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February 12, 2014
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 25375
K. Touré 8' (own goal)
K. Richardson 63'
D. Sturridge 41'
Philippe Coutinho 72'
S. Gerrard 90'+
Fulham meanwhile will be gutted to not have gained a vital point in their fight against relegation. This loss means they're rooted to the bottom of the table with just 20 points from 26 games.
Forget Liverpool looking for a top four finish, they should be looking at winning the league. Unbeaten in 2014 and just four points of the top of the table.
Despite applying all the pressure Liverpool went behind again to a Richardson strike before Countinho drew them level. There was an inevitability about Liverpool finding a winner, but René Meulensteen will be gutted that his side conceded so late on after a great display.
FULL TIME: Liverpool snatch a dramatic win in the final few minutes after Sturridge was stupidly brought down by Riether with Gerrard scoring the resulting penalty. Toure had put Fulham ahead with an own goal but Sturridge equalised before half time.
90' + 5'
90' + 3'
CHANCE! Suarez almost delivers the final blow, he beats the offside trap, slips in a low ball toward Henderson who can't quite get it out his feet and Fulham get it to safety. Surely Fulham can't grab an equaliser?
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Steven Gerrard
90' + 1'
Yellow Card John Heitinga
90' + 1'
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! Riether trips Sturridge and Liverpool have a penalty. Steven Gerrard steps up and smashes it into the top left hand corner past Stockdale. Still five minutes of stoppage time to be played.
Flanagan's delivery has been poor tonight. Gerrard spreads it wide towards him again but his cross doesn't clear the first man and Fulham survive. Liverpool still knocking on the door, Suarez dropping deep to conduct things but is unable to create an opening.
Just over two minutes remain here at Craven Cottage. Liverpool have had 76% of possession during the second half, can they make it count?
Fulham finally get out their own half, Holtby has a pop from 20 yards and wins his side a corner.
CLOSE! Great chance for Coutinho to grab the winner. Suarez lays it off to Coutinho on the edge of the box, the Brazilian hits it first time but he drags his shot inches wide.
The game has gone a little flat surprisingly, perfect for Fulham but Rodgers is screaming at his players to press higher.
Just seen an image of Stekelenburg and he has a big shiner below his eye, I'm sure he's got some nice cold peas on it as we speak. His replacement Stockdale lofts a long ball down field trying to relieve some Liverpool pressure.
Bent skips past Henderson in the middle and tries to spring an attack but Henderson trips him up and Fulham have a free kick. They'll want to get hold of the ball and slow the game down a bit.
Yellow Card Jordan Henderson
STAT ATTACK: The Cottagers' last home win against Liverpool was in December 2011 when Clint Dempsey's goal proved the difference.
Surely Liverpool will go on to win this now? They almost immediately get another as Coutinho plays Suarez in who collides with Stekelenburg. The Dutchman is hurt though and will be replaced by David Stockdale.
Assist Daniel Sturridge
GOAL! Well, what an exciting finish we have here. Coutinho lets fly from 20 yards out, it takes a slight deflection and slips past Stekelenburg to draw Liverpool level.
I wonder if Rodgers will consider bringing someone on soon to shake things up? he has Victor Moses and Iago Aspas as potential options.
Suarez looks determined to drag his side back into this. Gerrard plays a long ball into the box, it falls to Suarez who fluffs his volley and can't connect with the rebound. Rodgers must be wondering how his side are losing.
So Liverpool are back to square one. They've been applying all the pressure this half but find themselves behind. How can they react?
Yellow Card Kieran Richardson
Goal Kieran Richardson
GOAL! I don't believe it. Perhaps their draw with Man Utd wasn't a fluke. Riether hits a hopeful ball into the back post, Bent is waiting for it, but Skrtel and Flanagan get mixed up, eventually leaving Richardson to thump the delivery home.
POST! Suarez does brilliantly to hold off Riether and hits a low drive toward the far corner and it cannons off the post and goes out for a goal kick. So close.
Sturridge cuts in from the right and has a shot deflected out for a corner. How much longer can Fulham hold on?
CHANCE! Suarez again nips in behind and plays a great ball across the six yard box but no one is there to score. The Uruguayan is furious with his teammates.
Richardson is about to counter for Fulham but Coutinho brings him to ground cynically to prevent the attack and receives a yellow card for his troubles. Fulham holding on here as Liverpool sit camped on the edge of their box.
Yellow Card Coutinho
CLOSE! Henderson floats a ball toward the back post, Suarez brings it down and drills a shot across the face of goal, just inches wide. They're getting closer.
Sidwell goes for a Beckham and spots Mignolet off his line, he has a pop from well inside his own half, it's on target but the Belgian is there in time to safely catch the ball.
Suarez hits a first time cross into the back post, it ricochets back to him but his second cross is also blocked. But Liverpool have a corner. They've picked up where they left off, already applying a lot of pressure this half.
Suarez takes the free kick, it's a threatening ball into the back post but in the end Stekelenburg can just let it go out for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Sascha Riether
Gerrard playing Sterling in down the right but new signing Heitinga reads it and intercepts the ball. Liverpool have definitely started the brighter of the two teams this half and they have a free kick in a dangerous position after Suarez was fouled by Riether.
STAT ATTACK: Liverpool had 66 per cent possession compared to Fulham's 34 in the first half. The Reds also had 10 shots compared to the Cottagers six, but it was all very tight and this match is delicately poised.
And we're back underway, Fulham kick us off.
The players are back out on the pitch, we'll be back underway very shortly.
But Liverpool grew into the game and got a deserved equaliser with Sturridge scoring his 16th league goal of the season to bring Liverpool level. It's nicely set up for the second half.
So there's the whistle for half time. Fulham can be very satisfied with that first half display, they were fortunate to take the lead through a Toure own goal, but they continued to push forward and perhaps should have scored a second.
45' + 2'
Liverpool have a free kick out wide, Gerrard takes it but the ball is deflected out for a corner. It's a good delivery towards Suarez who mistimes his leap and is unable to make contact.
There will be two minutes of added time. Meulensteen will just want it to end so he can talk to his players.
He's not shy is he Sturridge. He wriggles free from about 30 yards out and has a go, it's a great effort and is just over. Fulham won't want to concede another after a good first half display.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL! They get the equaliser at the perfect time and it's Daniel Sturridge again. Unbelievable through ball by Gerrard, he breaks up a Fulham attack and plays a perfect weighted pass from the half way line, Sturridge is in behind and calmly rolls it past Stekelenburg. Game on!
Sterling is growing into the game. He finds space down the right and puts in a decent delivery at second time of asking towards Sturridge but the Englishman can't quite get a touch on it. If Liverpool are to equalise you feel Sterling will be involved.
It's Fulham who are asking the questions now. Kvist plays a delicate through ball to Holtby who hits it first time from 12 yards out but rolls wide. He should have hit the target from there.
Richardson again goes past Flanagan too easily and delivers a great cross toward Bent but he can only head it over the bar. It's whipped in but Sidwell heads over.
If the Cottagers can see this through to half time they'll be very happy. You do feel they'll need another goal with Liverpool applying all the pressure but they are capable of scoring on the counter.
Good ball by Suarez through to Sterling. He's quick and almost nicks it but Stekelenburg is quick off his line and mops up. Fulham looking comfortable right now.
Better from Liverpool, they're passing the ball quicker but are still unable to create a chance to equalise. Fulham will be quite happy with the first half hour, leading and defending well plus they look dangerous on the break. A bit of thinking for Rodgers to do.
FACT: Luis Suarez has scored four goals in four Premier League games against Fulham. Can he do it again tonight, Brendan Rodgers will certainly hope he can.
Liverpool are unable to create anything clear cut, or get behind the home sides' back four. Sturridge, instead, decides to have a pop from 25 yards out but it's straight at Stekelenburg.
Steven Sidwell has probably left a little mark on Suarez there. The Englishman has gone in hard on the Uruguayan, it was a fair enough tackle, but Suarez has taken a little while to get to his feet.
Fulham now have a bit of possession but they look quite content to play it around in front of Liverpool. Rodgers is urging his front three - Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling - to get in behind the Fulham defence, but it's tough when Fulham are sitting so deep.
Fulham are dropping deeper and deeper. They need to revert back to how they started this game. They're looking long toward Darren Bent but it doesn't help if he is all by himself in attack.
FACT: The Merseysiders are unbeaten in six league games (W4, D2). Will they be able to continue that run tonight? They'll have to come from behind if they do.
Tidy play by Liverpool down the right, Sturridge slips Suarez in, he gets to the byline and instead of cutting the ball back he goes for an audacious strike from the tightest of angles. But it's a poor effort by the Uruguayan, high and wide and Fulham have a goal kick.
Game gone a little flat, but Liverpool look more in control now. Gerrard is trying to assert himself in the holding midfield role by spraying the passes about. Sidwell has looked excellent so far tonight, not giving Coutinho or Gerrrard anytime on the ball.
Great play by Suarez, he receives the ball on the left and floats past a few Fulham defenders before unleashing a driven shot toward the near post. Stekelenburg manages to push it away for a corner but it's a good response from Liverpool since going behind.
How can Liverpool respond? They look a little stunned by the way Fulham have started this match. Better, as Sterling gets down the right and his cross is charged down forcing a corner.
Yellow Card William Kvist Jörgensen
Own Goal Kolo Toure
GOAL! Well it has been coming and it's another howler from Toure. Sidwell slips through Richardson into the box who puts a low first time cross into the six yard area, Toure slides in to clear but ends up putting it into the back of his own net. He's complaining he lost his footing, but it was a dreadful mistake by the Ivorian.
Liverpool are trying to get themselves into this game, with Toure and Skrtel casually pinging the ball about at the back. They try and force it forward with a long ball toward Suarez but he can't latch onto it and it rolls all the way through to Stekelenburg.
Bright start from the Cottagers with Kvist whipping in an early ball to the back post which Skrtel can only clear for a corner. Tonight it's Liverpool facing the early pressure. Poor corner by Sidwell and again, Liverpool can play it away.
Immediate attack by Fulham with Bent testing Mignolet from distance. The Belgian tips it over resulting in a Fulham corner. Sidwell takes it, but it's easily cleared and Liverpool come away with the ball.
Phil Dowd blows the whistle and we're off.
The players are out on the pitch, we'll be underway shortly.
Well here's a stat that makes ugly reading for Fulham fans. The Cottagers have the worst home record in the division so far this season, collecting 10 points from a dozen matches at the Cottage. But after their heroic 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, resisting an onslaught by Man Utd which included 81 crosses, Rene Meulensteen will hope for another disciplined display in their fight against relegation.
Liverpool will be hoping to build on possibly the performance of the season on Saturday against Arsenal. The opening 20 minutes was a demonstration in how to press, finish and counter attack at speed which the league leaders simply had no answer to. How will Fulham go about stopping the force that is SAS and co?
LIVERPOOL SUBSTITUTES: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Allen, Moses, Teixeira and Aspas
LIVERPOOL XI: Mignolet; Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Cissokho; Sterling, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho; Suarez, Sturridge
FULHAM SUBSTITUTES: Stockdale, Hangeland, Kasami, Kacaniklic, Duff, Cole, Parker
FULHAM XI: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Burn, Riise; Tunnicliffe, Sidwell, Kvist, Richardson; Holtby; Bent
Before we go any further, let's have a look at how both sides are lining up, starting with the home side.
Liverpool defenders Mamadou Sakho and Jose Enrique along with midfielder Lucas Leiva are still a way off from returning but the Reds can welcome defenders Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson back into the squad.
TEAM NEWS: Fulham's record signing Kostas Mitroglou is still struggling with a knee problem so the Greek international will have to wait a little longer before he makes his debut. Venezuela international defender Fernando Amorebieta also misses the match day squad through injury.
The tube strike is cancelled and the game will go ahead as planned, which is good news for all the fans and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. I'm sure the Frenchman would have had something to say were Liverpool to end up with a free week ahead of their FA Cup meeting with the Gunners.
Hello and welcome to this evening's LIVE play-by-play commentary of the Premier League meeting between struggling Fulham and title contenders Liverpool here at Craven Cottage. My name is Greg Taylor and I'll be guiding you through all the action.
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