Liverpool 4-0 Fulham: Suarez doubles gives Reds easy win – video

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Another week, another nightmare for Fulham, as the Cottagers were comfortably beaten 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield as Luis Suarez turned on the magic.

The Reds dominated from start to finish as Suarez scored twice, Martin Skrtel added another and Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta headed his own net early on. Liverpool’s captain Steven Gerrard put in a sublime display of set-piece delivery that helped put the game to bed before half time. Fulham were woeful as Liverpool had 32 attempts at goal and enjoyed 68 percent of the possession.

Suarez’ header deflected off Cottagers’ defender Amorebieta for the first, before Skrtel headed in a second and then Suarez tucked away a neat move in the first half to make it 3-0 at the break.

After half time the game continued to get away from Fulham as Suarez made the most of some poor defending to grab his second and Liverpool’s fourth.

The win sees the Reds climb back up to second and are just two points off leaders Arsenal, while Fulham stay 16th and are just two points above the relegation zone.

Liverpool started the game on the front foot as Daniel Agger volleyed over within the first minute. Gerrard’s corner found the Danish center back in the penalty box but the 28-year-old couldn’t quite keep his effort down.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Big wins for Liverpool, Saints, Norwich, Villa, Chelsea fight back – video)

The Reds kept pouring forward and in the fifth minute Gerrard slotted in Suarez but the Uruguayan’s shot across goal was saved down low by Fulham’s Marteen Stekelenburg as Daniel Sturridge sniffed around.

Fulham barely threatened going forward in the first half, as Liverpool looked to get Suarez, Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho on the ball as much as possible.

source: Reuters
Suarez and Coutinho tore Fulham apart on a comfortable afternoon at Anfield for the Reds.

But a long ball forward from Zverotic found Patjim Kasami at the back post and the Macedonian winger brought the ball down and saw his shot deflected into the side-netting.

Liverpool then took the lead in the 23rd minute as Gerrard’s free kick found Suarez on the edge of the six-yard box and the Uruguayan strikers effort deflected off Amorebieta and into the net to send Anfield wild.

Just moments later Liverpool made it 2-0 from Gerrard’s wonderful corner that found defender Martin Skrtel who beat Amorebieta to the ball and headed home.

The Reds were well on top and Fulham simply couldn’t get to grasps with the fluid attacking play Brendan Rodgers’ men were churning out.

In the 29th minute it could’ve been 3-0 as Coutinho riffled a right-footed volley towards the top corner but Stekelenburg saved superbly with his fingertips.

In the opening half hour Liverpool had 11 attempts on goal and were dismantling the West London club with ease.

Then, inevitably, the third goal arrived as Gerrard nutmegged Dimitar Berbatov before feeding the ball to Jordan Henderson. The midfielder then found Suarez with a fantastic through ball in the 36th minute and the Uruguayan forward tucked the ball home with ease.

For the rest of the first half Fulham stumbled around and tried to make sense of what was going on, in another terrible display from Martin Jol’s men.

But after the break normal service resumed as Kieran Richardson gave the ball away and Suarez capitalized to score his second goal of the afternoon, and eighth in six PL games this season, to make it 4-0 to the Reds.

Fulham boss Jol must be extremely worried about his future as manager of the Cottagers after another incredibly poor performance that makes it three defeats in a row.

The rest of the game was simple damage limitation for the West London side who sat back and hardly pressed forward. As for Liverpool, they were able to rest a few key players as the game petered out into a comfortable win for the Reds.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Cissokho (Jose Enrique, 61), Lucas, Gerrard (Allen, 67), Henderson, Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge (Moses, 76)

Fulham: Stekelenburg, Zverotic (Hughes, 61) Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson, Dejagah, Sidwell, Parker, Kacaniklic (Ruiz, 45), Kasami, Berbatov (Karagounis, 83)

MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP
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Four teams can claim a Western Conference second round berth, while four more can earn a valuable first-round bye in the East.

Yep, there’s plenty to play for beyond the West’s final playoff spot Sunday during Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, when every team will take the pitch for 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ MORE: Conte feels pressure ]

Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:

  1. Supporters’ Shield winning Toronto FC gets a first round bye, while No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls are headed to the road for a first round playoff
  2. New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
  3. Full stop.

So, yes, this will be fun.

First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:

Eastern Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Toronto FC 33 20 8 5 72 35 37 13-3-1 7-5-4 68
x – New York City FC 33 16 8 9 54 41 13 10-4-2 6-4-7 56
x – Chicago 33 16 7 10 61 44 17 12-3-2 4-4-8 55
x – Atlanta 33 15 9 9 68 38 30 11-2-3 4-7-6 54
x – Columbus 33 16 5 12 51 47 4 12-2-3 4-3-9 53
x – New York 33 13 8 12 51 46 5 9-6-2 4-2-10 47

— New York City FC controls its bye destiny, though Columbus could join them on 56 points and would pass them on tiebreakers (wins).

— If that happens, Chicago could claim the second bye with a win or draw in Houston (The Fire owns the goal differential tiebreaker).

— If New York City and Chicago lose or draw, Atlanta could finish second with a home win over TFC.

— Columbus can finish second with a win and non-wins for Chicago and Atlanta.

  • Columbus Crew SC win vs. New York City FC on Sunday and …
  • Chicago Fire tie or lose vs. Houston Dynamo on Sunday and …
  • Atlanta United tie or lose vs. Toronto FC on Sunday
Western Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Vancouver 33 15 7 11 49 47 2 9-5-3 6-2-8 52
x – Portland 33 14 8 11 58 49 9 10-4-2 4-4-9 50
x – Seattle 33 13 11 9 49 39 10 10-5-1 3-6-8 50
x – Sporting KC 33 12 13 8 39 27 12 10-6-1 2-7-7 49
x – Houston 33 12 11 10 54 45 9 11-4-1 1-7-9 47
San Jose 33 12 7 14 36 58 -22 9-5-2 3-2-12 43
FC Dallas 33 10 13 10 43 47 -4 7-7-2 3-6-8 43
Real Salt Lake 33 12 6 15 47 54 -7 8-4-4 4-2-11 42

Byes

— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.

— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.

— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.

— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.

Final playoff spot

— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.

— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.

—  Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Schedule
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto

Predictions

— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).

— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.

— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.

Conte feels pressure, but “most important thing is to work”

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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Chelsea has sputtered a bit in its bid to repeat as Premier League champions, though this isn’t quite “stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”

The Blues sit fifth in the Premier League table with 13 points, nine behind leaders Manchester City, and tossed away a 2-0 lead before rallying to draw Roma at midweek.

The Blues host fourth-placed Watford to kick off Saturday’s Premier League action at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

[ MORE: West Ham 0-3 Brighton ]

And while fans are frustrated with the plan, Chelsea was in 15th at the end of October during Jose Mourinho’s ill-fated follow-up to the 2014-15 Premier League title.

Still, manager Antonio Conte feels their pain, although he’s satisfied with the effort. From Chelsea’s official site:

“Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

Chelsea may not look as good as Man City or Manchester United, but is still well-positioned to finish amongst the leaders and is leading a very difficult UCL group with Roma and Atletico Madrid. Things are fine, but the gossip storm just won’t leave Conte and his future at Chelsea alone (Thanks, Italian press).

Bilic, Fonte react to brutal home loss to Brighton

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
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Jose Fonte tried to shoulder some of the blame after West Ham United piled more pressure on its manager with a 3-0 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday.

“It’s not only the manager, it’s the players as well,” Fonte said. “We have an unbelievable squad and should not be in this position.”

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-3 Brighton ]

Fonte said he understands why fans are booing the club, which has eight points and sits in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Given the club’s summer spending, with Javier Hernandez, Joe Hart, and Marko Arnautovic amongst the buys, pressure’s been on Bilic to deliver the goods. So far, the Irons have not.

Bilic did not deny his role nor his responsibility. From the BBC:

“It’s very hard for me to say anything clever now. I take full responsibility for it. I don’t want to hide.

“It is not a good situation and the board will do what they are going to do. It’s their decision.”

Not a man who feels like he’ll have his job much longer, but is it fair? A lot of West Ham’s key pieces are new, but surely they are not a club who should be peering over its collective shoulder to see the drop zone.

West Ham 0-3 Brighton: Gulls fly past Irons

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  • Murray heads Gross free kick
  • Izquiero strikes from distance
  • West Ham blanked at home
  • Murray earns, converts PK

Glenn Murray scored twice and Jose Izquiero also scored to lead visiting Brighton and Hove Albion past West Ham United 3-0 at London Stadium on Friday.

The loss will do nothing to ease the pressure on West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.

Brighton moves into 10th with 11 points, behind Newcastle United on goal differential. West Ham’s eight points keep them ahead of 16th place Everton, also on goal differential.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton took a lead in the 10th minute when Premier League veteran Murray lost Pedro Obiang and turned Pascal Gross‘ free kick across a diving Joe Hart and inside the far post.

Murray now has PL goals for Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace.

West Ham had chances from Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio, and — perhaps most dangerous, a left-footed rip from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez that nearly saw its way inside the far post.

And then… well, wow. Izquierdo darted inside from the left and hit his hard shot at Hart, who could only slap the ball inside his goal:

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Manuel Lanzini threatened with a slightly deflected 65th minute free kick, and the Irons wasted the ensuing corner.

A dizzying, creative run by Anthony Knockaert provided Murray a 1v1 with Hart, but a second touch allowed the keeper to close down the Englishman.

Murray earned Brighton a PK within a minute, unable to get past the block of Pablo Zabaleta. He took his shot well.