Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Wednesday January 26 2011
Despite putting on a good show Fulham went down 1-0 at Anfield tonight.
Steve Sidwell was handed his first start for Fulham after Dickson Etuhu was ruled out through a hamstring injury. Aaron Hughes recovered form the knock sustained against Stoke City to take his place at the heart of the defence alongside Brede Hangeland.
For the opposition, Steven Gerrard returned after a period on the sidelines through suspension. However, there was no sign of Fulham old-boy Paul Konchesky in the squad of eighteen.
Fulham got the action underway and early on had the slightest of chances when Hughes stabbed Murphy`s free kick off target. Liverpool were then denied a goal when Torres netted after being put through by Meireles but the offside flag was, wrongly, raised.
Stockdale then showed he is the heir apparent to Schwarzer`s role producing a great save to deny Meireles from eight yards out palming the ball away. Our young keeper remained the centre of attention easily saving a long range effort from Gerrard.
Johnson cut in from the left and his powerful shot was once again dealt with superbly by Stockdale. After being under the cosh from the off, Fulham suddenly created two decent chances, Reina was forced to save from Dempsey and then Dembele shot straight at the keeper, from Andrew Johnson`s cut-back, when well placed.
Fulham then had to mount a rearguard action when Glen Johnson worked his way into the area and Torres shot had to be blocked. As half time approached Torres couldn`t find the target from a Kelly cross.
Half Time - Liverpool 0 Fulham 0
Liverpool didn`t take too long to get that vital breakthrough in the second half though when Pantsil, scored an own goal. The goal coming after Torres had seen his shot deflected n to the post an din the ensuing scramble Pantsil was unfortunate to slice the ball into his own net.
Liverpool 1 Fulham 0 (Pantsil og - 52 minutes)
Dempsey tried to get Fulham back on level terms with a snap-shot but Reina saved well. Murphy curled a free kick wide from distance. Pantsil then received a yellow card after an altercation.
Searching for the equaliser, Hughes saw Reina tip his header around the post. From the resulting corner Hangleand`s header was goal bound until Meireles hacked it away off the line.
Fulham were doing all the pressing and when Dempsey got his head to a Murphy free kick Dembele saw his shot scrambled away by Reina. It was to be the last meaningful action.
Date:Wednesday January 26 2011
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