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Fulham 2-3 Liverpool Prem 26 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Thursday 13th February 2014, 8:38 PM
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Matt Barlow at Daily Mail


Fulham (1) 2 Liverpool(1) 3


In the Putney End, Liverpool fans celebrated so wildly they chose not to hear the announcement that trains north from Euston had been cancelled due to the weather.

Why should they care? Not after this exhilarating ride which started with an own goal soaked in self-destructive madness from Kolo Toure and ended with a winner from the penalty spot by Steven Gerrard in stoppage time.

It was a breathless eruption of chaos by the Thames; a sporting accompaniment to the storms which have battered the nation.

When the dust and everything else settles, Liverpool are only four points from the top of the Barclays Premier League in a week when Chelsea and Arsenal dropped points and Manchester City's game was postponed.

This was very much one of those games they would not have won in recent years and that will explain the nature of the delight at the end.

Twice Brendan Rodgers watched his team fight back from behind. Not only did Toure find his own net but the problems proved contagious as Martin Skrtel's blunder allowed Kieran Richardson to fire Fulham 2-1 up, after Daniel Sturridge had equalised.

It was never likely to stay that way on a blustery night in a game littered with errors. Philippe Coutinho made it 2-2 before Sturridge won the penalty and Gerrard smashed it confidently past Fulham's substitute goalkeeper David Stockdale.

Maarten Stekelenburg had been forced off in the second half after taking an accidental boot in the eye from Suarez.

Neither goalkeeper would have stopped the penalty. Liverpool won because of their array of attacking weaponry, the positive spirit Rodgers has instilled and the healthy momentum they have established.

It seemed far from the bizarre moment in the eighth minute when Toure sliced into his own net, one of those inexplicable happenings which have started to orbit the Ivorian defender and will soon develop their own insurance market.

At West Brom he slid a pass to Victor Anichebe to surrender a late equaliser, while at Craven Cottage last night, he did it all himself, contriving to divert a low cross from Richardson past Simon Mignolet from six yards while under no discernible pressure.

There followed the usual how-on-earth-did-that-happen routine. It was a good question. On the touchline, Rodgers did not look like the man with an explanation. He turned aghast to his assistants on the bench.

At least there was plenty of time to get out of trouble, unlike at West Brom but Liverpool were temporarily stunned and Toure soon put his foot in it again, this time wiping out referee Phil Dowd in an off-the-ball collision.

Eventually, the visitors found a foothold and anyone tempted to venture online for a chuckle at Toure's expense might also want to visit the supreme vision and execution of Gerrard's swerving delivery into the path of Sturridge, for the first equaliser.

Like Toure, the damage was done with the outside of his right boot. Gerrard pounced on a loose ball when Ryan Tunncliffe was unable to collect an over-hit pass from Holtby and threaded the ball from deep in midfield and into the feet of his striker.

Sturridge shifted the ball onto his left foot and applied an unerring finish, inside the far post. He had been subdued until this point but here was his 19th of the season and he has only failed to score on four appearances for his club.

Having overcome the early mishap, Liverpool went hard after the second. Sturridge and Gerrard went close and Suarez lashed a fierce attempt across goal.

Fulham had controlled the first 20 minutes but could not maintain this intensity and the rest of the game was really in no-one's control. Shots flew around goals and with the gusty conditions came the feeling that anything might happen, as Skrtel found after the break.

As with Toure, there seemed little threat when Holtby crossed from the right but Skrtel got in a twist, cocked his leg at a strange angle and nursed the ball to Richardson who gleefully pounced to score.

The lead lasted less than 10 minutes. Coutinho collected the ball on the Liverpool right and jinked infield, across the edge of the penalty area. From 25 yards, he took aim and curled a delicious left-footer beyond the goalkeeper's reach.

It was a wonderful moment of quality in the midst of the confusion and again the game was in flux.

Suarez and Stekelenburg collided and Meulensteen was forced to send on his sub keeper and Stockdale found himself under attack from all angles.

Tucking in from the left on to his right foot, Suarez unleashed a low drive across goal which thumped against the base of the post and rebounded safely.

The Uruguayan, the Premier League's top scorer has not found the net in three games, which might be cause for crisis on the red half of Merseyside were it not for the help at hand from his team-mates.

Coutinho went close again before Sturridge preyed on the tired legs of Sascha Riether and drew a foul from the Fulham full back. It was a clear trip and Dowd pointed the spot. Up stepped Gerrard with the clock ticking past 90 minutes and made no mistake.

It was cruel on Fulham. Despite their admirable contribution to a thrilling game they are deep in trouble, scoring goals but unable to keep them out, four points adrift, possibly holed below the waterline.

As for Liverpool, they are bang in the title race. Why care about the train cancellations?





















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