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0 vs 1
Played
May 1, 2012 7:45 PM WAT
Anfield — Liverpool
Referee:‬ L. Probert‎
Attendance:‬ 40106‎
 
 
Martin Skrtel 5′ (OG)
Top of the Match
Danny Murphy
Danny Murphy
Fulham
Doni
Doni
Liverpool
Flop of the Match
Jay Spearing
Jay Spearing
Liverpool
Jay Spearing
Jay Spearing
Liverpool

Liverpool 0-1 Fulham: Skrtel own goal condemns Reds to another Anfield defeat ahead of FA Cup final

The Red's calamitous home form took another turn for the worse ahead of Cup final weekend as a spirited Cottagers side took all three points away from Anfield

By James Burford

EPL - Liverpool v Fulham, Martin Skrtel and Clint Dempsey
Getty Images

Fulham collected their first-ever Merseyside win, after a Martin Skrtel own goal gifted all three points to the Cottagers.

The result now moves the Londoners level on points with their Anfield counterparts, as Martin Jol's team remain on course to equal their best-ever Premier League finish.

Fulham performed with an air of control for most of the game, and they took an early lead thanks to Alex Kacaniklic's toe-poked shot deflecting in off Skrtel.

The Reds had chances of their own, with Jonjo Shelvey, Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll all going close for the hosts, but Dalglish's men rarely stamped their authority on a game which, to all intents and purposes, was more of a rest-period for Liverpool's key players ahead of the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Kenny Dalglish made nine changes from the team that started in the 3-0 victory over Norwich, with Andy Carroll returning to lead the line after recovering from a minor groin injury.

Fulham boss Martin Jol was again absent from the dugout as he continues to recover from a chest infection. First team coach Billy McKinlay made three changes to the team that lost on Saturday with Danny Murphy, Stephen Kelly and Alexander Kacaniklic all returning to first team action.

Liverpool hardly had time to settle into the game before Fulham took the lead in the fifth minute, as Jon Arne Riise galloped down the left and launched a low, scything cross into the boss, and after Alex Kacaniklic got a touch to it, Martin Skrtel could only watch as it rebounded off his chest and into the goal past the helpless Doni.

And the Reds looked to make an immediate response, as Skrtel headed narrowly wide from an Aurelio free kick (8).

The next 10 minutes passed without incident as Liverpool looked to exercise some degree of control in the game, with Aurelio attempting to pick out Carroll.

Pavel Pogrebnyak spurned the chance to make it 2-0 on 15 minutes after a chipped through ball from Kacaniklic found the Russian in the penalty area with only Doni to beat, but the striker could only play it straight at the goalkeeper before it was scrambled to safety.

And Fulham continued to penetrate at will as the barebones Liverpool side seemed indifferent to the growing confidence in the London side, with Kacaniklic causing trouble among the Reds defence.

Maxi Rodriguez attempted to breathe some life into the Liverpool side on 20 minutes as the Argentine fired a 25-yard shot high and wide.

The industry nearly paid dividends in the 24th minute as Carroll laid-off to Kuyt just outside the area, whose snapshot whistled wide of the post by a matter of inches.

Jonjo Shelvey had the chance to equalise after good hold-up play from Carroll, who found the young midfielder in space in the box, and his driven shot went past Schwarzer looking destined for the bottom corner, only for Brede Hangeland to appear out of nowhere on the line to deny the Englishman.

And Liverpool continued to create more chances, as a corner was headed back across goal by Carroll and rebounded narrowly over by Maxi (36), before the two combined once more (41) with the ball bouncing out for a goal kick after good play by Shelvey.

Shelvey saw a driven shot shave the outside post with his weaker foot before a Carroll header forced Schwarzer into a low, instinctive save (44).

Liverpool brought Downing on after the break in the hope that the impressive Carroll could get some more service, and the move immediately brought Liverpool to life, as Shelvey fired over from 30 yards barely seconds after the restart.

Spearing was next to test Schwarzer (47) as Dempsey slipped while in possession on the centre circle and the young midfielder advanced goalwards before unleashing a low, fizzing shot towards the corner, but the Fulham keeper was equal to it.

But Fulham threatened with more good chances to extend their lead, as a Damien Duff corner was headed powerfully, but narrowly wide by Clint Dempsey (53), and barely a minute later Moussa Dembele threaded the ball into the box for an unmarked Duff, who couldn’t get a toe to it before Doni gathered (54).

Fulham had Hangeland to thank yet again, though, for another goal-saving effort as Maxi burst into the Cottagers’ box following a long ball and the big Norwegian slid in at the last minute to deny the Argentine.

Substitute Kerim Frei nearly made it 2-0 to the visitors on 62 minutes as he jinked back in from the outside of the box and hammered a low shot goalwards, which flashed off the foot of the post, before Riise tested Doni after a scintillating run.

And such was Fulham’s dominance that Kenny Dalglish decided to haul off Fabio Aurelio for the reliable Jose Enrique, with the Anfield crowd becoming ever more inaudible as their team’s chances continued to look grim.

With 15 minutes remaining, the Fulham players began to believe they really could acquire their first league win at Anfield, with Dalglish finally giving the crowd something to cheer about by bringing on young talent Raheem Sterling for the ineffective Dirk Kuyt.

Dempsey could, and really should have killed the game off on 78 minutes as Frei threaded the American through, with only Doni to beat, but the Italian pulled off a fantastic one-handed save to keep the score at 1-0.

A 92nd minute Jonjo Shelvey free kick represented Liverpool's last real chance, but the midfielder blasted well over the crossbar.



Liverpool

32
Doni
Goalkeeper
3.00
6
Fabio Aurelio
Defender
66′
3.00
19
2.50
34
Martin Kelly
Defender
2.50
37
Martin Skrtel
Defender
5′
3.00
11
Maxi Rodríguez
Midfielder
3.00
14
Jordan Henderson
Midfielder
46′
2.50
20
Jay Spearing
Midfielder
2.00
8
Jonjo Shelvey
Midfielder
3.00
9
Andy Carroll
Striker
3.00
11
Dirk Kuyt
Midfielder
76′
2.50

Fulham

3.00
23
Mark Schwarzer
Goalkeeper
3.00
2
3.00
3
3.00
5
3.00
18
3.00
13
Danny Murphy
Midfielder
2.50
16
Damien Duff
Midfielder
3.00
30
3.00
11
3.00
29
3.00
2
Clint Dempsey
Midfielder

Substitutes

1
Bradley Jones
Goalkeeper
0.00
3
3.00
23
0.00
38
0.00
49
Jack Robinson
Midfielder
0.00
19
2.50
31
3.00

Substitutes

0.00
13
0.00
6
Chris Baird
Defender
86′
0.00
17
0.00
8
Pajtim Kasami
Midfielder
3.00
20
Dickson Etuhu
Midfielder
81′
3.00
21
Kerim Frei
Midfielder
58′
0.00
9

Coach/Manager

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Coach/Manager

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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Man City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Manchester United
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Man City
15 0