent stops from the goalkeeper before the former volleyed over from a rebound with the goal at his mercy.

It was an uncharacteristic error from Suarez and one he would not repeat after 53 minutes when Fulham's dismal defending somehow managed to reach new depths.

Full-back Kieran Richardson was caught in possession deep in his own half and with no security around him by Gerrard who continued his run of having a hand in every goal by sending Suarez clear.

The Uruguayan sent his marker the wrong way with a clever move before burying the ball into the roof of the goal.

Coutinho again came close, with a low shot that was smothered by the over-worked Stekelenburg and a looping header from Suarez lacked the power to trouble the goalkeeper.

But, for the second week in succession, the manner of Fulham's defeat, rather than the result itself, left a lingering question mark over their manager's future.

Results on Saturday:

Liverpool 4-0 Fulham
Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
Southampton 4-1 Hull City
Chelsea 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Aston Villa 2-0 Cardiff City
Norwich City 3-1 West Ham United


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