Liverpool 4 Fulham 0 match report: Martin Jol pleads not to be judged on dreadful performance after Liverpool rip Fulham apart at Anfield

Luis Suarez was on target twice in the victory

Anfield

If you want to compile a checklist of whether a manager is about to be sacked, Martin Jol ticks the boxes. Did he finish last season badly (check)? Did he bring in a lot of players over the summer (check)? Is the club run by a man who did not appoint him (check)? Is there an international break coming up (check)? Are they playing dreadfully (check and check again)?

It would be cruel to judge a Fulham manager on results at Anfield. Only one man has ever overseen a victory at Liverpool and he is the one whose big bull neck is now on the block. Logically, his fate should be decided over Fulham’s next four games, all of which are in London, but logic often has very little to do with football.

Fulham’s 1-0 win at Anfield in May last year was one of those that persuaded the Liverpool owner, John W Henry, that despite the two Wembley finals he had led them to, the romantic experiment of bringing back Kenny Dalglish had to end.

Jol argued, fairly convincingly, that the fixtures he should be judged by were the ones against Crystal Palace and Stoke – what he called “the ordinary teams” – rather than the recent crushing defeats by Manchester United and Liverpool. “We have to suffer during these games,” he said. “But we will be fine.” When he rose to leave the press conference, the sponsors’ background he had been speaking behind came crashing down.

Fulham Manager Martin Jol gives orders to Ashkan Dejagah during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield Fulham Manager Martin Jol gives orders to Ashkan Dejagah during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield  

Shahid Khan, who bought Fulham and promptly removed the statue of Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage, will have to back Jol’s belief that this was not the afternoon to decide his future.

Had Jol selected the statue for this game it would have moved only marginally less than Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian, who operated as a very lone striker, was brought off to jeers and laughter, although he was among the least culpable. Liverpool’s defeat at Arsenal was an injection of reality for those who imagine they are the real deal but against anything less than top-quality opposition Brendan Rodgers is in charge of a murderously good side.

But for some brilliant goalkeeping from Maarten Stekelenburg, the result might have matched the 7-0 humbling Norwich suffered at Manchester City that pushed Chris Hughton to the brink. There was one instinctive push over the bar from Philippe Coutinho in the first half and two more in the space of seconds to deny Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

 

Martin Skrtel of Liverpool (obscured by #35) scores the second goal Martin Skrtel of Liverpool (obscured by #35) scores the second goal  

But for Steven Gerrard, the Dutchman might have had the very thin consolation of being man of this particular match. This, however, was an afternoon that showed the Liverpool captain as he has become in the autumn of his career, no longer a box-to-box midfielder but a great, creative user of a football. He had a hand in all four goals.

“I felt his delivery was as good as it gets,” Rodgers said. “Nobody delivers a ball like Steven Gerrard. I told the players that they are not utilising the quality he delivers every week. When I first came here there was a nervousness, a vulnerability about the group when it came to these type of games but we are becoming relentless.”

You could gauge Fulham’s attitude from the kick-off, from which they played the ball back to their goalkeeper. Stekelenburg punted it up-field, Fulham promptly lost possession and, before 45 seconds were up, they had conceded a corner from which Daniel Agger almost scored.

Jol loathed the way Fulham conceded the opening two goals. The first was a Gerrard free-kick that Suarez and Fernando Amorebieta both went to meet. Suarez had a better leap, the Venezuelan had the advantage of height and turned it past his own goalkeeper. Three minutes later, Amorebieta sprinted to meet Gerrard’s corner but was beaten by Martin Skrtel’s shaven head.

Jol had made Berbatov captain, although Sir Alex Ferguson described the Bulgarian as a man unusually lacking in self-confidence for a centre forward when he played for Manchester United.

There was nothing remotely inspirational about his leadership and when Gerrard took the ball past him with a fabulous flick, a cheer rolled around Anfield. Jordan Henderson received a lovely crossfield ball from his captain and moved it through to Suarez. Jol, who had managed the Uruguayan at Ajax, described him as “the best penalty-area player in the world”. Now he proved it and when Gerrard won the ball from Kieran Richardson after the interval, he did so in front of the Kop.

Mike Myers, the man who gave the world Austin Powers, and who paraded around the directors’ box before kick-off, would have loved it. His parents’ home in Toronto was “a shrine to Liverpool” and he was “jazzed to be here”. Fulham were rather less so.

 

Luis Suarez against Fulham Luis Suarez against Fulham  

 

Liverpool (4-4-2): Mignolet; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Cissokho (Luis Enrique, 61); Henderson, Lucas Leiva, Gerrard (Allen, 66), Coutinho; Suarez, Sturridge (Moses, 76).

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Stekelenburg; Zverotic (Hughes, 61), Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson;  Dejagah, Sidwell, Parker; Sidwell, Kacaniklic (Ruiz, h-t), Kasami; Berbatov (Karagounis, 83).

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Match rating: 6/10

Suggested Topics
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home