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West Ham United
12 May 2013
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 25640
D. Berbatov 33'
D. Sturridge 36', 63', 85'
Thank-you for joining Goal.com's play-by-play commentary, I've been Dale Jones (@dalejones20), you've been fantastic. Keep tuned to Goal.com for all the latest post-match reaction.
The visitors had to do it the hard way however after falling behind to a Dimitar Berbatov header. The response by Liverpool was emphatic though as they equalized through Sturridge only three minutes after. The striker then added two more in the second half to take home the match ball and give Liverpool their second win in three games. Everton's win means they will finish the season in seventh place, a respectable finish. As for Fulham, that defeat means they need Wigan to drop points at Arsenal on Tuesday to guarantee their Premier League status.
Daniel Sturridge takes home the match ball as his hat-trick earned Liverpool a 3-1 away win at Craven Cottage. The England striker and Coutinho were a menace for the Cottagers all afternoon and proved their undoing.
90' + 4'
Mark Halsey calls for full-time. Fulham 1-3 Liverpool.
90' + 3'
The game is pandering out to the visitors rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone', they'll be incredibly pleased with their team's performance here.
Three minutes of added time at Craven Cottage.
That goal has definitely took the wind out of Fulham, if they looked least likely to score before it then now they look incredibly deflated. And remember, they're not mathematically safe as of yet.
Sturridge finally completes his hat-trick but owes it all down to a quite wonderful ball by Coutinho. The Brazilian plays a brilliant lobbed ball over the Fulham defence into the path of Sturridge who lobs an on-rushing Schwarzer to finish brilliantly.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL! STURRIDGE!
The Norwegian could have silenced the fans of his former club however as he fires a free kick with immense power towards the Liverpool goal and Reina does well to save and hold the ball.
Jon Arne Riise receives a warm welcome from the visiting fans as he makes his way onto the pitch.
Borini again goes close but it's Schwarzer who denies him this time with a great save to his right. Liverpool have squandered a number of chances to make it three, could it prove costly? I guess we'll see.
Liverpool hit the post! Great run by substitute Fabio Borini from the left, he cuts inside and unleashes a powerful shot that hits the inside of the post and bounces clear. Unlucky for the Italian.
Liverpool go down the other end and respond with Coutinho forcing a corner from a shot from 20 yards. the corner is defended well by Fulham, though.
Reina couldn't have hurt himself too much as from the resulting corner he makes the save of the match from an Aaron Hughes header. Remarkable stop.
Fulham respond by forcing a smart save from Reina who parries Berbatov's behind for a corner, the keeper may have hurt himself in the process.
The visitors have now kept possession over the last few minutes, hoping to subdue their opponents.
Another great chance for Liverpool who should be well clear by now. A great cross from Downing on the right finds Shelvey in a space at the back post, he controls and shoots but his shot is blocked for a corner which comes to nothing.
Big chance for Liverpool to make it three! Sturridge acts rather selfishly as he opts to go for goal when clear on goal rather than squaring the ball to Shelvey who was in acres of space. His shot is saved smartly again by Schwarzer, would he have passed if he wasn't on a hat-trick?
Fulham are attempting to mount pressure of their own as they look to avoid a fourth straight league defeat but are finding it hard to break down the Liverpool defence.
Sturridge should have his hat-trick! He robs Hangeland deep inside his own half but Schwarzer pulls off a great save to deny the England forward.
Would you believe it? Liverpool respond with a goal! Kacaniklic looks to have been blocked off near the Liverpool goal, nothing is given and the visitors break with Coutinho finding Sturridge with a lovely pass and the striker makes no mistake and coolly slots past Schwarzer.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL! STURRIDGE!
Big call for handball! Ruiz play a one-two from his short corner and his left foot cross strikes the arm of a Liverpool defender but Mark Halsey says no penalty!
This second half has picked up pace dramatically as it's now Fulham and Ruiz goes close. The Costa Rican receives the ball on the edge of the area and forces a corner after his shot is deflected wide.
Events livening up at Craven Cottage as Johnson goes on a dribbling run for Liverpool down the right. He manages to get to the byline, only for his cross to find a Fulham defender.
The young Swede again causes Liverpool problems with his direct running, eventually falling over inside the penalty area but Mark Halsey isn't interested.
Fulham mount their first attack of the second half as Kacaniklic runs at the Liverpool defence who are unable to dispossess the Swede, he shoots from 20 yards but his shot goes wide of Reina's left-hand post.
Yellow CardGlen Johnson
A rather horrific tackle by Glen Johnson who goes through on Enoh, the England full-back is lucky to escape with a yellow card.
A good start to the second half by the visitors who are searching for Sturridge with every attack, could become a tad predictable if it continues.
There was one half-time switch as Jose Enrique came on to replace Andre Wisdom.
Early chance for Liverpool as Emmanuelson allows Sturridge to leap for a header at the far post from a Downing cross, the forward couldn't double his and Liverpool's tally however as he heads over the bar.
Fulham begin the second half..
The visitors looked firmly in control of the game in the opening 20 minutes but went behind thanks to some poor defending allowing Dimitar Berbatov to head home a Sascha Reither cross, who's been outstanding ever since. Fulham's lead didn't last long after a piece of individual brilliance by Daniel Sturridge saw Liverpool draw level. Ever since it's been the home side in control but we enter half-time level.
45' + 2'
The half-time whistle goes. 1-1.
Two minutes of stoppage time in the first half at Craven Cottage, with the home side still on top but chances are becoming hard to create.
The home side have firmly set up camp in the Liverpool half as the first half is drawing to a close. A huge contrast to the opening 20 minutes to the game.
But it's Fulham who create the next chance as Reither delivers another dangerous cross into the penalty area and Berbatov goes close from six yards.
After a manic three minutes, things seem to have calmed down ever so slightly at Craven Cottage, both teams struggling to keep a hold of the ball.
Instant reply by the visitors and it's super play from the England international. Wisdom clears the ball up-field but finds Sturridge who then beats a man before blasting home with his un-favoured right foot.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL! STURRIDGE!
Shortly after their first shot on target, the home side find the back of the net. All too easy for the Bulgarian as he's unmarked in the penalty area to nod home a superb cross from Reither on the right. Suspicion of offside against the on-loan full-back however.
GOAL! FULHAM! BERBATOV!
Ruiz's free kick is cleared by the Liverpool defence but only as far as Enoh who unleashes a shot from 30 yards which is straight at Reina.
Good work by Duff as he wins a free kick from Downing in a dangerous looking position on the right.
Henderson has the next shot for the visitors and like the others before him, it is way off target. Half an hour in and only one shot on target, with little from the home side.
Sturridge should do better for Liverpool as he springs the offside trap and is played in by Carragher, but the forward shoots from a tight angle and the ball fires across goal.
The game has slipped into the pattern of the visitors controlling possession, but Fulham are doing a good job of keeping men behind the ball as they look to frustrate the visitors into playing a wayward pass.
After a scramble in the penalty area from the resulting corner, Liverpool manage to clear to safety.
Promising play from Fulham now who look to have grown in confidence as a result of having the ball. Emmanuelson plays the ball behind Andre Wisdom into the path of Kacaniklic who's cross forces a corner.
The Cottagers manage to keep the ball for their longest period of the match so far but are struggling to create anything of note.
An early change for the home side as Keiran Richardson looks to have picked up an injury, he's replaced by Urby Emmanuelson.
We have our first shot on target and predictably it comes from the away side in the form of in form attacker Coutinho. He manages to wriggle his way past an opponent and fires a fierce shot which Schwarzer parries away.
Jonjo Shelvey makes good progress through the middle of the park for Liverpool, only to be halted by Reither who is looking to extend his spell at Fulham beyond this season.
A rather lackluster start to the game by the home side, not the type of performance the Craven Cottage faithful would have been hoping to see in their last home league game of the season.
Still the visitors are managing to retain the ball well and force their first corner of the game after Hughes nods a dangerous looking cross from Stewart Downing behind.
The visitors are starting to control the game and are keeping possession well, the ball eventually falls for Shelvey on the edge of the penalty area but he can't manage to generate enough space to test Schwarzer.
Nervy by Coates as he conceeds another corner. Duff's delivery is claimed well by Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Fulham win the first corner of the game which is played short to Karagounis, his cross is just too pacey for everyone in the penalty area and sails behind for a goal kick.
Craven Cottage has been embarked by a red smoke, the Liverpool fans have come armed with flares this afternoon.
Liverpool get the game underway..
As for the visitors, they can still pip neighbours Everton to sixth place but must win and hope the Toffees drop points in order to do so. Both scenarios are probably unlikely to happen so let's hope for an open, goal-scoring game today. Kick-off is 15 minutes away.
In case you didn't know, the home side are still not mathematically save from relegation as they sit on the magical 40 point mark. A win would guarantee survival, whilst a draw would mean Wigan will have to win their final two games by a considerable margin.
Husmukh Kerai is Goal.com's man down at Craven Cottage this afternoon, he sums up the team news for your reading pleasure: "No Steven Gerrard for Liverpool this afternoon as Brendan Rodgers makes three changes to his team. Andre Wisdom, Sebastian Coates & Jonjo Shelvey replace Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique & the club captain. Looks like the Reds will line up with three at the back, Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson playing as wing-backs. Fulham, meanwhile, hand a start to Alex Kacaniklic, a player who has really impressed in his debut season. It could be a final Craven Cottage appearance for the likes of Urby Emmanuelson and Sascha Reither. The German full-back has become a real fan favourite here, with many of the locals urging Martin Jol to sign the Cologne defender on a permanent deal.
And Liverpool as: Reina; Wisdom, Coates, Carragher; Johnson, Downing, Lucas, Henderson; Shelvey, Coutinho' Sturridge. Subs: B Jones, Enrique, Assaidi, Borini, Suso, Coady, L Jones.
First of all, let's bring you the team news. Fulham line-up as: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson; Duff, Enoh, Karagounis, Kacaniklic; Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs: Etuhu, Riise, Rodallega, Petric, Emmanuelson, Frimpong, Senderos.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE play-by-play text commentary of Fulham's last home game of the season, as they welcome Liverpool to Craven Cottage.
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