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Fulham remind Liverpool how good it can get

March 19, 2010
Hyperbole is used too often in football. Almost every weekend, one of the top flight games comes with apocalyptic consequences.

All that exagerration should have been saved for yesterday evening, when Fulham defeated the might of Juventus by four goals to one.

It was a result of epic proportions, especially considering David Trezeguet’s goal inside two minutes had put the Italians 4-1 up overall seemingly ending the tie. Or not. Goals from Bobby Zamora, Clint Dempsey and a brace from Zoltan Gera created the unlikeliest of comebacks.

Roy Hodgson’s side produced a European come-back worthy of the other English team in action last night, Liverpool, with Clint Dempsey’s lob over Juve keeper Antonio Chimenti, reminiscent of a Steven Gerrard screamer in front of the Kop.

Last night’s 3-0 was a good result, but nothing more. Not a reutrn to last season’s Liverpool, and probably another false dawn that they may turn the corner in the run in for fourth place.

The scoreline flatters Liverpool, who despite skipper Gerrard’s early penalty failed to finish off a Lille side, who whilst posing a threat, should have been no match for Liverpool.

As the clock ticked towards 90, with the home side 2-0 in front and going through, things got nervy.

Clint Dempsey celebrates scoring Fulham's fourth goal. Action Images

Lille’s chance however came and went when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked a Ludovic Obraniak cross just over the bar. Had it gone in, Lille would have gone through on away goals.

With the 90 nearly up a Liverpool counter-attack allowed Fernando Torres to poke home the decisive third goal after Gerrard’s shot had been well saved by Lille keeper Mickael Landreau,

El Nino however still cut the frustrated figure he has done for most of the season.

His manager looks set to move on, as rumours of Rafa Benitez moving to Juventus or Real Madrid refuse to desist. Many expect the ‘he’s taken the club as far as he can,’line to be wheeled out at the end of the season.

Torres himself could also follow Benitez out of the door, especially if Manchester City or Tottenham pip the Reds to fourth place. Rumours persist that either Chelsea, or more obviously, Manchester City, would be prepared to spend £50 million on the Liverpool number nine and it is an offer than El Nino would have to think long and hard about.

One man certain to be leaving Liverpool is Albert Riera after claiming that Benitez doesn’t communicate with players and had ‘something personal’ against him.

Riera’s comments seem to have some substance, as insiders from the club have long said that Benitez isn’t the most personable of managers and often lacks in the human touch needed with some players. Word is that CSKA and Lokomotiv Moscow are willing to match Liverpool’s £8 million valuation of Riera.

No such problems as Fulham, as Roy Hodgson is suddenley the manager every fans wants to manager their club, getting the best out of unfancied players and putting Bobby Zamora in the frame for a place on the plane to South Africa in the process.

It’s been a fantastic season for the Cottagers, capped last night, with arugably the best performance by an English club in Europe for years. The kind of night Liverpool can only dream of at the moment.

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