Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fulham 3-1 Liverpool

Liverpool were reduced to nine men as they suffered a fifth league defeat in 11 games after losing at Fulham.
Cottagers striker Bobby Zamora gave his side the lead against the run of play when he tapped in a Damien Duff cross.
Fernando Torres equalised with an 18-yard volley only for Erik Nevland to flick in a shot from close range to restore Fulham's lead.
Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher were sent off late on for Liverpool before Clint Dempsey tapped in Fulham's third.
Degen was given a straight red after a late challenge on Dempsey just moments before Carragher, who will argue he got the ball, was dealt the same fate for a professional foul.
The defeat and the manner of it heaped more despair on to a Reds side in disarray as their season threatens to fall apart.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez also took off Torres with the scores level after 62 minutes as he attempted to shield his star striker from injury ahead of a crucial Champions League game at Lyon on Wednesday.
But Torres is vital to Liverpool's play and confidence - as he showed in the win over Manchester United last week - and Fulham's surge to victory after his exit is likely to see Benitez come under fire for the substitution.
Liverpool fans would have had serious concerns about their chances going into the game at Craven Cottage with Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Albert Riera, Fabio Aurelio and Alberto Aquilani not even making the squad, and their concerns were well-founded.
Degen, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Andriy Voronin each made rare Premier League starts and, even though the visitors had plenty of possession early on, Fulham took the lead.
Just after Yossi Benayoun had thumped a far-post shot against the Fulham crossbar, Zamora caught the Reds defence sleeping as he stole in between Kyrgiakos and Emiliano Insua to tap in a low-angled Duff cross.
Picking the ball out of his net was almost keeper Pepe Reina's first action of the match and, while Liverpool were dominating the game, his counterpart Mark Schwarzer was rarely tested.
That all changed when a Voronin header from Degen's ball came off Aaron Hughes and Torres instantly lashed in a volley from the edge of the box.
Torres was then taken off and a more adventurous Fulham, who showed an increased energy and sense of purpose, took full advantage of his departure.
Zamora was incensed he was not given a penalty when Carragher eased him off the ball as they chased a long thump forward but the home side did not have long to wait for a second goal.
In stretching to keep the ball in play, Dirk Kuyt handed the ball to Paul Konchesky who skipped over the Dutchman's recovering challenge and chipped in a cross which Zoltan Gera nodded back for Nevland to apply the finishing touch.
The need to chase the game left Liverpool susceptible at the back and, with their defence having been vulnerable all season, they soon capitulated.
Degen might have felt hard done by along with Carragher, who eventually left the field after remonstrating he had got the ball in a tackle on Zamora.
Fulham then made the most of their numerical advantage with Nevland playing in an unmarked Dempsey and he side-footed home to compound Liverpool's misery.
Dempsey scored the winner when Fulham last beat Liverpool in the top-flight back in May 2007 and his goal left the Reds nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

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