written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com
Liverpool was hoping to keep their good run of form going in this testing trip to Craven Cottage. Liverpool had good memories of their last visit to Fulham when they had a convincing win with Maxi netting a hat-trick. Fulham have been unlucky with a couple of defeats in their last two games and with former Reds’ players Riise and Danny Murphy in their side the home side would be well up for the contest.
Dalglish brought Suarez and Spearing into the side, Spearing making his first league start of the season for Liverpool to replace the injured Lucas. Jamie Carragher had to be content with a place on the bench as Dalglish stuck with Agger and Skrtel in the centre of defence. Andy Carroll was given another start as he looks to find his form in front of goal. Bellamy and Henderson also started as Dalglish left Kuyt, Downing and the unlucky Maxi on the bench
Liverpool started the game with great possession with most players getting an early touch of the ball, but it was Fulham that almost took an early lead when Dembele got behind the Liverpool defence from a clever pass from Ruiz but Reina came out sharply and made a great blocking save.
Liverpool had the next chance when Adam’s volleyed effort was deflected to safety. Then Carroll had a shot saved by Schwarzer as Liverpool continued to press. Schwarzer made another good save from a low shot by Adam.
Fulham looked threatening going forward too and Reina made a great save on the stretch from a great effort from Dembele and shortly after Reina had to be alert to an ambitious volley from Dempsey.
With the game going from end to end Henderson saw his curling effort come off the inside of Schwarzer’s far post and away to safety. Then a great run from Suarez to the bye line was then cut back to Carroll but his shot was well blocked to safety.
It was amazing how the score remained 0-0 at the half with all the chances that were produced by both teams.
Liverpool started the second half on the offensive with Agger having a 30 yard effort deflected wide before Enrique being denied his first Liverpool goal by Schwarzer. Chances were still being created at both ends with Zamora being thwarted by Agger before Adam’s surging run was ended by a late challenge by Senderos on the edge of the box. Bellamy’s free-kick was blasted into the defensive wall with Agger heading wide from the resulting corner.
Johnson played a great pass through to Bellamy but he dragged his shot well wide of the target. Liverpool thought they had taken the lead when Suarez brilliantly put the ball in the Fulham net from a clever pass by Enrique but his effort was ruled out for offside.
But the game changed in the 71st minute when Jay Spearing was shown a straight red card after crashing into a tackle on Dembele. Dalglish brought on Kuyt and Downing for Carroll and Bellamy just after the sending off.
Dempsey saw an effort come off the Liverpool bar with Reina beaten before Downing was denied by a brilliant save from Schwarzer onto the post. But Liverpool were stunned inside the last 10 minutes when a Danny Murphy shot was spilled by Reina which saw Dempsey fire the rebound into the net from close range.
Liverpool tried in vain in the remaining minutes to salvage a point as Fulham held on leaving Liverpool frustrated at the outcome of a game that had many chances and many controversial refereeing decisions.
I thought Dalglish sent out a very attacked minded team and I was pleased to see Bellamy and Carroll starting along with the impressive partnership of Agger and Skrtel keeping their place at the expense of Carragher. I expected Spearing to replace Lucas in the midfield with his style of play. Liverpool played very well in what was a very good game with Fulham adding to the spectacle as the game ebbed and flowed. Another night of bad luck and missed chances which are proving costly in our quest for a Champions League place. But I’m sorry I have to say the referee was no “Friend” of us as every big decision went against us, the sending off was ridiculous as no Fulham player appealed for anything in what was a terrific tackle from Spearing. Senderos should have been shown red and Liverpool could have been awarded a couple of penalties one with Adam running into the box to be taken out by Senderos then Suarez going round Hangeland only to be impeded and Suarez puts the ball into the net only to be flagged for offside when he was onside. Suarez once again getting no protection from a referee. But we did lose the match because our Mr. Dependable Pepe Reina made a big mistake which cost us the game. I am very frustrated with the missed chances and the referee but I am proud of the performance and if we keep playing like this we will do ok.
Man Of The Match – Skrtel – defended superbly all night and made some great clearing challenges and headers.