South Americans run rampant as Liverpool continue to look strong with a demolition of feeble Fulham, Manchester City squeeze into the Champions League spot thanks to a gritty win over Tottenham, and great goals and blocks continue as Soccer365's Andrew Discenza runs down the midweek Premiership in a Nutshell.
By Andrew Discenza
South American duo Luiz Suarez & Maxi Rodriguez ran riot over a shockingly poor Fulham side, as Liverpool continued the Kenny Dalglish revival with a 5-2 thumping at Craven Cottage. Maxi will get the headlines for his second hat-trick in three matches, but Suarez was at the lively heart of it all, an exhilarating playmaker who is surely one of the Premiership’s best recent acquisitions. Rodriguez opened the scoring when Suarez’s ball in struck the post, and a complacent Fulham let it run to the Argentine to fire into the far corner with Mark Schwarzer out of position. Glen Johnson provided a high cross for the second, with Maxi given room to volley in between the shell-shocked keeper and defender. And he capped off his performance in stunning style, taking a deliberate touch outside the penalty area before lining up to crack a thunderbolt that beat Schwarzer for sheer pace and sailed into the top corner. Suarez, having created countless chances for himself and others, always eager to take on a man and never tiring of tearing Fulham apart, grabbed his deserved goal 15 minutes from time. Jonjo Shelvey sent the Uruguayan in behind with a defense-splitting pass, and Suarez rounded the keeper with ease and poked home in the same fluid movement.
Joe Hart looked every bit England’s number one when he made a fantastic save to keep Manchester City on track for Champions League qualification. Aaron Lennon swung in a cross for Steven Pienaar, whose downward header looked heading in when Hart flew to his left in an instant to palm away and keep a clean sheet for his side.
Mark Schwarzer, in contrast will have nightmares of the awful mistake that allowed Liverpool’s killer third goal. Dirk Kuyt had spun and shot on goal, but the ball was heading straight into the arms of the Australian goalkeeper. But when the ball reached him it somehow slipped from his grasp, and trickled agonizingly over the line.
Steve Sidwell scored a glorious volley that was nothing more than a consolation for Fulham. He collected Skrtel’s clearance with a deft touch, then sent an unstoppable half-volley flying into the top corner with Pepe Reina helpless to reach it.
Peter Crouch will be deeply disappointed, as his own goal was the difference between the sides as Tottenham lost 1-0 at Champions League rivals Manchester City. In fairness to the big striker, it was a well-worked short corner between Adam Johnson and James Milner that allowed a dangerous ball to be delivered at pace past the near post. Crouch was there and felt he had to intervene, but could only divert the ball past his own goalkeeper and into the net.
Brilliant Defending Continues
Glen Johnson made a fantastic block on the line when Simon Davies’ cross was met with a stinging first time shot by Clint Dempsey. Johnson had to react in a flash to stretch out a strong leg and keep the ball out of the bottom corner.
William Gallas made a stunning clearance to keep Tottenham in with a chance at Manchester City. Carlos Tevez had slipped Patrick Viera through on goal, and when the Frenchman clipped the ball over the keeper Gallas was there to deny his compatriot with a massive header on the goal line.
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