Liverpool vs. Fulham  4 - 0


New contract for Gerrard, says Rodgers

24 December 2012 11:47

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has announced that captain Steven Gerrard is set to be offered a new contract.

The 32-year-old, who has 18 months remaining on his current deal, has been hampered by niggling injuries over the past few seasons – ankle and groin specifically – which have seen him struggle to feature in more than half of his team’s games over the past two years.

However, Gerrard has featured in every Premier League game under Rodgers so far this season, and the new boss is keen to tie his skipper down on a long-term deal.

"Steven is vital to us and I recognise that." Rodgers told The Guardian.

"I know he has 18 months left on his contract but I would want him to go beyond that for this club and this team. What I would say with Steven is he has a real hunger to succeed.

"He may be 32 years of age, but he's still got so much left. He applies himself right, he eats well, he recovers well, he works well, he does everything right.

"This is a guy who has led his life right as a football player and that allows you to play well into your 30s.

"I would want him to stay beyond his current contract and extend it. There is absolutely no question about that.

He has played every minute of every league game for us which shows what an incredible figure for us he is."

Rodgers' comments come after Liverpool' 4-0 demolition of Fulham on Saturday, in which Gerrard nabbed a goal and an assist in arguably his most impressive performance this season.

The England midfielder has faced criticism from certain quarters following the Reds’ poor form, but Rodgers disagrees with the critics.

"You look at his stats this season and he is right up there as one of the most influential midfielders in the Premier League," Rodgers said.

"He's at the top in chances created, passing, possession; all the important things. I find it incredible he can have had any criticism at all. It is absolutely ridiculous.

"From seeing him every day working, and seeing him playing in the games, it's incredible.

"OK, he may not be getting the goals he did five or six years ago but that doesn't stop you influencing the game, and his influence for me – and especially once he was starting to understand what I'm looking for – has been absolutely top class.

"He has been an inspirational captain for us, he has been a huge figure in the development of this team. We are improving, we are growing, and he has influenced that."


Frei distraught at Liverpool loss

24 December 2012 00:30

Fulham winger Kerim Frei was heavily disappointed at his side's performance in their limp 4-0 loss at Anfield to a rampant Liverpool.

Two early goals from Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard set the tone for a desperate evening for Martin Jol's men.

Their defeat was confirmed by later strikes from Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez that leaves the Cottagers 13th in the Premier League table, just five points above the drop zone after a run of only two wins from 11 league fixtures.

"We didn't create any real chances," Frei told the official club website.

"It's always going to be very hard to do that if you don’t keep the ball. We kept losing it and that meant we had to keep defending.

"To be fair, they are a good team who pass the ball well but you need to defend better against teams like that and try and catch them on the break. We also need to be better at keeping the ball when we're in possession.

"I think we're better than we played. You always have to be positive in football I think and always try and give your best in every game. If you try to keep going and keep trying to play well then the goals will come and hopefully we can go on a run of winning games."

However, with two home games to come against fellow strugglers Southampton and high-flying Swansea in quick succession over the festive period, Frei is aware that opportunities lie ahead for the Cottagers to put their recent poor run behind them and move up the table.

"It wasn't our day and that can happen," the 19-year-old said.

"But we need to look forward to the next game on Wednesday now against Southampton.

"We'll do our best to put things right in that match. We want to start scoring goals again and win a game again.

"The league is very tight so if you win a game then you're almost certainly going to move up the table. In the next two games we have to win so we can get back in amongst the top 10 once more."


Premier League preview: Liverpool v Fulham

20 December 2012 15:45

Liverpool will look to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat at the first opportunity when they host Fulham on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' side were very disappointing last week as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa at Anfield.

The result ended a run of three consecutive wins – against Southampton, Udinese and West Ham United – and Liverpool's inability to string together a sustained spell of form sees them sitting 12th on the table.

They have scored 23 league goals this season but have a heavy reliance on Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, who has netted on 10 occasions.

Suarez is without a goal in his last six games though and Liverpool desperately need another attacking outlet to score regular goals if they want to finish in the top six this season.

Fulham are one place below their opponents on the league table after a patchy run of form.

Only four sides (Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham) have scored more English Premier League goals than Martin Jol's men this term.

Dimitar Berbatov and Mladen Petric (five goals each) have led the way while midfielders Steve Sidwell (four) and Damien Duff (three) have also chipped in.

The Craven Cottage outfit have struggled at the back though and they have conceded three goals or more on five occasions already.

Last week they slumped to a disappointing 2-1 loss at Queens Park Rangers, a side who had not won previously in the league this season.

That was their fourth loss in their last six matches and they have won just twice since September.

Fulham triumphed the last time the two sides met at Anfield with Martin Skrtel's early own goal enough to give them a 1-0 win.

Sidwell will be suspended for the match for Fulham while injuries will keep Bryan Ruiz (hamstring) and Simon Davies (neck) on the sidelines.

Liverpool will be hopeful Jose Enrique (hamstring) returns to action but Fabio Borini (foot) will not return for at least another fortnight.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25
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