Liverpool 1-0 Fulham

A tale of two shins.  John Paintsil’s diverted a muddled ball over his own goal-line; later Raul Mereiles’ sliced a powerful Hangeland header away from danger.

Liverpool scored early when Torres beat our offside line and slotted home.  It was disallowed – wrongly – by the male linesman, a let off that Fulham made the most of.  By 20 minutes or so, having survived the initial rush, we were on top.  Danny Murphy was again dominating the middle of the field, Moussa Dembele seemed keen to dribble past every Liverpool player at least twice, Andy Johnson was racing around like a spaniel on red bull and Clint Dempsey was at his bustling best.  Only Damien Duff seemed subdued.

We might have opened the scoring when Dempsey won the ball and scuttled into the area, but his hard shot from an increasingly difficult angle was at Reina.  Then another chance, the ball squared just behind Dembele, all alone on the penalty spot, and again the shot found the Liverpool keeper.  Dembele did well to retrieve the cross and get it on target, but a player of his quality could have taken a touch and rolled it into either corner easily enough.   Big moment.

In the meantime, David Stockdale was earning his spurs:  a Raul Mereiles header seemed certain to go in, but Stockdale, falling to his right, got a firm hand to it and palmed it away.  Then he tipped over a Glen Johnson screamer.   There’s something of David Seaman in the lad, and I’d like to see him keep his place for a while.

The Liverpool winner was a masterclass of misfortune and bungling.  Dempsey passed loosely towards Baird but the ball was deflected by a harrying Liverpool player into the path of Torres.  His shot clipped Hangeland’s heel and hit the post, from where it rebounded into the six yard box.  Here came John Paintsil to the rescue, but my suspicion is that a prone Stockdale probably deflected the ball just as Paintsil went to volley clear, resulting in a dreadful mess of a clearance that went backwards into the net.  What a way to ruin a good away performance.

Fulham dominated again, Johnson’s slipperiness proving hard for the Liverpool centre-backs to handle, Dempsey getting closer and closer (one flying volley felt like it belonged in his Confederations Cup collection) but then Dembele had the second big chance of the night:  Dempsey soared, headed down, and Dembele volleyed at Reina from close range.  Ouch.  Should’ve scored.  We had other chances, but none so good as that.

It felt like a cup tie as we charged onwards for an equaliser, but Liverpool held out.  If Roy Hodgson was watching he might have raised an eyebrow or two.  Liverpool certainly ran around more than they did on his watch, but this team still lacks something.  Fulham should by now realise that there’s nothing to be afraid of away from home, and take confidence from a very good showing.

12 thoughts on “Liverpool 1-0 Fulham

  1. A predictable result in many ways. One goal was always going to be enough and it was a question of who would have the slice of luck required to get it – as it turns out it was Liverpool, in the shape of Clint giving the ball away in a dangerous area, leading to a comedy of errors, culminating in a scrappy goal. Other than that, Torres hardly got a look in, Murphy got more of the ball than Gerard, Clint scrapped hard up front, AJ showed a couple of touches of brilliance, Dembele missed a couple he could / should have taken, and Pantsil went mental after being set up by Liverpool. A disappointing outcome, but lots of good signs.

  2. I’m frustrated because I thought we played above average and Liverpool played well below average and the only reason we didn’t win was because of our (usual) poor finishing. I wish we were getting a striker in on loan or something but it doesn’t look promising.

  3. I was very, very pleased with the performance. Liverpool had more quality on the field than us at certain positions (striker, Centre Mid) but we played some sublime football.

    How important could Moussa Dembele be? The way the ball sticks to him up front, giving us a legitimate target man (to feet). This allows support players to get forward and we look much better. I know he missed two chances but I guess that is life. I would imagine that Dempsey would have stuck those away!

    We played well, deserved a draw, could have had a win, but ended up losing. You’ve got to love football.

  4. Liverpool were below the Dalglish par (as far as you can judge par after 5 games), but from what I’ve seen under him they’ve clearly improved. It’s to our great credit that we stalled this improvement. Murphy is in absolutely fantastic form and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season now, whereas a few weeks ago a sense of dread was starting to set in.

  5. Anyone else think that we might be seeing the blossoming of a beautiful partnership in AJ & Dembele? They both worked their socks off, earning and maintaining possession, and seemed to be very aware of each other’s presence. Had Dembele been just a little sharper, he would be MOTM by a country mile and we’d be looking back at 3pts.

    Duff quiet for two reasons, I think: Glen Johnson had a great game, and DD was forced to babysit JP a little. I love Pantsil, because he loves us and Fulham, but since Hodgson has left he really hasn’t been all that. OK going forwards, stroke and heart attack inducing liability defending.

    Mind, had the Torres goal been given it would arguably been a completely different game – next time a decision goes against us and we cry blue murder, it would be good to remember this.

    1. AJ & Dembele are like the equivalent of playing ‘small ball’ in the NBA. It gives us more options and means we do not keep lumping it forward but actually have to pass the ball

  6. How many points have we lost to own goals this season? By my count two wins and a tie: 5pts difference. I can’t help but think about that when looking at our league standing. It’s very frustrating.

  7. AJ and Delembe are similar players. They’re both fast and crafty and can hold the ball but neither one of them is going to score more than 5 this season.

  8. We’ve now come from 4 away games against “big clubs” Arsenal, that lot down road, Spurs, and Liverbirds, having played them below par and thinking we could/should of got something, seems too much of a coincidence and must be something in how we set up against these teams, while frustrating I rekon were on the brink of a great win at a big club…. maybe Fulham will be the only team to beat Manure at old trafford this season?!

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