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Friday, 28 January 2011
LIVERPOOL 1-0 FULHAM MATCH REPORT
After a great win at Wolves last Saturday Liverpool were hoping to build on that strong performance with another win against Fulham. A difficult game with Fulham on a decent run of form. The last time Fulham visited Anfield with Dalglish in charge was in a League Cup tie in 1986 which Liverpool won 10-0, no way was there going to be a similar scoreline tonight. Fulham have been very difficult to score against and Liverpool would need to be at their best to earn another win.
Dalglish once again keeping a settled team for this one with only the one change from the Wolves match, with Gerrard returning from suspension to take the place of Lucas. I like the way Dalglish is keeping a settled team I feel it gives the team a better understanding and relationship with team mates when they are playing together more often, whereas chopping and changing the team can lead to disruption and no cohesion in the team's play.
Fulham started well gaining the lion's share of possession in the early stages, but it was Liverpool who had the ball in the back of the net in 6 minutes when Meireles sent Torres clear and he dispatched the ball into the Fulham net. However, the linesman flagged for offside and replays showed he got the decision wrong, unfortunate for Liverpool as this would have been the start Liverpool would have hoped for. With this let off Fulham got back into the game passing the ball about confidently. But Liverpool came close soon after with a great run and cross from Kelly found an unmarked Meireles whose glancing header was brilliantly pushed round the post by Stockdale. From the resulting corner Skrtel headed into the side netting. Liverpool were now looking dangerous on attack and on 25 minutes Glenn Johnson went close with a stinging drive from outside the box which Stockdale did well to tip over. Fulham had a good couple of chances to take the lead in a good spell 30 minutes into the game, the first was a great shot from Clinton Dempsey which brought a good save from Reina low to his right. Then Mousa Dembele should have scored after being set up by Andy Johnson, his shot from 6 yards hit weakly straight to Reina. Liverpool had the next chance when Maxi had a shot blocked from another cross by Kelly. Right on half time Torres headed on target from another Kelly cross but the half ended 0-0. The second half started with both teams having good possession but Liverpool made the breakthrough in the 52nd minute when Torres hit a shot from the edge of the box which was deflected onto the Fulham post, with Stockdale grounded and Fulham desperate to clear from Meireles, Pantsil ended up slicing his clearance into his own net. It was a real scrappy goal but Liverpool were not caring with signs of their luck changing. With Liverpool taking the lead hopes of Liverpool dominating the remainder of the game and killing the game off were cut short with the response from Fulham as they started to dominate and showed great spirit in a fight back. It looked as if it would be a matter of time before Fulham scored as Liverpool couldn't get out of their own half. Aaron Hughes went close with a header that Reina did well to save. With time running out Hangeland had a goal bound header wich was cleared off the line by Meireles. Fulham came close again in the dying minutes when a Murphy free-kick was headed across goal but Dumbele failed to get a good connection and Reina managed to scramble it away. Liverpool held on and what a relief it was to hear the final whistle. A great resiliant victory for Liverpool against a good Fulham side.
This was a very difficult match against a very good Fulham side. Fulham played brilliantly and had plenty possession and made it very difficult for Liverpool all night. I felt Liverpool had the best chances and Martin Kelly created some great chance getting down the right with some dangerous crosses. Gerrard back in the midfield for this match but I felt Fulham stifled him for most of the night and I felt he never really got going, likewise with Torres as he was well martialled by the Fulham defence. The Liverpool defence was superb once again as they were put under intense pressure in the closing stages, another clean sheet too for Liverpool which can only be great for confidence. It wasn't a pretty victory with a very scrappy goal but such a precious victory for Liverpool and now with a week to prepare for the next match at home to Stoke, Liverpool will go into the match full of confidence.
Man Of The Match - Meireles - I thought he was outstanding once again as he covered every blade of grass and involved in so much good about Liverpool. He really is such a key player for us right now.