Luis Suarez had an effort ruled out for offside before Jay Spearing was sent-off for a late challenge on Moussa Dembele. Clint Dempsey popped up with the winner with five remainingTen man Liverpool's strong away run was halted after they were beaten by a late Fulham goal at Craven Cottage - which also saw Uruguayan Luis Suarez have an chalked off for offside.
With Brazilian Lucas Leiva out for the duration of the season, Kenny Dalglish called up Jay Spearing for his first Premier League appearance of the campaign but it only lasted 70 minutes as he was sent-off by referee Kevin Friend for clattering into Belgian Moussa Dembele rather late.
The visitors were aiming for the seventh straight away win, which which would have equalled a club record, but were beaten by Fulham thanks to a winning goal by all-time Premier League leading goalscorer Clint Dempsey.
Moussa Dembele had the game's first chance. Striker Bryan Ruiz slotted the Belgian through but Pepe Reina made himself big to block his shot. A goal would have capped a fine flowing move and directly from that save, the ball went down the other end and Craig Bellamy’s cross saw Charlie Adam instinctively volley goalwards but his attepmt was blocked.
Moments later Luis Suarez cut back for striker partner Andy Carroll but his powered effort on the stretch was straight at Mark Schwarzer and Adam’s shot from range was deflected goalbound but the Australian goalkeeper had it covered at his near post.
Luis Suarez had a shot from range after Carroll’s clever header down to him but his attempt sailed over the bar.
Dembele rifled a left-footed drive from outside the box after he made the space for himself and Reina had to be smart as the ball was travelling into his bottom corner. But he got down quickly and did enough to push the ball away from goal.
Clint Dempsey made light work of Reina’s poor clearance after a pass back and his half volley was well saved by the Spaniard.
Jordan Henderson’s run into the box saw his dinked effort come back off the inside of the post before being cleared away. 11th time this season in the league.
Suarez’s dart to the byline again saw him cut the ball back to Carroll but he miscued his effort as he scuffed the ball and it deflected away off Hangeland from inside the six-yard area.
Dempsey drove at Reina again and this time his shot almost deceived the Spaniard as it swerved mid-air and the stand-in captain had to palm the ball away whilst diving the other way, then moments later the American followed up his effort with a shot that drifted wide.
Second-half saw an overreaction from Dempsey after Craig Bellamy’s tackle and the American followed the Welshman around with his face in his but the referee just booked the pair of them.
Jose Enrique volleyed from outside the box forcing a fine save from Schwarzer, parrying it away from goal.Liverpool continued to press forcing corner after corner and Suarez again went on a darting run to the byline. He nipped the ball around the defender before running into traffic in the box. Referee Kevin Friend gave a free-kick but could have easily have given a penalty as the Uruguayan appeared to be blocked off.
Friend again was in the middle of controversy after Adam went on a trailblazing, counter-attacking run. He had options either side of him but continued with the ball and was bundled over by Philippe Senderos inches outside of the penalty are and the referee correctly gave a free-kick. Bellamy thundered the resulting set-piece into the wall and out for a corner, in which Daniel Agger headed wide.
Fulham tried a training ground manoeuvre with a set-piece of their own but Danny Murphy failed to clear the first man and his follow-up was well held by Reina.
Glenn Johnson fed Bellamy through with a well-weighted ball through the defence but the striker drove straight across the face of goal.
Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net. Enrique dinked the ball over the top of the defence and Suarez finished with aplomb but he was just offside.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men with twenty minutes remaining when Jay Spearing clattered late into Moussa Dembele and his follow through took most of the Belgian with him.The hosts should have taken the lead almost immediately. Fulham’s clever build-up involved substitute Andy Johnson laying it off, with Moussa Dembele’s backheel, Brayn Ruiz’s pass that ended up with the ball cannoning off the bar from Dempsey, who was proving to be a thorn in the visitor's side.
Shortly after, Dembele shot straight at the Spaniard, then drove just wide, as the Cottagers tried to make their one man advantage count.
Substitute Stewart Downing fended off numerous defenders before unleashing a chance that hit the post via a world-class save from Schwarzer.
But the deadlock was eventually broken with five minutes left. Danny Murphy’s drive was fumbled into the path of Clint Dempsey by Reina and he slotted past the normally reliable goalkeeper and Fulham held on for their second home win of the game.