players are down... we need help now
By Andy Hunter - Daily Post
Gerard Houllier fears for Liverpool's ebbing morale
after their Champions League chances suffered a serious
blow at home to Charlton yesterday.
The Liverpool manager refused to concede defeat in the
race for fourth place despite losing to Charlton, who
recorded their first victory at Anfield for 50 years
courtesy of Shaun Bartlett's 63rd-minute header.
Liverpool's fifth home league defeat of the season
rounded off a miserable Easter for Houllier's team who
followed up their mauling by Arsenal with a lame
display. And the Anfield manager admits he must
revitalise Liverpool's flagging confidence as he
conceded they now need outside help to claim fourth
"We have to make sure we aren't too down after these
Easter results but the changing room is not the happiest
spot in the ground at the moment," he said.
"Fourth place is still open and it is open for four or
five teams now. The mistake would be to throw the towel
in and to say it is finished. It is not, but now we need
results from somewhere else.
"Newcastle are at Aston Villa next week and have four
away games to play and only two at home, and we are
going to need some kind of help from somewhere now.
"The race for second place is also open now between
Chelsea and Manchester United so they could have an
influence on who gets fourth.
"I don't think it is finished. Other teams will lose
points and the race for fourth place is still on so we
must stay positive."
Newcastle can now go three points clear of Liverpool if
they win their game in hand while Charlton's victory,
and Villa's defeat of Chelsea, has opened up the race
for fourth place.
Houllier, who dropped Igor Biscan from the squad,
admitted: "We have missed a good opportunity to take a
lead in fourth place. It was just down to us, we didn't
"We only started playing once they scored and although
they didn't have a lot of shots on goal we didn't take
advantage of the numerous corners and free-kicks we had
around their box.
We had some half-chances in the first half and two good
ones in the second when Stevie went through and Vladi
had a header saved by the goalkeeper.
"I think a draw would have been the fair result but they
rode their luck and we didn't play at the level we know
we are capable of. They defended well but even so we
should have done better."
He added: "It wasn't a corner for their goal but maybe
it was given because the referee didn't see the penalty
they might have had just before that. Even so, we had
time to equalise and to get back into the game and we
didn't. We didn't hurt them enough.
"It is a disappointing result on the back of a
disappointing performance, but we have got to pick
ourselves up and keep going. Maybe the Arsenal game took
a lot out of us. It was not a good day."
Steven Gerrard was involved in two penalty incidents,
escaping with a push on Hermann Hreidarsson and then
collecting his first booking of the season when he fell
over Radostin Kishishev's outstretched leg. "I honestly
didn't see it because Phil (Thompson) was obstructing my
view!" said Houllier of the Liverpool claim.
Curbishley delighted with Anfield win
By Chris Maxwell - LFC Online
Charlton Athletic boss Alan Curbishley believes that
his side's shock success at Anfield has left the race
for the fourth and final Champions League spot wide-open
with just six games remaining.
The Addicks have closed to within two points of
fourth-placed Liverpool following their 1-0 win at
Anfield and the highly-rated manager feels that Charlton
can now earn a dream Champions League place.
Curbishley said: "The season is still alive for
everybody. This was a fantastic result for us, any
victory at Anfield is fantastic. Now we have won here a
lot of other clubs will feel the season isn't over.
"Fourth spot is up for grabs. Everybody will be looking
at more than Liverpool or Newcastle for fourth spot now.
If Liverpool had beaten us they would have been eight
points clear and we would not have caught them.
"It has kept us in touch. Villa won and they are still
in it. It is my first victory here as a manager or
player so I will enjoy this one."
Addicks shock sloppy Reds
Charlton put a huge dent in Liverpool's Champions
League aspirations with a 1-0 win at Anfield to help
rekindle their own European aspirations.
Shaun Bartlett's second half goal was enough to give
Charlton their first win at Anfield in more than half a
Liverpool started brightly and Jon Fortune had to be
alert to prevent Emile Heskey getting on the end of
Steven Gerrard's dangerous free kick after just four
Dean Kiely was called into action a minute later with
Harry Kewell and Emile Heskey combining to set-up
Michael Owen on the edge of the box, but his left-footed
shot never had the power to trouble Kiely.
Owen missed a good chance on nine minutes when he got of
his markers to Gerrard's free kick, but he did not get
enough on his header and it flew wide of the target.
Charlton were struggling to make any impact on the game,
but they came close to breaking the deadlock on 26
minutes when Jonatan Johansson hit a half volley from
wide of the left which Jerzy Dudek was at full stretch
to tip over.
Most of Liverpool's attacks were coming down the left
and John Arne Riise sent over a cross on the half hour
which Heskey at full-stretch could only head over the
The same pair combined again four minutes later with
Riise sending over an inviting cross which Heskey
flashed just wide of the post.
Charlton were coming more and more into the game and
Claus Jensen and Matt Holland both had long-range
efforts which failed to trouble Dudek.
Reds captain Gerrard was trying to push Liverpool
forward at every attempt and he tried his luck himself
five minutes before the break, but his shot from the
edge of the area was easily saved by Kiely.
Heskey had another headed chance just before half time
when he rose above Kiely to meet Riise's cross, but he
could not direct his effort on target.
Liverpool started the second half in the ascendancy and
Gerrard had a sight of goal on 50 minutes after being
put clear by Owen, but he shot tamely at Kiely.
Gerard Houllier made a double substitution just before
the hour mark bringing on Milan Baros and Vladimir
Smicer and the duo combined to send Baros in on goal,
but he failed to get enough power on his shot allowing
Kiely to easily save.
Charlton then stunned the home fans when they opened the
scoring on 63 minutes with Bartlett rising above the
rooted Sami Hyypia to power a header into the net.
Liverpool almost responded immediately with Dietmar
Hamman seeing his header kicked off the line by Chris
Powell and then seeing his shot cleared inside the
Five minutes later Bartlett saw another header deflected
just over the crossbar and from the resulting corner
Fortune flashed a free header over the top.
Liverpool threw everything into attack in abid to get
back into the game and Gerrard saw a free kick blocked
by and then saw another shot just go over the crossbar.
Owen had a sight of goal on 78 minutes when Hyypia
headed down Riise's cross into his path, but he hit his
volley into the ground and straight at Kiely.
Liverpool should have drawn level on 84 minutes when
Gerrard picked out Smicer unmarked in front of goal, but
Kiely produced an instinctive save to keep out his
The home side felt they should have a penalty a minute
later when Gerrard went down on the edge of the box, but
the England captain was booked for diving by Phil Dowd.