Friday 09 May 2014
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Maxi Rodriguez scored a hat-trick as Liverpool kept alive their hopes of a place in the next season’s UEFA Europa League with an emphatic victory at Craven Cottage.
The Argentina forward scored twice in the first seven minutes and again in the 70th while Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez were also on the scoresheet for Liverpool. The result helped the Reds, who were fifth, open up a two-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur, although the north Londoners had a match in hand. Fulham dropped down a place to 10th after the loss.
Rodriguez opened his account in the first minute of the match by slamming home a loose ball after Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had parried a deflected Suarez cross. Six minutes later it was 2-0 as Rodriguez volleyed in a cross from Glen Johnson.
The match was seemingly beyond the hosts in the 16th minute when Kuyt scored for the fifth consecutive match as his speculative effort deceived Schwarzer. It was the Dutchman’s 14th goal of the season and 12th in the Barclays Premier League.
Fulham brought on striker Bobby Zamora at half-time and started the second period more brightly. After Zamora and Clint Dempsey had each come close, they pulled a goal back when Mousa Dembele finished well from a Zamora pass in the 57th minute.
It proved a brief respite, however, as Rodriguez completed his second hat-trick in three matches in the 70th minute with a shot from outside the penalty area. Five minutes later, substitute Jonjo Shelvey set up Suarez to round Schwarzer and tuck the ball home for his fourth goal since joining Liverpool in January.
“Suarez was fantastic,” said Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish of the January signing. “Even in our wildest dreams we couldn’t have thought he’d settle as well as he has done. He has graced the pitch every time he has stepped on it.”
Steve Sidwell scored a spectacular half-volley in the 86th minute for Fulham but it was Liverpool’s day and a special one for Jamie Carragher, whose 666th appearance put him second behind Ian Callaghan in the club’s all-time list.
“We didn’t really see that performance coming," Fulham manager Mark Hughes said. "We thought we could ask questions of a very good Liverpool side but we were right on the back foot from the first 30 seconds."