Five Favourite Wins – A series where Pete Spencer looks back at his five favourite wins by Liverpool against their upcoming opponents.
23rd September 1986, League Cup Second Round, 1st leg
LIVERPOOL (4) 10 (Rush 8, 76, Wark 10, 63, Whelan 28, McMahon 44, 66, 71, 79, Nicol83)
FULHAM (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Gillespie, Lawrenson, Hansen, Beglin; Nicol, Wark, McMahon, Whelan; Rush Dalglish
FULHAM: Vaughan; Marshall, Scott, Hoddy, Cottington; Achampong, Lewington, Barnett, Parker; Coney, Kerrins
This series has solely concentrated on First Division/Premier League meetings since 1975. However, there haven’t been as many games between these two at Anfield during that time, as other fixtures. So, I’ve included a couple of League Cup meetings. The first is a classic encounter from the 1986-87 season.
The League Cup, sponsored by Littlewoods, had reached the Second Round which was over two legs. However, after the first 45 minutes the tie was effectively over. Liverpool, who were double winners the season before had just been beaten at Southampton in the League. Fulham were in the Third Division (now League One) having suffered relegation the season before, had just won games against Bolton and Notts County and in buoyant mood. But it was all to come crashing down around them.
Only 13,498 turned up at Anfield but those who did were in for a real treat. Fulham could’ve taken the lead but Dean Coney miscued his shot and the chance had gone begging. Then 8 minutes in and Ian Rush put the home side in front. Two minutes later and John Wark had doubled the lead. Ronnie Whelan grabbed the third goal before Steve McMahon made it 4-0 just before half-time. McMahon was to end up with the man-of-the-match award to cap a memorable night for Dalglish’s first signing as manager. In the second half was when the home side ran riot but they didn’t add to their tally until after the hour when John Wark scored his 2nd of the night.
Three minutes later and McMahon got his 2nd as well as Liverpool moved into a 6-0 lead. Liverpool were then awarded a penalty, which McMahon took to try and complete his hat-trick – he missed. But it didn’t take him long to make amends as McMahon got his third on 71 minutes. Ian Rush, who started it all, then scored his 2nd of the night to make it 8-0, before McMahon netted his 4th of the night to make it 9-0.
With still 7 minutes on the clock, Steve Nicol became the 5th scorer of the night and Liverpool had reached double figures. 10-0 is still a record in the League Cup and was just one of those nights when everything went right for the home side and wrong for the visitors.
Ian Rush later described their finishing as ‘razor-sharp’ and said the keeper ‘didn’t stand a chance’. He also reckoned he could’ve had 4 goals himself but had to settle for just 2. Liverpool went onto win the 2nd leg 3-2 for an easy aggregate win, 13-2. They reached the Final of the competition but lost to Arsenal, 1-2 in the first game they had lost when Ian Rush scored. They would also finish 2nd in the League to Everton. Fulham finished 18th in the Third Division, just 3 places off another relegation.
5th October 1993, League Cup Second Round, 2nd Leg
LIVERPOOL (2) 5 (Fowler 13, 21, 47, 55, 70)
FULHAM (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Jones, Wright, Ruddock, Dicks; Stewart, Clough, Redknapp, Hutchisonn; Fowler, Rush
FULHAM: Stannard; Morgan, Angus, Ferney, Pike; Eckhardt, Thomas, Onwere, Kelly (Jupp); Farrell, Brazil
Seven years after suffering their worst defeat back in 1986, Fulham were drawn against Liverpool again in the League Cup Second Round. Fulham were still in the third tier of English football and had beaten Colchester to get here. Another sparse crowd for a League Cup match turned up and witnessed a goalscoring sensation come of age. The game was all about one man, Robbie Fowler.
Liverpool had won the 1st leg, 3-1 with Fowler scoring the third goal. It was his debut for the club, which made his exploits in the 2nd leg all the more reason to take notice. Within the opening 15 minutes of the 2nd leg, he’d extended Liverpool’s aggregate lead. Rob Jones hit a powerful shot from about 30 yards which Fulham keeper, Jim Stannard could only parry, and the 18 year old Fowler pounced to open the scoring.
Soon after, Liverpool had a free-kick in the penalty area, and instead of blasting the ball at the wall, Ruddock played it square where Fowler fired it into the net for his 2nd of the night. 2-0 it was at half-time but the second half belonged to Fowler. Within two minutes of the re-start, Fowler completed his hat-trick as Rob Jones joined the attack on the right and squared the ball for Fowler to score from close range. Before then, Grobbelaar had been called upon to make a double save to deny the visitors but that was really the last they were able to muster by way of a challenge.
Ten minutes into the second half and Fowler had his 4th goal as he headed in a Julian Dicks cross. Liverpool were now rampant as the visitors suffered for the their first-half efforts and with still 20 minutes of the game remaining, Jamie Redknapp played a great through ball for Fowler to run onto and slotted the ball past Stannard for his 5th goal of the night.
He became the 5th Liverpool player to score 5 goals or more in the same game, and had announced himself on the stage with a bang. 5 goals, one with his head, one with his right and the other three with his left.
This was a disappointing season for both clubs. Liverpool finished 8th in the League. They went out in Round Four of the League Cup losing to Wimbledon in a penalty shootout and then suffered the embarrassment of being dumped out in the FA Cup at home to Bristol City. For Fulham, this season represented a nadir as they were relegated to English football’s basement.
15th March 2006
LIVERPOOL (2) 5 (Fowler 16, Brown og 34, Morientes 70, Crouch 89, Warnock 90)
FULHAM (1) 1 (John 25)
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Traore; Garcia, Gerrard, Hamann, Kewell (Warnock); Morientes (Crouch), Fowler (Cisse)
FULHAM: Warner; Knight, Rosenior, Pearce, Bridge; Pembridge, Brown, Malbranque, Radzinski; Boa Morte, John
Twelve and a half years after Robbie Fowler tormented Fulham in the League Cup, he was back at Anfield in his second spell with the club. He’d had a goal disallowed on his first game back against Birmingham but had yet to find the net after his dream move back to the place where he made his name. It was almost as if he was waiting for Fulham, as 16 minutes into the game he gave the home side the lead.
Harry Kewell took a corner on the left which was flicked on by Luis Garcia and Fowler was at the far post to head the ball in. The crowd went wild and Fowler had now drawn level with Kenny Dalglish in the all-time goalscoring list for the club with 172 goals. Ten minutes later and Collins John had equalised for the visitors as he ran onto a good ball from Boa Morte. Fulham were sitting in 16th place in the Premier League, which illustrated how far the club had come since the ‘Fowler-game’ in 1993. After 34 minutes Liverpool restored their lead when Fowler and Garcia combined to put Kewell away on the right and his cross was turned into his own net by Michael Brown.
In the second half Luis Garcia was unlucky to hit the angle of the post and bar and then in the 70th minute Cisse’s header was palmed out by former Liverpool reserve keeper, Tony Warner, and Fernando Morientes was on hand to turn the ball in for his first goal for three months.
As full time approached, Benitez sent on Peter Crouch to replace Morientes and he scored Liverpool’s 4th. Cisse’s cross into the area was volleyed back across by Gerrard and Crouch converted the opportunity. Soon after, in injury time, Steve Finnan’s close range shot was blocked by Warner only for Stephen Warnock to score his first goal for Liverpool and complete the scoring. 5-1 probably flattered the home side as Fulham had done well to repel them for most of the game but the night belonged to Fowler.
Liverpool ended the season 3rd in the table and won the FA Cup beating West Ham on penalties. Fulham finished the season in 12th comfortably clear of relegation.
9th December 2006
LIVERPOOL (0) 4 (Gerrard 54, Carragher 60, Garcia 66, Gonzalez 90)
FULHAM (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise; Garcia (Fowler), Gerrard, Alonso; Pennant, Kuyt (Gonzalez), Bellamy (Crouch)
FULHAM: Lastuvka; Knight, Volz, Pearce, Rosenior; Boa Morte, Jensen, Brown, Diop (Christanval); McBride (John), Radzinski
Fulham’s next visit to Anfield was another blow to their goal difference. Liverpool were in 5th after 16 matches and still unbeaten at home. Fulham were down in 13th with just 1 win on the road. Liverpool had just returned from Turkey in their latest Champions League group match where they would eventually reach the Final.
Both sides had chances in the first half with Pennant and Kuyt going close for the home side and McBride being denied by a great save from Reina. The first half ended goalless, more due to Liverpool’s lack of a cutting edge in front of goal, than a determined Fulham defensive display, although there was no doubt they were making it difficult.
Ten minutes into the second period and Liverpool were awarded a penalty. Ian Pearce blocked a shot from Dirk Kuyt and the referee had no doubt about the decision. Steven Gerrard stepped up and hit it low to the keeper’s left, but Lastuvka saved it only for Gerrard to score from the rebound.
This seemed to be the breakthrough Liverpool required as they now stormed the Fulham goal. Gerrard took a corner on the left which Agger flicked on and at the far post, Jamie Carragher arrived to stab the ball home. It was Carragher’s first goal since he scored in the 7-1 win over Southampton in January 1999. Six minutes later and Kuyt took a throw on the left wing to Alonso who turned back onto his right foot and his cross was converted by Luis Garcia with a glancing header and Liverpool were 3-0 up having scored 3 in 12 minutes.
Fulham were now just playing out time but Liverpool weren’t finished as Benitez sent on Gonzalez, Crouch and Fowler. It was Fowler who was brought down just outside the area by Boa Morte as he ran at the Fulham defence. From the resulting free-kick, Mark Gonzalez stepped up and curled the ball beautifully past Lastuvka to complete the scoring. Fulham must’ve been getting fed-up with Anfield as they’d turned up twice in 2006 and conceded 9.
Liverpool ended the season in 3rd in the League and were beaten finalists in the Champions League. Fulham finished 16th just 1pt above the relegation zone.
22nd December 2012
LIVERPOOL (2) 4 (Skrtel 8, Gerrard 36, Downing 52, Suarez 90)
FULHAM (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas (Carragher); Suso (Sterling), Shelvey (Allen), Downing; Suarez
FULHAM: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Kacaniklic (Rodallega), Baird, Karagounis, Richardson (Frei); Dejagah, Berbatov
As Christmas 2012 approached these two clubs were next to each other in the table with Liverpool 12th and Fulham 13th. After recovering from a poor start, Liverpool had begun to find some form under Brendan Rodgers but were brought back down to earth the week before when Aston Villa comfortably beat them at Anfield. Fulham, though, were in worse shape as they’d only won 1 of their previous 9 coming into this fixture.
These were still early days of the new Rodgers-regime at Anfield and you were never really sure what you were going to get. But from a Steven Gerrard corner on the right the ball dropped to Martin Skrtel who thumped it into the back of the net, to give the home side an 8th minute lead.
Liverpool then doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break from a lovely flowing move. Shelvey began things in the centre-circle, finding Glen Johnson alone on the right touchline. Johnson took the ball down with his chest and ran at the Fulham defence, eventually cutting inside to lay the ball back to Stewart Downing.
Downing had just spotted a diagonal run from Gerrard and he played a beautifully weighted ball past three defenders for the Liverpool captain to run onto and he finished in style in the bottom corner. Downing’s brief Liverpool career looked to at an end as the manager had made it very clear he doubted the England winger’s value to the team. But this game was to delay his execution to the end of the season.
Seven minutes into the second half and Downing showed more evidence of his talent as Gerrard found him on the right wing and as he reached the area, he cut onto his left foot and unleashed a fierce shot which went inside the keeper’s near post. It was Downing’s first Premier League goal since arriving at the club in July 2011 and Liverpool were now comfortably in a three goal lead. Fulham’s keeper, Mark Schwarzer, did his best to keep the score down but in injury time great work from Jose Enrique down the left, saw him pull the ball back from the bye-line and Luis Suarez scored to give Liverpool their biggest win of the season at Anfield thus far. Of Downing, Rodgers said after that he would consider keeping the player if he continued to put in performances like that. Downing was able to delay his eventual transfer to the summer when he moved to West Ham.
Liverpool eventually found some consistency with their play and ended 7th in the League. Fulham were rarely away from mid-table for the rest of the season as they ended 12th.
HEAD TO HEAD at Anfield
Liverpool win: 22
Fulham win: 1
Liverpool goals: 81
Fulham goals: 17