Yossi Benayoun celebrates at Craven Cottage.
(Photo: PA Photos)
Yossi: That was for the fans
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Yossi Benayoun reflected on his dramatic
winning goal at Fulham and dedicated the strike to the
magnificent travelling Kop.
With two minutes of stoppage time remaining, the Israeli
international smashed an unstoppable shot beyong the reach
of Mark Schwarzer to send the Reds on top of the Barclays
The Reds number 15 knows how important the goal could be
come the end of the season, and the celebrations from the
supporters, long after the final whistle at Craven Cottage
told its own story.
"We have the best fans in the world,"said Benayoun.
"You can see that every time we play, home and away they are
always supporting us.
"To see them celebrate like that at the end, it was nice to
score just for them.
"It was a big goal but the main thing is it gave us the
three points and puts the pressure on Manchester United and
hopefully they will lose points against Aston Villa.
"It was a great feeling to score in the last minute because
we missed a lot of chances and you think it's one of those
days when nothing goes in, so to score at the end made
everyone really happy.
"I think we have proved in a lot of games this season that
we will fight to the end and give our best to the end. We
have won a lot of games this season in the last minute and
that shows we have a strong character.
"There is a long way to go. Hopefully we can continue
winning and they will drop some points.
"The win at Old Trafford was very important for us because
it showed everyone that they are beatable.
"Fulham is a difficult place to come and get three points
but we have done it. It was an important win, especially
coming on the back of the international break.
"We have confidence but we are only thinking about the next
game, and that is Chelsea in the Champions League."
With Guus Hiddink's outfit next on the agenda, Benayoun
believes Liverpool are in great shape for the quarter-final
"We are in our best form of the season and we are looking
forward to it," he said.
"Under Guus Hiddink Chelsea are playing better and they have
a lot of quality players, and there are no favourites in
"We will do our best and hopefully we can get the win and
don't concede, then we can go to Stamford Bridge with a lot
Despite a hectic schedule of games in the Premier League and
Europe, Benayoun dismissed any talk of possible fatigue
setting in, and said: "You can't be tired for the
quarter-final of the Champions League.
"Everyone will give 100 per cent and everyone will be ready
for this game."
with 'massive' win
Steven Gerrard hailed Yossi Benayoun's
"fantastic" late winner after Liverpool went top of the
Premier League by beating Fulham.
And Reds captain Gerrard insists the goal could prove
crucial in the title race, with Liverpool, favourites
Manchester United and Chelsea still jostling for the league
Benayoun struck in stoppage-time at Craven Cottage to give
Liverpool a 1-0 win, after they had missed a stack of
chances to claim a comfortable victory.
Gerrard told Setanta Sports 1: "It's a massive three points.
We knew before the game that a defeat or a draw was no good
"It was important we put some pressure on United.
"It was a massive performance and I thought it was
"I know the goal came late but we hit the woodwork four or
Gerrard added: "There were times towards the end when I
thought it was not going to be our day.
"But Yossi popped up with a fantastic strike and I thought
it was the least we deserved.
"He pops up with important goals. That goal could be big for
Liverpool edged two points ahead of United, who play Aston
Villa on Sunday and will still have a game in hand after
"We'll see how Manchester United do," said Gerrard. "I'm
sure United will want to go and beat Aston Villa but we're
hoping Villa can do us a favour and take something at Old
"We need to let United know they're in a title fight right
through to the end. The only way we can do that is to keep
winning big games."
Gerrard has no doubt who the title favourites are.
"Still United," he said. "They've still got the game in hand
and they play tomorrow so United are still favourites."
Benayoun had missed an easier chance before making amends
with his excellent late finish.
He agreed with Gerrard that United remain the most likely
"We have a good chance," Benayoun said, "but it's still in
favour of Man United."
must keep calm
By Jimmy Rice at Craven Cottage - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez warned his players to remain
calm after they returned to top spot with a dramatic 1-0 win
Yossi Benayoun sent the Reds two points clear of Manchester
United with a goal deep into injury time.
The strike prompted rounds of 'We're gonna win the league'
from the travelling Kop, who had watched in frustration as
their side hit the woodwork four times.
Despite his own evident joy from the sidelines, Benitez
knows United can regain the lead if they win the first of
two games in hand at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.
He said: "Hopefully we can keep the fans happy until the
"As a manager you have to be calm and leave the fans to
enjoy. There are still a lot of games left.
"I haven't seen (my reaction) back yet but I am calm. It was
a very important goal at a crucial time."
It was the 11th time Liverpool have scored in the dying
moments of games this season - a stat Benitez credits to his
He said: "You never say, 'Oh we're going to score in the
last minute.' But we always talk about having to keep going
until the end.
"The belief, the confidence and quality of the players is
good. Physically the team is good thanks to the staff.
"Everyone is pushing - Sammy Lee, Mauricio Pellegrino and
Xavi Valero. They are giving the players belief.
"When we decided the 11 starters today it was really
difficult. Mascherano was late back from internationals,
some players were tired and we had some problems with
Benayoun. But the 11 players played really well in the first
half, and after the substitutions in the second half it was
the same. This shows the quality of the squad."
On how important Benayoun's goal could prove, Benitez added:
"You never know how important it will be - hopefully it will
be the most important of the season if we win the title.
"We worked so hard, played well and deserved to win. It was
important for the fans and the main thing was the belief in
"I always had confidence because we were playing well. The
message at half time was to keep doing the same and you'll
"I think it's really important not only because it keeps
United under pressure, but also for us. It will still be
difficult but we are winning games and we have a lot of
"But the winning mentality is to do things not say things,
and we want to do things."
Asked if he will be watching United's clash with Villa on
Sunday, Benitez added: "Yes, maybe, but I will not have any
influence on the game so I will be relaxed with the family."
Meanwhile, Benitez revealed Benayoun had been struggling
with a calf injury sustained on international duty and so
was available only as a sub.
The Israeli is expected to be fit for Wednesday's Champions
League clash with Chelsea.
By Chris Stanton - Setanta Sports
Liverpool reclaimed leadership of The
Premier League thanks to a goal from substitute Yossi
Benayoun two minutes into time added on at the end for a 1-0
win at Fulham.
A 4-1 rout at Old Trafford and a 5-0 romp over Aston Villa
had re-engendered belief that a first title since 1990 was
possible, but after a first half where the visitors struck
the woodwork four times, their conviction appeared to waver.
That was until deep into stoppage-time and until Benayoun
had dispatched a shot high into the top corner past a
flailing Mark Schwarzer.
Liverpool’s coaching staff swarmed the pitch to celebrate
the goal that sees The Reds overhaul Manchester United ahead
of the champions' match against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Such dramatics seemed unlikely during a first half bossed by
There was a sedate start to the match but as the shadows
lengthened on the Craven Cottage pitch, Liverpool imposed
themselves more forcibly.
Andrea Dossena, a surprising starter wide on the left,
forced a save from Mark Schwarzer after Fernando Torres had
befuddled John Pantsil. From the subsequent corner, Martin
Skrtel’s shot flicked off the Italian’s head and hit the
Torres called Schwarzer into more pressing action in the
23rd minute. Picking up a pass from Gerrard, the Spaniard
espied the far corner of the Australian’s goal but was
thwarted by the left hand of Schwarzer and a subsequent
clearance from Konchesky.
Alonso then rapped the crossbar with a dipping first-time
shot from the edge of the area.
Liverpool’s flirtation with the woodwork continued
agonisingly when Torres sped away after Gerrard’s slide-rule
pass. Taking the ball wide, possibly too wide of his
intended target, the Spaniard’s shot trickled past Schwarzer
but struck the base of the post.
Agony was bordering on astonishment when Liverpool struck
the frame of the goal for the fourth time in 37 minutes.
Alonso’s crossfield pass was bettered by Steven Gerrard’s
whipped ball in and Dossena was perfectly placed but put his
header against the bar.
If Fulham’s goal was a coconut shy, then Pepe Reina’s box
came to resemble the fairground attraction that no-one had
come to see.
Roy Hodgson’s side had barely ventured into the opposition’s
box let alone forced a save from Liverpool's goalkeeper.
Hodgson has made fewer alterations than any other Premier
League manager but familiarity occasionally breeds contempt.
His team began the second half with more purpose and a
little more composure on the ball but the visitors still
possessed a more obvious threat.
Emiliano Insua’s pitched cross was perfect for the head of
Torres, but the Spaniard’s normally reliable radar was found
wanting and the ball was in the grasp of Schwarzer.
That effort aside, a fragmented start to the second half saw
Liverpool lose their direction and Rafa Benitez called for
the runaway train of Ryan Babel with 64 minutes played.
Gerrard’s passing, purposeful and unerring in the first
half, found a white shirt with increasing, frustrating
regularity but the England international led the breakaway
20 minutes from time and gave Babel room to accelerate. The
rapidly retreating John Pantsil was the man on the line to
block the cross-shot.
Another cross from Gerrard narrowly eluded the blond head of
Torres shortly before Benitez made his second change of the
game, introducing the sublety of Benayoun for the graft of
Benayoun’s heel almost diverted Gerrard’s cross inside the
far post after Babel ran into traffic when a shooting
opportunity presented itself to the Dutchman.
Usually it is Gerrard Liverpool turn to in the dying stages,
but Benayoun was to be Liverpool’s saviour on this occasion.
The Israeli had already sent a shot from a tight angle into
the side netting when he picked up a pass from Gerrard and
sent a shot arrowing.
Cue an exhale of breath from the away supporters amassed in
the Putney Stand and a scene of jubilation transmitted
immediately to Liverpool's normally reserved coaching staff.