Clint Dempsey took advantage of a rare mistake from Pepe Reina and scored a powerful poacher's effort in the 85th minute. He becomes top American goalscorer in EPL history.Clint Dempsey and Fulham took advantage of a ten man Liverpool squad to end its strong away run in a 1-0 upset victory at Craven Cottage.
Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy’s shot was fumbled into the path of Dempsey by Pepe Reina in a rare mistake and the United States international slotted it past the goalkeeper in the 85th minute. Fulham's defense would then remain firm to preserve the club's second home win of the season.
The goal was Dempsey's sixth of the season and his 37th career goal for Fulham which put him ahead of former striker Brian McBride as the top scoring American in Premier League history.
Liverpool's loss comes as a major blow for a club that aims to be in the Champions League next season. The visitors were aiming for its seventh straight away win, which which would have equaled a club record.
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 game was tightly contested throughout.
Dembele had the game's first chance. Striker Bryan Ruiz slotted the Belgian through but 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 attempt 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.
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 traveling into his bottom corner. But he got down quickly and did enough to push the ball away from goal.
Jordan Henderson’s run into the box saw his dinked effort come back off the inside of the post before being cleared away. It was the 11th time this season in the league that Henderson's shot hit goal post.
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 the two players facing off but the referee just gave the duo yellow cards.
Fulham now sits 13th in the Premier League table, five points clear from the relegation zone.