After The Match 


Fulham-Liverpool 1-0 (0-0)          5.5. 07                            PL
Goals: Dempsey (68)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Paletta, Insua, Pennant, Alonso, Sissoko, Gonzalez, Fowler, Bellamy
Subs: El Zhar (Pennant 65), Finnan (Insua 74),
Kewell (Gonzalez 76)
Not used: Padelli, Hobbs
Yellow: Fowler (23), Arbeloa (45)        Diop (51), Brown (76)
Red: Diop (90)
Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 24,554
Shots on target: 2-4
Shots off target: 2-4
Blocked shots: 3-1
Possession: 41-59
Fouls conceded: 18-15
Corners: 4-14
Offsides: 4-5
Yellow: 2-2
HEADLINES  "If you want
to win matches you have
to take your chances..."
     Rafael Benitez

0505: Rafa counts the cost
0505: Clint puts Fulham on brink of safety



Rafa counts the cost

By Lee Brown - LFC Official Website

Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez is sweating on the fitness of four of his players after they picked up injuries during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Reds were beaten by a second half goal from Fulham substitute Clint Dempsey, but Rafa was more concerned with the condition of some players who had been the recipients of some over zealous challenges.

"I have four players injured," said Rafa. "Pepe Reina has a shoulder problem, Mark Gonzalez and Alvaro Arbeloa have ankle problems and Momo Sissoko has a knee injury. We will have to wait and see how they all are."

Benitez was particularly unhappy with a headbutt by Fulham Captain Michael Brown on Xabi Alonso that went unpunished. He said: "It's clear for everybody to see this incident and how the officials didn't see it is unbelievable."

On the game itself, Rafa defended his decision to make nine changes and pointed to a number of missed chances that might have seen Liverpool win the game.

"We had five clear chances in the first half which should be enough to win the game. If you want to win matches you have to take your chances, it's as simple as that. They had two chances and scored one goal."

Clint puts Fulham on brink of safety


Clint Dempsey finished off a fine Fulham move to condemn Liverpool to a 1-0 defeat and put Lawrie Sanchez's side on
the brink of safety.

Substitute Dempsey combined with Liam Rosenior before sending the ball past Jose Reina in the 69th minute to snatch the victory that should be enough to keep Fulham in the top flight for a seventh successive season.

It was the perfect moment for the 24-year-old, signed from New England Revolution for 1.5million by former boss Chris Coleman in January, to open his account with the Cottagers sat perilously close to the dropzone.

Liverpool selected just goalkeeper Reina and winger Jermaine Pennant from the side that beat Chelsea in Tuesday's epic Champions League semi-final but they still outclassed Fulham for most of the match.

Robbie Fowler missed a glorious chance from point-blank range while only the heroics of goalkeeper Antti Niemi kept Craig Bellamy at bay with the Wales striker going close several times.

Italian marksman Vincenzo Montella, who replaced Claus Jensen in the only change to the side beaten 3-1 by Arsenal, struck the woodwork with a deflected overhead kick but otherwise Fulham hardly threatened until Dempsey's breakthrough.

The victory was the perfect way for chairman Mohamed Al Fayed to celebrate his 10-year anniversay since taking over at Craven Cottage and the players completed a march around the pitch to rapturous applause.

But there was one serious blot on their copybook, with skipper Michael Brown lucky to escape a red card after appearing to head butt Xabi Alonso in an incident which left the Spanish midfielder with a bloody nose.

Liverpool created the first chance with Mark Gonzalez picking out Bellamy who struck first time but failed to connect cleanly.

Niemi came to Fulham's aid again in the ninth minute when Fowler sent Bellamy charging into space but he was denied by the Finland keeper after pulling the trigger from a tight angle.

Liverpool were finding plenty of space in the opposition half with their slick passing leaving the Cottagers trailing in their wake.

But Fulham squandered a great chance to take the lead in the 15th minute when Philippe Christanval lofted the ball to Brian McBride on the edge of the area.

The move caught the unmarked McBride by surprise and his first touch was poor, forcing the ball to bounce harmlessly away from danger.

Fulham had their tails up and struck the woodwork shortly after when an overhead kick from Montella was deflected onto the right post.

Alonso briefly left the pitch after his run-in with Brown and Brown was fortunate referee Steve Bennett missed the incident.

The lively play that had marked Liverpool's opening to the match was now missing but Bellamy again went close on the 35th minute following a clever back-heel from Pennant.

Brown had a shot deflected by Gabriel Paletta and only a perfectly-executed tackle by Christanval prevented Bellamy from launching a counter-attack.

Liverpool fans were left shaking their head in disbelief moments before the interval when Fowler missed an open goal from just three yards out after Pennant had slid the ball across Fulham's defence.

The Reds veteran was involved once again as Liverpool probed down the left with Bellamy racing onto his team-mate's pass and squaring but there was nobody in support.

Montella was replaced by Dempsey in the 54th minute as Fulham caretaker-boss Lawrie Sanchez attempted to breath some life into his fading team.

Papa Bouba Diop fired a free-kick straight into the arms of Reina and then the Spaniard had to show sharp reactions as McBride tried to force the ball in at the left post.

Then it was Niemi's turn to come to the rescue, blocking Bellamy's shot from point-blank range.

Play switched ends with increasing regularity and in the 69th minute Fulham took the lead.

Dempsey picked up the ball on the edge of the area and played a one-two with right-back Rosenior before sending the ball past Reina from eight yards.

Liverpool brought Harry Kewell on for his first appearance since the World Cup and then had the ball in the back of the net with seven minutes to go but Paletta was rightly adjudged offside.

The Reds pressed for an equaliser but Fulham, who had Diop sent off in injury-time for picking up a second yellow card, held firm to secure three priceless points.

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Thor Zakariassen