FIVE years have passed since Danny Murphy last wore the red shirt – yet the Fulham midfielder’s love of Liverpool remains as stronger as ever.
After checking in at Fulham’s overnight base in preparation for Saturday’s match at Bolton, Murphy was delighted to discover that he was staying at the same hotel as his former club ahead of their titanic clash with Manchester United.
The ex-England international sought out his friends and former Anfield team-mates Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to wish them luck at Old Trafford – not that Rafa Benitez’s men needed it in the end.
Murphy was Liverpool’s match-winner the last time they triumphed at Old Trafford in April 2004 and no-one was more delighted than Fulham’s skipper when he heard his former club had run riot.
Fulham can expect a backlash when Sir Alex Ferguson’s shell-shocked troops visit Craven Cottage on Saturday.
But Murphy is planning to do his bit to keep his former club’s faint title hopes alive after inspiring Roy Hodgson’s side to their first away win of the season.
Murphy, who turns 32 on Wednesday, said: “Liverpool hadn’t won at Old Trafford under Rafa, so it was a hell of a result.
“It’s funny because we stayed in the same hotel as the Liverpool team before the game.
“I popped into their rooms to see Stevie and Carra. It was really nice to see them.
“They’re great pals of mine and it’s always great to see them.
“We had a good chat and I was so delighted to see them get that result. It’s made it interesting and the title race might not be as simple as some people thought.
“Everybody expects us to get soundly beaten again by United after they defeated us 4-0 in the FA Cup. They can do that to anybody, though, and let’s not forget we’ve beaten Arsenal and drawn with Chelsea at our place this season.
“So we are always confident going into home games. I’m not saying we can turn it round and win, but we’ll be hoping that we can maybe nick something.”
Although pleased with Liverpool’s victory, Murphy was even more delighted that Fulham had finally found a cure for their season-long bout of travel sickness.
Before facing Bolton, they had not won a Premier League game on the road since the final day of last season.
On top of that, they had managed a pathetic total of just three goals on opposition soil.
Yet Hodgson’s team are now eyeing a European spot after goals by man of the match Andy Johnson, Simon Davies and substitute Diomansy Kamara left Bolton in danger of being sucked into a relegation fight.
Murphy added: “I suppose our away form has let us down and the longer it goes on the longer it preys on your mind.
“But we’ve doubled our away goals tally for the season. We’ve not talked about Europe because we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“Let’s not forget we only stayed up on the last day of last season. Top half would be great – but if I’m being brutally honest any sort of more comfortable finish than last year represents progress.”