4th April 2009, 5.30pm @ Craven Cottage
Liverpool moved back to the summit of the Premier League after a 92nd minute winner in a game in which Liverpool had as many shots as in the 5-0 hammering of Aston Villa a fortnight ago. With Dossena picked to start on the wing, he found himself frequently denied by the woodwork, as did Alonso, as the reds peppered the Fulham goal in the first half.
In the second half the reds had more chances, many edging narrowly wide, until in the 2nd of the 4 minutes of injury time at the end of the game when substitute Benayoun made sure Liverpool got a deserved three points.
With Mascherano’s long trip to Argentina, meaning he missed training yesterday, Benitez elected to start with Lucas in central midfield. Emiliano Insua returned to the side at left back in place of Fabio Aurelio.
Liverpool started on the front foot, Dossena getting the reds first chance but his shot was tipped over. From the resulting corner Skrtel’s shot was flicked on by Dossena’s head, on to the cross bar.
Torres then had a shot that Schwarzer got finger tips to, before Alonso hit a wicked volley from outside the box which, yet again, made the ball best friends with the cross bar.
Gerrard then threw in a cross that Dossena managed to get a diving header at – the ball agonisingly hit the bar again.
After the break Liverpool didn’t come out immediately on the front foot, in some way appearing consigned to their fate.
But a couple of Benitez’ substitutions re-awoke the reds with around 20 minutes to go and the peppering of the Fulham goal resumed.
Babel could have done better when presented with the ball near the penalty spot and Yossi himself could have scored in normal time, but his shot went the wrong side of the post.
As it was, eventually the ball found it’s way in to his path in the corner of the penalty box and he eventually fired in from the angle.
Cue celebrations on the pitch, on the bench and in the stand.
The travelling Kop got the three points that they deserved today.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Alonso, Lucas, Kuyt (Benayoun 76), Gerrard (Agger 90), Dossena (Babel 65), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Riera, Mascherano, Ngog.
Booked: Babel, Skrtel.
Goals: Benayoun 90.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy (Dacourt 76), Etuhu, Davies (Gera 79), Zamora, Johnson (Nevland 87).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Kamara, Kallio, Baird.
Booked: Pantsil, Gera.
Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).