Liverpool 1-0 Fulham
Pantsil (own goal) ‘52
Liverpool capped a great week with a scrappy 1-0 win over an unlucky Fulham at Anfield.
The only goal of the game came just after the break when a Fernando Torres shot deflected onto the post before John Pantsil fired into his own net amidst a goalmouth scramble.
Mark Hughes’ side dominated the game for the majority of the second half though and Brede Hangeland nearly scored a deserved equaliser late on when his header was cleared off the line.
Moussa Dembele also had a great chance to earn a point for the cottagers but his close range effort was expertly saved by Pepe Reina.
Although the Reds’ performance may not have been impressive, new manager Kenny Dalglish will be encouraged by the fight his players showed to survive a late Fulham rally and hang on to a valuable three points.
The win is the second in a week for manager Kenny Dalglish and his team are now sitting in a European place meaning fans can finally look up rather than down at the relegation places they so often occupied under Roy Hodgson.
Fulham remain near the foot of the table though after struggling to break down the home side in a game in which both sides struggled to convert possession into chances.
It looked as though Liverpool were off to a perfect start as the in-form Raul Meireles slid a perfect pass through to Fernando Torres who controlled well before coolly slotting past keeper David Stockdale, only for the linesman to disallow the goal for offside.
The Fulham stopper was in top form minutes later though, rookie fullback Martin Kelly whipped in a great cross which was flicked towards goal by Meireles and seemingly heading for the bottom corner before Stockdale brilliantly turned it around the post.
He was in action again later in the half, tipping over a swerving effort from Glen Johnson and a 20-yard strike from returning captain Steven Gerrard.
The vistors were begin to frustrate their Merseyside hosts and started to come into the game more and more as the half went on, missing two guilt edge chances in quick succession.
The first fell to Clint Dempsey who capitalised on a mistake by Martin Kelly before seeing his left foot effort parried by Reina and desperately cleared by the Reds defence.
Daglish’s men were panicking again minutes later when former Everton striker Andy Johnson beat Kelly with ease before squaring to Dembele who inexplicably missed from close range when he shot straight at Reina.
It looked as if a goal may never come but seven minutes into the second half there was finally a breakthrough.
A Torres shot was deflected onto the post by Brede Hangeland before Stockdale appeared to palm the ball against Pantsil who fired into his own net.
The goal was a scrappy one but it is the type of luck that has so often being missing for the Reds this season and if the recently sacked Roy Hodgson was watching he would have wondered why that couldn’t have happened during his reign at Anfield.
The visitors piled forward for the remainder of the game, desperately seeking that elusive equaliser and even throwing centre back Hangeland forward as Hughes’ men took a more direct approach.
The move nearly paid off when Hangeland connected with a corner only to see his powerful header cleared off the line by Meireles.
Fulham again went close when Dempsey nodded down a Murphy freekick to Dembele but his close range effort was saved by Reina as Liverpool clung onto their second win in as many games.