Saturday 19th April 2008 @ 3pm
A second string Liverpool side eased past Fulham, with goals from two players who have spent much of the season on the fringe of the first team – Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch. The real star, was Mascherano, who completely dominated the midfield
All smiles as Jermaine Pennant grabs his second goal of the season.
Benitez sent out a second string side last season at Craven Cottage but the reds lost that day. It is perhaps testimony to the improvements in the squad that this team never really needed to break a sweat.
Voronin even had a good game.
Lucas Leiva put together a number of nice moves and he set up Pennant in the 17th minute, whose quick shot took Kasey Keller by surprise as it smashed in to the net.
Yossi Benayoun and Voronin had great chances to get on the scoresheet but it wasn’t until 20 minutes before time that the reds made the game secure.
Peter Crouch picked up the ball from Jermaine Pennant and fired a low shot which on reflection Kasey Keller should have done a little better with.
Last year, the reds weakened side caused a stir as it effectively helped Fulham stay in the Premiership. This year Liverpool have probably done the opposite.
Liverpool are now 8 points ahead of Everton with 9 points left to play for. Champions League qualification is, pretty much, secured.
Post Match Reaction
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
“I picked a team I believed could win the match. We now need just one more point to ensure fourth place in the league, even if Everton win all their remaining games.
“We can completely focus on the game against Chelsea now. We’ve talked a lot about boardroom matters for a long time but for now I just want to speak about football, if that’s possible.
“Javier Mascherano took three knocks but I think he will be okay.”
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
“We matched them quite well but once they got their first goal we were chasing the game and when they got the second goal it put us out of contention.
We can retain hope of staying up. The task gets harder because we have not recovered any points on the teams above us and we have lost another game and another opportunity.
“We have given a good account of ourselves but we do not have anything to show for it.”
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Skrtel, Hyypia (Carragher 46), Riise, Pennant, Lucas, Mascherano (Alonso 72), Benayoun, Voronin (Aurelio 82), Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Torres.
Goals: Pennant 17, Crouch 70.
Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy (Andreasen 78), Dempsey, Healy (Nevland 76), McBride (Kamara 81).
Subs Not Used: Warner, Bocanegra.
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).