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December 5, 2011
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 25688
C. Dempsey 85'
90' + 5'
FULL TIME! Somewhat fortunate in its circumstances but a huge win for Fulham. Their defence held out resolutely under Liverpool pressure throughout until Spearing's red card and a Pepe Reina blunder gave them the impetus to grab all three points.
90' + 5'
The free kick is poorly taken into the wall by Suarez and allows Andy Johnson to break and smash the ball well wide to kill more time.
90' + 4'
90' + 3'
Before the free-kick can be taken, Marcel Gecov replaces an injured Danny Murphy.
90' + 2'
Head tennis in midfield until Luis Suarez wins a free-kick at the edge of the box. A final opportunity for Kenny Dalglish's side.
90' + 1'
Some desperate defending from Fulham but Liverpool just don't look to have the quality to break down this determined backline.
Clever from Bryan Ruiz holding off Jose Enrique and forcing the full-back into petulantly taking his legs. Free-kick and more time gone for Fulham.
Liverpool refusing to give up but Charlie Adam can only drag his effort from the edge of the box wide of the post.
What a result this would be for Fulham. Their defence held out magnificently under relentless Reds pressure and they could now hold a vital three points.
Assist Danny Murphy
Goal Clint Dempsey
GOAL! Goodness me, football. Straight up the other end and Danny Murphy passes Glen Johnson too easily to shoot at Reina, the Spanish keeper cannot handle it and drops it to the feet of Dempsey who makes no mistake from close range.
Unbelievable! Stewart Downing runs at the Fulham defence and lets fly only to see Schwarzer push it onto the post. Unlucky for the England winger.
And Fulham almost win it as Dembele charges forward and side foots the ball just past Pepe Reina's right-hand post.
Silly from Downing. The winger has the whole of the Fulham line to run across but strays offside when he should have known better.
Fulham come close yet again. Riise breaks down the left to pull back to Dembele but the Belgian can only force it straight at Pepe Reina and it is eventually cleared.
Off the bar! Clint Dempsey cuts in on his right at the edge of the box and lofts the ball over Reina and off the cross bar. So unfortunate for Fulham and a let off for Liverpool.
Liverpool win a corner but, as has been the case all night, it is a shocking delivery and comes to nothing.
Jose Enrique intercepts a pass to Kelly brilliantly and is unfortunate to just run the ball out of play in a tight corner. Incredible control from the Spaniard.
Fresh legs for the Reds but might they still think they can nick a late winner here?
A double sub for Liverpool as Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll are withdrawn for Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt.
Bryan Ruiz beats Jose Enrique on the right of the Fulham attack but pulls back to nobody and sees the ball cleared by Martin Skrtel.
Andrew Johnson is released behind the Liverpool defence but is offside. His threat is something the Reds must now consider as they try to push for a winner.
An absolute hammer blow for Liverpool who were dominating the game. Will Dalglish make a change now?
Red Card Jay Spearing
RED CARD! The ball breaks loose and tempts Jay Spearing to go through Moussa Dembele in trying to stamp his authority. He undoubtedly made contact with the man after winning the ball but it is far from an obvious red.
And finally, a substitution. Bobby Zamora, who has been oddly quiet thus far, is replaced by Andy Johnson.
Daniel Agger now getting in on the action but his burst from defence is eventually quelled. Liverpool will be desperate to make this breakthrough soon.
Fulham looking a constant threat on the counter but they have yet to conjure a clear chance this half. Both managers may well look to their bench soon.
The ball is in the back of the net, but it means nought. Luis Suarez gets on the end of a lovely Enrique chip and after lofting it over Schwarzer smashes it into the back of the Fulham net before seeing the flag raised for offside. It was a close one.
Andy Carroll finds space after a great Suarez lay-off but wastefully smashes it well wide. With several Liverpool players warming up the big forward may not be long for this match.
Fulham work position brilliant and Kelly's cross is just waiting to be nodded in before Skrtel rises to clear. Brilliant defending.
Fulham win a free-kick at the edge of the Reds box for a foul on John Arne Riise but waste in trying to be too clever and see it easily cleared.
Wayne Veysey from Craven Cottage: "Suarez is splitting opinion here - as always. The Fulham fans are calling him a 'cheat' after he went to ground in a failed attempt to win a penalty. The Liverpool fans naturally are endorsing the actions of their hero, who has struggled to win any significant decisions tonight."
Bellamy steps up to smash the free-kick but it cannons off the wall for another Liverpool corner which is eventually headed wide by Daniel Agger.
Yellow Card Philippe Senderos
Goodness me, breathless. After Liverpool do well to repel an endless Fulham attack they break brilliantly and as Charlie Adam passes Senderos he is brought down for what looks like a penalty. Not to Kevin Friend however who adjudged the contact to be outside the box. Liverpool free-kick.
A brilliant charge down the left by Jose Enrique wins another Liverpool corner but they waste the opportunity again as the ball is easily repelled.
Kenny Dalglish may well be incensed when he sees that again. Though there is an ease in the way in which the Uruguayan goes over, you've seen them given.
Suarez receives the ball in a dangerous position and as he puts the ball around Hangeland he goes down under contact from Riise. Quite possibly a penalty kick but the referee is unimpressed.
Another corner kick is well collected by Mark Schwarzer and the pressure is finally relieved.
Skrtel gets a shot away this time but it is well blocked by a desperate Fulham defence. All Liverpool now.
Two corners follow and it is the second which has Schwarzer scrambling from an Enrique volley. Is this breakthrough ever coming?
Liverpool work it wide but Johnson's cross is too long. No worries for the Reds, however, as Kelly wilfully and needlessly puts it out for a corner.
Yellow Card Clint Dempsey
Yellow Card Craig Bellamy
Some relentless Fulham pressing forces Liverpool all the way back to Reina.
A bit of handbags now between Craig Bellamy and Clint Dempsey has referee Kevin Friend bringing out his yellow card for both players.
No changes from either side at the break, by the way. I can't imagine it will stay that way for much longer should the scoreline stay the same.
Liverpool are instantly on the attack but are unable to find a man ready to get a shot off outside a congested Fulham penalty area.
Fulham restart the match.
45' + 1'
Wayne Veysey from Craven Cottage: "There is applause from both sets of supporters at the end of an opening period dominated by Liverpool. The visitors ended the half in almost complete control but Fulham have defended solidly, with Senderos outstanding. Suarez has been more sinned against than sinner. After understandably going to ground following some hefty challenges, he has been on the receiving end of some abuse from the home fans and is being booed pretty much every time he gets the ball. Ditto Bellamy after questioning one referee decision. Mud tends to stick in this sport."
45' + 1'
HALF TIME! And that's the half. Plenty of chances but no breakthrough. Both managers may look to substitutions early on to banish their profligacy.
45' + 1'
Dempsey controls the ball on his chest before pumping an ambitious effort way over the bar. Worth a punt.
Yellow Card Mousa Dembele
The Belgian gets a yellow card however for throwing the ball away in disgust after over-exuberance in a challenge with Suarez.
Glen Johnson marauds down the right hand side but is dispossessed by none other than Moussa Dembele. Clearly not averse to putting a shift in the Belgian forward.
A lull in the action for the first time since the half began. Can either side get the crucial first goal before half-time?
This time it is Dembele who has the opportunity to get the ball at the edge of the box but his blocked by Skrtel and into the grateful arms of Reina. Fulham looking more likely than the visitors toward the end of the first half.
Dempsey again finds space but pushes it wide of the post. The fluidity of the Fulham three behind Zamora has been particularly impressive so far.
A brilliant take by Dempsey is followed by a shot from the edge of the box which almost deceives Pepe Reina. Really could go either way this.
Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy try a one-two in the box but it's too intricate in a crowded area and comes to nothing.
Liverpool perhaps getting impatient now as Charlie Adam smashes a cross-field pass way over the diminutive Craig Bellamy. This game is absolutely poised.
Great defending from the hosts, yet again. Luis Suarez twists and turns in the box to cross for Andy Carroll but the big number nine has been tracked all the way and cannot get his shot off.
Enrique breaks up the field and gives the ball to Andy Carroll who is wrestled to the ground by two Fulham defenders. Liverpool free-kick.
Liverpool almost in again as an Andy Carroll knockdown is laid off by Henderson but Suarez can only drag it wide.
Wayne Veysey from Craven Cottage: "Liverpool's fans in the stand behind Reina's goal thought Henderson had given their team the lead with a brilliantly manufactured shot that hit the inside of the past and zipped across the goal-line before going out of play. They are used to their team being denied by the woodwork, though. It was the 11th time this season in the league, alone."
Fulham go immediately on the counter to see Dempsey shoot off Skrtel with Riise in acres on the left hand side. Poor choice from the American forward.
The corner is well defended but breaks to Jordan Henderson who drives into the box with intent to get an early shot off which comes agonizingly back off the post. So unfortunate for the young midfielder.
Fulham threaten with a corner but it is absolutely smashed away in the air and begins a counter-attack which sees Liverpool win their own corner.
Enrique miscontrols a pass into the Liverpool defence but Bobby Zamora pushes the ball too far in nicking it away from the Spaniard and gives Liverpool a let off.
So, no goals yet at the Cottage but plenty of intrigue. Liverpool looking the most likely but Fulham's threat on the counter has given Kenny Dalglish plenty to think about.
Liverpool almost in behind as Suarez's sumptuous skill gives him time to spray the ball cross-field to Bellamy. Unfortunately for the Reds, even the Welshman isn't quick enough to get on the end of it and it's out for a goal-kick.
A poor pass from Jay Spearing puts Liverpool under pressure. Fulham's threat is increasing, along with the crowd noise at Craven Cottage.
Wayne Veysey at Craven Cottage: "With the winter chill beginning to bite, three outfield players have donned the gloves tonight (Suarez, Ruiz and Zamora). But the most impressive of the glove wearers has been the man who wears them rain or shine - Liverpool stand-in skipper Pepe Reina. He has made two excellent saves from Dembele, the second of which looked a certainty to be heading for the far corner until the Spaniard parried it away at full stretch."
Nervy moments for Liverpool as a poor Charlie Adam header almost allows Dempsey in before the American gets a second bite of the cherry to sting Reina's palms with an impressive volley.
Better from Fulham as they keep it patiently before a Dembele piledriver has Reina scrambling to push the ball away. An interesting start to the match with the hosts looking likely on the counter despite the Reds dominating.
Kenny Dalglish's side are dominating the ball in the opening exchanges of this match. Martin Jol will be concerned about his side's chances of holding out during this early onslaught.
A wonderful exchange between Suarez and Henderson almost sees the Uruguayan in but his shot is instinctive and lacks control allowing Schwarzer to collect.
Liverpool are patient in probing and eventually work a shooting opportunity for Charlie Adam which is well held by Schwarzer after a couple of deflections.
Craig Bellamy picks up the ball just outside the host's 18-yard box but attempts to spread to Glen Johnson when the full-back has not moved up the pitch and surrenders the ball.
Jay Spearing shows a touch too much enthusiasm in the tackle with Bryan Ruiz and is penalised for a push on the Fulham forward.
Craig Bellamy gets his first chance to move at pace at the Fulham defence but is thwarted by a well-timed Hangeland tackle.
Picking up a bit now! Luis Suarez gets behind the Fulham defence and squares to Andy Carroll whose shot is powerful enough but, unfortunately for the pony-tailed forward, straight at Mark Schwarzer.
Straight up the other end the visitors break with numbers before Charlie Adam wins a corner after an audacious volley attempt. The corner is well defended and we're back to square one.
First chance of the match. Dembele breaks through the middle of the park too easily and is played in behind the Reds back four by Ruiz. Unfortunately for the hosts, the forward cannot divert the ball beyond Pepe Reina.
Jay Spearing shows exactly why he has been chosen to deputise for the injured Lucas tonight by recovering the ball immediately after a loose Glen Johnson pass surrenders possession.
Liverpool dominating possession so far but yet to really turn Fulham. The Reds' fans also in noticeably fine voice here tonight.
Martin Skrtel wins the first of what will be an important series of battles, getting up to deny Zamora the header.
Liverpool get the game under way with Suarez and Carroll.
The teams are out now at a rather festive looking Craven Cottage. The building which gives this wonderfully unique ground its name is bedecked in sparkly lights and several fans have donned Santa outfits. Let's hope it's a cracker (ho-ho!!!)
Liverpool fans will remember last year's fixture at this ground well as a rejuvenated Reds ran riot winning 5-2 thanks to a Maxi Rodriguez hat-trick.
That task is perhaps made easier by Fulham's dismal home record - they have registered just one win in 6 games at the Cottage this season.
Liverpool could equal a club record of seven consecutive away wins with a victory at Craven Cottage tonight.
For Kenny Dalglish's side, Jamie Carragher is still unable to break into a recently-solid defence as Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel continue in the middle. Craig Bellamy, who grabbed a brace of assists in the League Cup win against Chelsea, maintains his place in the team but will provide ammo for a striking pair in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll this time round.
Martin Jol makes three changes after the Europa League defeat to FC Twente. The injured Damien Duff is replaced by Clint Dempsey, Aaron Hughes make way for Philippe Senderos and Bryan Ruiz makes a rare start in place of Andrew Johnson.
Liverpool (4-4-2): Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Henderson, Spearing, Adam, Bellamy; Suarez, Carroll Subs: Doni, Coates, Kelly, Carragher, Maxi, Downing, Kuyt
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise; Murphy, Etuhu; Ruiz, Dempsey, Dembele; Zamora Subs: Etheridge, Johnson, Kasami, Gecov, Hughes, Frei, Briggs
Welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Fulham vs Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League. If you'd like to have the scene set, it's Monday and it's cold.
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