Preamble: Evening all. Anyone fancy a bit of gentle end-of-season fare? If so, you're in the wrong place, buddy. This is going to be a blood-and-guts, win-at-all-costs, never-say-die, pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the … ach, no one's buying this are they? When the sun is out for an evening kick off down by the Thames it's tough to get too wound up. This could end up 7-5 and there'd still be a mellow tinge to it.
If United fans want to taunt their Liverpool counterparts wouldn't getting this back to No1 be less controversial? [INSERT YOUR OWN JOKE ABOUT IT BEING OFTEN UNINSPIRED BUT SEEMINGLY UNSTOPPABLE HERE]
Craven Cottage is a wonderful place for football and it's barely changed since 1926:
That video makes me yearn for two things: a hot dog and proper hats at the match.
Or Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen"? suggests Jon Millard. "Technically very good, but the experience rather bland and clearly manufactured?"
Bloody hell! Team news! I've been a shambles from start to finish today. Forgot my wallet, brought a paint-strewn t-shirt to change into (meaning I've had to remain in mm sweaty cycling t-shirt all day), and now I've forgotten to give you the line-ups:
Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Davies, Murphy, Gudjohnsen, Sidwell, Dempsey, Dembele. Subs: Stockdale, Johnson, Senderos, Etuhu, Kakuta, Zamora, Greening.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Flanagan, Maxi, Spearing, Lucas, Meireles, Suarez, Kuyt. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Poulsen, Shelvey, Robinson.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Andy Carroll has a knock, apparently, while Fulham have made three changes, recalling Clint Dempsey, Brede Hangeland and Mousa Dembele.
Peep! Lee Mason gets things underway.
GOAL!!! Fulham 0-1 Liverpool (Rodriguez 32sec) An unbelievable start! Lucas puts Suarez clear down the left, Hangeland (I think) having failed to intercept on halfway. His cross is bundled towards goal by a Fulham boot, Schwarzer desperately clears from near the post with his own boot (perhaps thinking it was some sort of idiotically ambitious backpass), and it drops out to Maxi, who lashes the ball home.
1 min: Murphy goes into the book for a wild lunge on ... somebody. Missed it while concentrating on the goal. This has been some start.
4 min: Spearing prods a shot at goal, but Schwarzer drops down to save at his near post. Liverpool have raced off the mark here.
5 min: "Just be sure to get it together by the second half, John," writes Jason Graff. "I expect some pithy comment about how Thames canoeists are no longer safe because Bobby Zamora has entered the game."
GOAL!!! Fulham 0-2 Liverpool (Rodriguez 6) Cripes!!! Fulham carved open once more. Johnson gets clear of Salcido down the right, the Mexican sleeping as the Reds man gets on the wrong side. His deep cross is volleyed home from close range and a tight angle by Maxi Rodriguez.
8 min: Fulham are really struggling to cope with Liverpool's movement here. The visitors look like scoring every time they come forward. "This is what you get for saying it wouldn't be a pedal to the metal match," writes Regan Fitzgerald. "Sorry, just not your day."
9 min: Suarez, such a livewire, wins a corner, which drops out to Maxi, who this time air-kicks as he slips.
12 min: Hardly a dozen minutes, two goals, a thrilling start, but Kevin Phillips is already starting to grate. "As this is going to be such a mellow, sedentary affair (goals, 31 secs and 6.22m)," writes Monty, who knows how to kick a man while he's down, "could you spare some plentiful down time to clear up some of my doubts as a rotten Spurs fan? Do we give up now and avoid the Europa league or bust a gut to beat Man City and go out fighting? I'm all for the latter but not sure about Harry."
13 min: Fulham finally get on the front foot, but Dembele's swinging boot catches only west London air.
14 min: A long ball over the top gets Suarez clear and he goes down under pressure from Hangeland. Penalty? Not for me, but hang on …
GOAL!!! Fulham 0-3 Liverpool (Kuyt 16) Oh, Schwarzer! Kuyt has an optimistic dig from the corner of the box, and the Australian keeper gets it all wrong at his near post, fumbling the ball miserably over the line to give Liverpool a three-goal lead. Mark Hughes looks furious.
17 min: Game over, man. Game over. Will anyone notice if I go and re-do my preamble?
18 min: "Liverpool are better without Stevie Gerrard aren't they?" posits Gary Naylor. "Shorn of their captain, the other players do that most important thing in a team sport - accept responsibility. King Kenny is about the only manager the Kop would allow to sell him, so does he have the cojones? As an Evertonian, I hope he doesn't." That occured to me the other day. But, rather than being better without Gerrard, I'd suggest the more important thing is that they're better with Kenny.
21 min: Reina clumps clear. Aaron Hughes needlessly tries to keep the ball on and concedes a throw in. Sums up Fulham's day so far.
22 min: Suarez almost makes it four, blasting high and wide from a tight angle. Brede Hangeland is going to wake up a 4am tomorrow screaming "LUIS! NO! STOP IT! ARRRRGHHHH!" Probably.
23 min: Rodriguez shins one high and wide after Suarez's pull-back. This could be any score by full-time if Liverpool fancy it.
25 min: Flanaghan's turn to find space in the Fulham box. The youngster can't control Lucas's dinked pass, however. And it's a goal kick.
27 min: "Man Utd 19th title-winning mocking songs?" begins Max Umeh. "Hmm.. sticking with the Steely Dan theme how about 'Things I Miss The Most'? On second thoughts maybe that's what the Liverpool fans should be singing..."
28 min: Baird whips in a fine cross from the Fulham right, but Johnson does well to flick away from the onrushing Dembele.
30 min: Another lovely pass from Suarez almost finds Meireles in the middle, but the ball eventually drops out to Lucas who lumps one off towards Putney Bridge Tube station.
32 min: A lull. Of sorts. "As a Liverpool fan, my pants are aflame watching this," writes Dan Maggs. "However, I can't help but feel Naylor's got a point. Gerrard's a great player, but has all the tactical nous of a cupboard. I wonder if Kenny's magic will be able to get through his most mahogany of skulls. Lovely stuff on the Hudson reference, by the way. While we're on the subject …"
33 min: Fulham force a corner and are a shin bone's width of making it 3-1. Dempsey volleys at goal but Johnson, on the line, thrusts out a leg and diverts the ball away.
35 min: "Yeah, of course Liverpool are better without Gerrard," writes Nath Jones. "This first half-hour is the perfect example - quick, short passing, Meireles looking good in the middle rather than out on the left, no Hollywood balls and everyone getting a touch rather than looking for Gerrard with every pass. The new owners have improved the team by replacing Torres with Carroll and Suarez - have they got the bottle to replace Gerrard with two wingers?" Fulham force another corner …
36 min: … Johnson gets highest to flick clear.
38 min: "Media pundits are always quick to tut when a manager gets fired but Liverpool's board must be kicking themselves that they didn't send Hodgson out 'to get some conola with Clemenza' a month earlier than they finally did," writes Steven Hughes. Considering the comedic malaise bequeathed to him, Dalglish must be one of the managers of the year." The counter-argument to that is someone like John Coleman at Accrington, who has been at the club 12 years and has overseen 12 seasons of steady season-on-season improvement.
41 min: Liverpool continue to press, but they're not slicing through as they were early on. The Red hot knife that was going through Fulham's buttery backline has just cooled a touch.
43 min: "Pressure Fulham!" comes an exasperated call from the home terraces. They're not doing a bad job of it now. Dempsey fires wide from distance.
44 min: Free header for Sidwell 15 yards out! But he plants Davies' cross straight at Reina. "Media pundits are always quick to tut when a manager gets fired but West Brom's board must be kicking themselves that they didn't send Di Matteo out 'to get some conola with Clemenza' a month earlier than they finally did," writes Richard Hooker. "Considering the comedic malaise bequeathed to him, Hodgson must be one of the managers of the year."
45+1 min: Three minutes of added time to play. A horribly heavy pass from Kuyt ends another lovely Liverpool move.
45+2 min: "Liverpool were renowned for their passing and movement but hadn't shown that for years," writes Paul McDevitt. "Funny how Dalglish, within weeks, has this team rocking. Is it some sort of boot room Jedi trick?" These are not the optimistic balls over the top that you're looking for.
Peep! Peeeeeep! Lee Mason brings the half to a close and Mark Hughes stalks over towards the dressing rooms with a look of thunderous annoyance on his face.
Instead of my usual Half-time email dept. here are a few of the wonderfully titled emails I've had tonight:
"Boot room Jedi"
"The Ultimate Badass"
"Chillin by the Thames"
"Mark Hughes and the Look of Thunderous Annoyance"
It's like the tracklisting of a B-sides album by some obscure mid 90s experimental jazz outfit.
An actual email:" "Hypothetical clutching at straws stranger things have happened improbability sum," begins Rich, offering another track for the album. "Liverpool win their last three games+Spurs beat Man City+Man City lose or draw their other two fixtures=Liverpool get that last Champions League spot." It can't happen. Can it?
"I'd actually say 'Mark Hughes and the Look of Thunderous Annoyance' sounds like the name of the experimental jazz outfit responsible for recording that collection of B-sides," writes Robin Hazlehurst. "If it's not a band name yet, it should be."
Peep! Fulham introduce Bobby Zamora to proceedings and Liverpool kick off the second half.
46 min: "If we're talking Hudson I think this is where we need to be looking," reckons Peter McLeod. Fulham win a free-kick 50-odd yards from goal …
47 min: … whipped in by Murphy, nodded on by Zamora and hammered clear. Meireles has got a twinge in his hammy by the looks of it. Jonjo Shelvey replaces him.
48 min: Fulham have started this half with the vigour of men who don't want another telling off at full-time. Dempsey fizzes a shot just over Pepe Reina's bar.
49 min: "In reply to Rich's e-mail at half time: Yes it can happen, if you're a Manchester City supporter," writes Matthew Cobb. "As I am. I see fifth place and 0-1 to Stoke looming..."
50 min: Gudjohnsen flashes a shot wide from the edge of the box after some nice build-up work from Dempsey.
52 min: "Is that the whole key to 15 seconds of fame on an MBM? The email title?" wonders John Willoughby in an email entitled 'beautiful wound healing actin filaments'. "I had been putting in the game title, e.g. Tottenham Vs Blackpol in the belief that you guys wanted some confidence that the email was a comment on the correct game (or a barely discernible surreal relevance to the correct game) instead of some totally random rant. OK then, well now I know!" Indeed you do. Hangeland wrestles with Suarez and the Liverpool man wins the free-kick (though not without flopping to the turf like a man in one of those parachute suits).
54 min: Kuyt tumbles under Salcido's challenge down by the corner flag. Dangerous free-kick this …
GOAL!!!! Fulham 1-3 Liverpool (Dembele 57) Fulham are back in it! And a very nice goal it is to. Zamora lays off to the Belgian, who stands up his marker and curls his shot low beyond Reina (who then gets booked for lumping the ball off towards Hammersmith).
55 min: … which Shelvey shanks wastefully into the wall. I see the Guardian website has already changed the league table to correspond to a half-time score in this game," writes Cormac Hayes in an email entitled '!!!'. "What's that about?" It's a live table, updated in running. Clever, eh?
58 min: Reina punches clear as Fulham swing in a cross. The home side's dander is very much up now.
60 min: Salcido goes into Lee Mason's Big Book of Bad Boys after dragging back the spinning Suarez. The free-kick comes to nowt, though, and Fulham are straight back on the offensive.
61 min: "Little disturbed by a couple of things," begins Paul Greco. "Firstly, despite 3 early goals, the top of your match report still says it's nil nil between Fulham and Liverpool. The other, more troubling matter , is your quote to send (so and so) out 'to get some conola with Clemenza'. I've checked all the Godfather quote sites I could, but couldn't find this one. Who got sent out to get canola with Clemenza? And why? And what does this euphemism really mean? (getting someone whacked?) Canola wasn't marketed until 1972. Canadian Oli, Low Acid, was derived from rapeseed oil. Can't have been used druing the timescale of Godfather 1 which takes place from in 1940's and 50's America." I'm not sure what to do or where to go with that. Meantime, Fulham have a corner …
62 min: … which, after a brief fluttering of Liverpool hearts, is whacked clear.
64 min: Skrtel wrestles with Zamora on the edge of the box. Unfairly according to the officials. Very dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box …
GOAL!!! AND THAT'S THE HAT-TRICK!!!! Fulham 1-4 Liverpool (Rodriguez 70)
65 min: … spanked low by Zamora straight into the wall.
GOAL!!! AND THAT'S FIVE!!!! Fulham 1-5 Liverpool (Suarez 75)
AND WE'RE HAVING A TECHNICAL MELTDOWN!!! HOW EXCITING!!!
80 min: Apologies for that. Ghosts in the machine. But not nice ghosts like Casper. Really rubbish horrible ghosts like, erm, that painting in Ghostbusters 2. Anyway, you've missed a screamer from Maxi for his hat-trick, and a lovely little finish from Suarez to make it five.
82 min: Rodriguez heads off to a rapturous reception from the away end. And, clearing up another issue, here's Ronit Bhattacharyya: "Cannoli (singular: cannolo) are Italian desserts, consisting of a crisp tube-shaped pastry shell filled with a cream filling made of ricotta or mascarpone cheese usually flavored with vanilla and/or cinnamon. That's what Clemenza's wife sent him to get. I have no idea what a conola is."
83 min: All in all, this has been a bit of a shambles, no? Just like the good old days. Zamora flattens Reina as the pair go up for Salcido's cross.
GOAL!!!! AND IT'S ANOTHER CRACKER!!! Fulham 2-5 Liverpool (Sidwell 86) Sidwell picks up a loose ball on the edge of the box. It sits up beautifully and he hammers it into the net past a desperately diving Reina. Wonderful goal.
87 min: Salcido is fortunate not to pick up a second booking after tangling with Suarez. A few moments later Shelvey almost finds the Uruguayan with a low cross. Gathered by Schwarzer.
88 min: Superb save from Schwarzer to deny Shelvey after Suarez's clever quick free-kick. Salcido then clears off the line from Spearing's flick.
90 min: Four minutes of added time to be played. Four minutes too many for Fulham. Such is the disarray here that it took me five - FIVE! - attempts to type the word 'minutes' just then. And two goes at 'attempts'.
90+2 min: Dempsey, Zamora and Kakuta almost combine to cut through the Liverpool defence but the on loan Chelsea man's pass is heavier than a ... a ... ah, cripes I can't even think of a metaphor. A cow, then. Heavier than a cow. That'll have to do.
90+3 min: More stonking work from Suarez hands Kuyt a sixth on a plate, but his shot is blocked on the line. The Uruguayan has been out of this world tonight. Absolutely majestic.
Peep! Peeeep! Peeeep! All over!
Right that's it from me (thank goodness) The Guardian would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the technical issues there. And I hope the fact the 65th- minute entry is in between the 70th- and 75th-minute entries, accompanied by a random substitution graphic, did not ruin your enjoyment of this minute-by-minute presentation. That's what happens when you get a Godfather problem – those tentacles stretch everywhere. Thanks for all your many emails as ever. G'night!