After The Match 


Fulham-Liverpool 0-1 (0-0)          4.4.09                              PL
Goals: Benayoun (90)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Lucas, Alonso, Kuyt, Dossena, Torres, Gerrard
Subs: Babel (Dossena 65), Benayoun (Kuyt 76),
Agger (Gerrard 90)
Not used: Cavalieri, Ngog, Riera, Mascherano
Yellow: Babel (85), Skrtel (89)               Pantsil (58), Gera (86)
Red: None
Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 25,661


Shots on target: 1-7
Shots off target: 2-8
Blocked shots: 0-5
Fouls conceded: 9-10
Corners: 3-6
Offsides: 5-3
Possession: 39.4-60.6
Yellow: 2-2

a massive three points."
Steven Gerrard
0504: Yossi: That was for the fans
0404: Gerrard thrilled with 'massive' win
0404: Rafa: We must keep calm
0404: Benayoun keeps Reds believing    

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 Premier League.

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 tie.

"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 this game.

"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 of confidence."

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."

Gerrard thrilled 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 trophy.

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 for us.

"It was important we put some pressure on United.

"It was a massive performance and I thought it was thoroughly deserved.

"I know the goal came late but we hit the woodwork four or five times."

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 us."

Liverpool edged two points ahead of United, who play Aston Villa on Sunday and will still have a game in hand after that match.

"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 Trafford.

"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 champions.

"We have a good chance," Benayoun said, "but it's still in favour of Man United."

Rafa: We 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 at Fulham.

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 end.

"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 staff.

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 the team.

"I always had confidence because we were playing well. The message at half time was to keep doing the same and you'll score.

"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 confidence now.

"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.

Benayoun keeps
Reds believing

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.

Liverpoolís 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 The Reds.

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 Skrtelís shot flicked off the Italianís head and hit the bar.

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 Australianís 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.

Liverpoolís flirtation with the woodwork continued agonisingly when Torres sped away after Gerrardís slide-rule pass. Taking the ball wide, possibly too wide of his intended target, the Spaniardís 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.

Alonsoís crossfield pass was bettered by Steven Gerrardís whipped ball in and Dossena was perfectly placed but put his header against the bar.

If Fulhamís goal was a coconut shy, then Pepe Reinaís box came to resemble the fairground attraction that no-one had come to see.

Roy Hodgsonís side had barely ventured into the oppositionís 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 Insuaís pitched cross was perfect for the head of Torres, but the Spaniardís 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.

Gerrardís 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 Dirk Kuyt.

Benayounís heel almost diverted Gerrardís 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 Liverpoolís 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.

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