Fulham 1-0 Liverpool

These dark nights by the Thames aren’t half special, eh?  A lively 0-0 turned into a scintillating 1-0 win, Clint Dempsey’s late goal nicking the points with five minutes left.  We more or less deserved them, riding our luck to a degree but mainly doing enough, then taking advantage when Liverpool lost a man after Spearing’s red card.

That was key. Before that we couldn’t find space anywhere, so the dismissal solved that issue and all of a sudden a win seemed not just possible but likely. The team’s buildups got that bit sharper, shots started pinging Reina’s way, and it felt like something had to give, if only we could break through before time ran out.  We did: Senderos reversed a lovely ball wide to Murphy, Murphy scuffed in a shot that Reina couldn’t hold, Dempsey pounced from a yard out, his lime green boots whirling through the air to send the ball crashing into the net.  YES!

Before that Dempsey’s shots had mainly been from distance, his speculative efforts often coming close and serving to maintain some semblence of pressure (we couldn’t get into the area so had to shoot from outside it). Dembele was marauding again, Dickson Etuhu had as good a 45 minutes as he’ll ever have in the first half, and the teams left the field after 45 engrossing minutes with no goals but plenty to think about.  Fulham had to work out how to find space, but also how to deny it to Liverpool: it felt like we were living on the edge, slightly, particularly down the right flank where Kelly perhaps wasn’t getting the protection he’d have liked and was often isolated.

The second half was just as fun.  True, Fulham’s buildup was frustratingly slow, but Liverpool’s defence was excellent.  At the other end Mark Schwarzer made some fine saves, notably palming the ball onto the post following a Downing drive.  Johnson came on, not for Ruiz (showing flashes of brilliance while giving the ball away too often), but for the again disappointing Zamora.  What would this mean?  But we maintained forward progress and Johnson’s running offered something we didn’t have before: he made the most of his time on the pitch.

Liverpool kept up their pressure but it didn’t feel like they’d have enough to get through.   Charlie Adam was pulling strings, but doing so rather like a puppeteer who’s got a bit drunk and thinks he’s better than he really is.  He looks the part but not all of his passing is what it could be, and Danny Murphy taught him a nice lesson in when to expand and when to play safe. Pantomime villain Saurez tumbled hither and thither, Bellamy buzzed around annoyingly, too, but nobody in the side looked really dangerous.  And for that we must thank our defence, who stood up tremendously well under pressure.

A great win then, earned against a good team playing quite well.  It’s been a while since we took down one of the biggies, so Martin Jol will be delighted.

10 thoughts on “Fulham 1-0 Liverpool

  1. Thought we were pretty awful to be honest. Poor shape, no coherence or obvious gameplan. Lacked ideas in the final third, where whoever was up front often found themselves without support. Few options for the man on the ball. No way we deserved the victory IMO.

    But who cares! We were due some luck after the Spurs absurdity.

  2. Dempsey is now has the all time record for goals by an American in England. Although it would have been nicer if his chip earlier had floated in.

      1. If only… Jol’s comments as quoted in the Sky match recap:

        “I think it’s a bad one,” he said after seeing the midfielder hobble off in the closing stages.

        “His ankle is swollen up and I don’t think he will play in the next match, or couple of matches.

        “First we will celebrate the win and then we will have an assessment tomorrow, but I think it’s a bad one.”

  3. Apart from a 10 minute spell in the second half when they had loads of corners, I thought we matched them pretty well and had probably as many clear cut chances as them.

    Mark Schwarzer is an absolute hero.

    Liverpool have the makings of a good side, lots of pace, but Carroll does not fit into those plans. Suarez is a quality player, even if he is a villain, I spent most of the match watching through my fingers when he got the ball.

    Jol’s tactics were spot on. Sit relatively deep but stay compact, deny them space but dont press because we dont have the legs/the pace in the backline. Frustrate them (which we achieved, note the number of long range shots they had at the end of the first half) and try to build decent counter attacking moves.

  4. I was trying to work out last night what sort of formations both teams were playing.
    It seemed like we lined up 4-2-3-1 vs their 4-3-3, but every time we got the ball Bellamy and Suarez dropped so deep it became 4-5-1.

    It looked a bit weird as they seemed to drop back onto our ‘front’ three of Dembele, Dempsey and Ruiz, but that meant Murphy and Etuhu had a ton of time on the ball. I lost count of the times Murphy turned one way – then another – before passing in a third direction. The downside of this was that it looked like we had no runners ahead of the ball, as every angle was blocked off.

    Surely Liverpool, of all teams, know that you close Murphy down to stop us playing?

  5. Brilliant game to watch with lots of chances for each side and one came away thinking you had had your money’s worth (unlike last weeks Europa game).
    Perhaps the turning point was the sending off as this seem to fire us up again when Liverpool were starting to win the mid field with Murphy having a few off moments. Maybe the goalies were the difference with Schwazer’s more assured handling against Reina spilling the ball, not for the first time, when conceding the goal.
    Have to agree Etuhu had a great first half.

  6. Great win, and a game that made “Fulham” and “Clint Dempsey” trend on twitter in San Francisco (and, I’m told, other major US metropolitan areas), along with “Dan Quayle” and “Nap Time”.

    Offensively we still look very much like a team in the midst of a stylistic transition a lot of the time — half of our breaks seemed to end up stillborn at midfield, giving Liverpool plenty of time to regroup. (On the ESPN broadcast, Ian Darke said something like, “Fulham is trying to make it rhyme, but it’s not always working.”) But there were plenty of chances and lots of movement up and down the field. Such a refreshing change from the awfulness against Twente.

    I’m worried about Murphy. I’m not sure who else can play that part.

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