Suarez steers Liverpool to victory
Striker Luis Suarez produced another brilliant display of finishing to lift Liverpool back into second and increase the pressure on under-fire Fulham manager Martin Jol.
The Uruguay international scored twice but will feel he should have had back-to-back Anfield hat-tricks as it was his header which went in off Fernando Amorebieta for the Reds' first of a comfortable 4-0 win.
It mattered little in the grand scheme of things as, with Martin Skrtel scoring his first in 11 months, the Cottagers were in no shape to mount any sort of challenge.
Jol has resolutely insisted in recent weeks there are a number of teams worse than his in the Barclays Premier League but a look at the table, with the Cottagers hovering dangerously above the relegation zone in 16th, suggests otherwise.
Of more concern should be the way his side appear to lack the conviction or ability to affect their own destiny, having shipped 13 goals in their last four matches - with four of those coming against Sky Bet Championship side Leicester in last month's Capital One Cup exit.
They arrived with containment in mind, fielding Dimitar Berbatov as a lone striker, and for 20 minutes they managed just that, albeit not too convincingly.
They even managed a half-chance, with Pajtim Kasami's shot deflected into the side-netting after Berbatov's 50-yard cross-field ball had released Elsad Zverotic to cross from the right.
It took a set-piece to break Fulham's fragile resistance but once the defence had been breached it was open season on the Cottagers' goal.
Steven Gerrard whipped in a near-post free-kick which Suarez and Daniel Agger, starting his first match since September 24 as Liverpool reverted to an orthodox back four, both challenged for with the former appearing to get the touch which diverted the ball on to Amorebieta and inside the post
Suarez wheeled away in celebration and Anfield's public address immediately awarded the goal to him but the defender's touch was more than decisive.
Having conceded three times in 12 minutes against Manchester United a week ago, the last thing Fulham needed was to let in another quickly. So to be undone at another set-piece would have infuriated Jol.
Again Gerrard's delivery was perfect, the corner sent over with just the right amount of pace to allow Skrtel to power home a header - his first goal since December 22, which also came against Fulham.
The best goal of the first half was still to come, however, and the irrepressible Suarez definitely got this one.
However, it was the culmination of a 36th-minute move which saw Gerrard out-Berbatov Berbatov, the king of the fancy flick, with a brilliant reverse nutmeg close to the halfway line before the England captain sprayed a pass out to Jordan Henderson on the right.
The newly-recalled England international slid an inch-perfect ball down the channel for Suarez to fire home first time.
After the break there was no let up and had it not been for goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, the only Fulham player to emerge with any credit, who knows what the final score would have been.
The Dutchman, who had already produced a great save to tip over a rising Philippe Coutinho drive in the first half with the score at 2-0, blocked shots from Suarez and Sturridge in the same attack before Suarez volleyed the rebound from the second strike over an empty goal.
But, as is so often the case, the Uruguayan is not to be denied and when Gerrard robbed Kieran Richardson and threaded a pass forward, Suarez dropped a shoulder to move Philippe Senderos slightly off balance before drilling home inside the near post.
It is safe to assume Austin Powers actor and Liverpool fan Mike Myers, watching from the directors' box, left impressed having seen Suarez take his tally to eight in just six league matches this season following his return from suspension - remarkably making him joint top scorer.