Predictable yet so demoralising. As Luis Suarez and Liverpool disintegrated Fulham’s resolve, the ever joyous Saturday 3pm kick-off quickly turned into an excruciating form of mental punishment as attack after attack looked highly likely to end in a copious amount of goals.
I mention predictable as the Whites’ form has been somewhat non-existent since a rare away domination in South-East London in late October. In the aftermath of the anomaly, which culminated in a rare return of four goals in 90 minutes, the word abysmal doesn’t half describe the performances and effort produced by the players and coaching staff alike.
Liverpool were quite simply dominant, with a share of 68% of the possession and a staggering 32 shots on goal, and at times making the SW6 outfit look a pub team at best. Such an enormous amount of the ball and a great deal of chances has questioned their inability to convert their opportunities, which I can assure you is not a pressing concern following a 4-0 demolition.
The controversial figure of Luis Suarez once again demonstrated his world class ability and staked an increasing claim towards being the best player in the Premier League.
Fulham’s back four were run ragged, and the Uruguyan played a big part in that. The former Ajax man’s enthusiasm is evident on the pitch. and despite his unsavoury antics, it is a joy to see a player with refreshing talent embrace the game in such a manner.
However, it would be unfair to single out Mr. Suarez as it was a clinical team display by the Reds, with the midfield running the show via Steven Gerrard and Phillipe Coutinho’s presence which proved to be a constant threat throughout.
Despite the impressive display from the home side, it was just as much the failures of my precious team which was a big contributing factor.
Shock horror to Fulham fans came in the form of two goals conceded from set pieces, with the inability to deal with them ever present. The Cottage faithful can be at ease however, as Martin Jol has assured fans that the team have worked on them in training, thank goodness for that. It’s nice to see that the methods at Motspur Park are finally paying dividends.
Such an occurrence has been too frequent for my liking, and it is clear that the organisational skills of both Martin Jol and his backroom staff have been instrumental in our misdemeanors from dead ball situations.
The ineffectiveness has become so bad that every corner conceded feels like a Rory Delap throw in at the Britannia, which would fill even the most optimistic fan with worry.
Aside from set pieces, Fulham’s performance nearly matched the comical levels of Austin Powers’ Mike Myers, who made the pilgrimage to his beloved Anfield, and it was evident that the game had been lost before the whistle had been blown, with the negative setup and attitude oozing off of the hallowed Merseyside turf.
Poor results away from home have been customary and part of the declining package that comes with being a Fulham fan, but never has such negativity on the road been showcased than in the last two away outings in the league.
Jol’s tactics of looking to contain the Reds and somehow leave the North-West with a point was apparent, and after a while, was found out and quickly thrown in the bin with the home side penetrating at will.
The negative mentality is defined through the body language and attitude of Dimitar Berbatov. In recent weeks, the Bulgarian’s presence has had a rather corrosive effect with the unwanted disease slowly spreading and reaching epidemic realms in the Fulham camp.
Berbatov’s lack of interest has quickly overshadowed his undeniable talent, and his persona has begun to infuriate myself and the majority of suffering Fulham fans. With the same approach to saving energy as a Greenpeace activist, it has become clear that the silky striker is indeed Martin Jol’s lovechild.
Questions have, and will be asked about both teams in the aftermath of this encounter, but they will derive and be associated with different ends of the Barclays Premier League table.
Popular opinion still suggests that Liverpool cannot and will not compete for the title come the closing weeks of the season, but I would find it hard to rule them out of a challenge. For me, a top four finish looks an increasing certainty, with a pursuit for a first league title in more than two decades also a possible outcome.
The Merseyside club seem to have added the much needed strength in depth at Anfield, and the long awaited striker to partner the clinical Luis Suarez in Daniel Sturridge. Whilst others may burst into hysterics, the club’s start to the season has been impressive and can be extended into the new year.
On the other hand, Fulham continue to look like a villain in quicksand with the fans patience with Martin Jol long gone. It can be safely said that 99% are adamant that the Dutchman should be relieved of his duties.
Circumstances look rather bleak on the banks of the Thames at this moment in time and it is obvious that Jol needs to go. However, I will leave this with an air of positivity, in my belief that with the right man, we can see the good times again. Maybe I should lay off the drink.