Stewart Downing Runs Rampant As Liverpool Cruises to 4-0 Win Over Fulham


Stewart Downing and John Arne RiiseLiverpool signed off from 2012 at Anfield with a 4-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham on Saturday night.

Martin Skrtel’s emphatic finish gave the Reds an early lead as he volleyed powerfully beyond Mark Schwarzer after controlling a corner in the box before Steven Gerrard doubled the lead prior to half-time with a neat finish.

Stewart Downing extended Liverpool’s advantage by cutting into the box and firing into the Kop end net in the early stages of the second half.

Luis Suarez wrapped it up in stoppage time to send Brendan Rodgers’ side into eighth in the table, just five points off third-place Arsenal.

The Reds went into the day’s late kick-off aiming to bounce back to winning ways following last weekend’s 3-1 Anfield reversal at the hands of Aston Villa.

Rodgers made a handful of changes in order to hand some of his stars a breather ahead of the hectic Festive period, meaning starts for the likes of Suso and Downing while Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen began on the bench.

Liverpool began the brighter of the teams and after Daniel Agger had headed over, and Jonjo Shelvey’s flick had caused panic in the box, Skrtel thumped them into an eighth-minute lead as he controlled Gerrard’s corner inside a crowded box and lashed a volley into the back of the net.

Just like rain that poured from the Merseyside sky, the home side’s pressure showed no indication of relenting — Downing and Agger both going close to extending the advantage, with the latter contriving to lift the ball over from inside the six-yard box as he tried to net from Suarez’s pull back.

In the 36th minute, however, Liverpool did claim a second. Downing’s intelligent reverse pass into the box found Gerrard’s burst, and the captain made no mistake in dispatching into the bottom corner first time.

Fulham had barely threatened — and their task of trying to salvage something from the contest was made all the more difficult when Downing added a third for the Reds after 51 minutes, with the winger surging into the box from the right and drilling home with aplomb.

Liverpool continued to pour forward, with Schwarzer required to produce a handful of saves to prevent the scoreline becoming even more emphatic, though he was helpless to stop Suarez from tapping in a fourth in injury time. journalists’ man of the match: Stewart Downing

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