No more welcome mat at Anfield as Rodgers' home improvements bring fear factor back
Liverpool 4 Fulham 0
Beleaguered Fulham manager Martin Jol was the first to admit that his team will have little say in the destiny of the Premier League title, but far better teams than his are about to discover the extent of the home improvements Liverpool have made under Brendan Rodgers.
It was only two seasons ago, after all, during the tempestuous and, frankly, disastrous reign of Kenny Dalglish that Liverpool lost home league games against powerhouses such as Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.
In that 2011-12 campaign, Liverpool won just six home league games at Anfield – a total that the current team have the opportunity to match in their next home outing, against struggling Norwich City on December 4.
Rodgers may, understandably, be reluctant to supply a straight answer to the question of his side's ability to stay the course at the top of the table – and how heavily the manager still depends on the peerless finishing of Luis Suarez, the scorer of eight goals in six league games since his return from suspension.
However, Liverpool's home form, certainly, suggests he is on the right path for returning the club to former glories.
"I think slowly we are getting there," said Rodgers. "Maybe teams will be looking at us now and instead of thinking 'maybe we can get something', they will be thinking 'this could be a long afternoon' because of the threat and the intensity.
"When you couple that with the great support. People used to say to me you would come in here and it would be a bit quiet.
"No, no, no. You have got to make it happen on the field. They are quiet because if you are lazy in your performance and you don't work, then the crowd respond to that.
"I have said to the players that in order to get the crowd lively. You have got to show that in your performance level. You are seeing that a lot more often.
"What is nice now is that Liverpool are in the conversation. I keep saying it. It was never, ever talked about. But our performance and our consistency is making people sit up and take notice. Maybe people are saying 'they are a decent side'. And we are getting better."
Such declarations are as close as Rodgers will currently come to admitting that his team might be capable of staking a claim for that elusive first title in 24 years, but the manner of this victory suggests such talk is not fanciful.
A spell of three goals in 13 first-half minutes – a headed own goal from Fernando Amorebieta, a Martin Skrtel set-piece and the first of two from Suarez – killed off the contest before the Uruguay international added his second after the restart.
"I have worked with him long enough now on a daily basis to know what he can do," Rodgers said when asked if Suarez's productivity surprises even the manager.
"The biggest thing is his desire and his will. That is what amazes me about him. He has got that knack of getting goals, but it is the sheer intensity of his game. I see that every day. You have an obligation to work hard here and he does that as well as anyone."
Jol, who managed Suarez at Ajax, could not fail to notice the contrast with his own players, and his captain Dimitar Berbatov in particular.
Admittedly, the Bulgarian was given no support or service by his team-mates, but, nevertheless, the only surprise about his eventual substitution lay in the fact it took until the 83rd minute to arrive.
"My captain is injured and my second captain is Dimitar," said Jol, who admitted that his decision to replace Brede Hangeland with Berbatov hardly worked out. "My third one will probably be Scott Parker.
"We spoke about Suarez before the game. He has got that eagerness and ambition and he will use everything, even his teeth, to win, that's what he did. And that is what he is doing for Liverpool." (© Daily Telegraph, London)