Fulham’s survival bid was dealt a huge blow by a last-minute Steven Gerrard penalty, but another impressive display suggested they are capable of escaping the drop. Here’s how we rated the players in the 3-2 defeat against Liverpool.
Maarten Stekelenburg: 7
Commanded his area well and the accidental boot in the face that forced him to go off with 15 minutes remaining came when he bravely dived at the feet of Luis Suarez.
Sascha Riether: 5
The German needlessly gave away the penalty that led to Liverpool’s winner when he fouled Daniel Sturridge. Prior to that he was mostly solid, although Suarez gave him some problems when he drifted out wide.
John Heitinga: 7
A very decent home debut for the pre-deadline signing, who competed well and was composed on the ball. The likes of Suarez and Sturridge inevitably had some success, but the Dutchman held his own.
Dan Burn: 7
Another hugely encouraging display from the young centre-back, who grows in stature with each game and will no doubt have learned a lot from the pressure Fulham’s defence were put under by Liverpool’s slick passing and movement.
John Arne Riise: 7
The former Liverpool man was sloppy on the ball at times but offered his centre-backs good cover and won several important challenges in the second half.
Ryan Tunnicliffe: 8
Excellent on the right-hand side, covering Riether well and when needed he also tucked into the middle. Strong in the tackle and with a good range of passing, he looks a shrewd signing. Very unlucky when he slipped in the build-up to Liverpool’s first equaliser.
Steve Sidwell: 8
Another lung-busting display from the midfielder, who has justified the decision to select him ahead of Scott Parker. His work-rate was exceptional.
William Kvist: 7
Very neat and tidy in front of the back four and also showed good leadership qualities, spurring his team-mates on when they appeared to be fading in the second half. Reads the game well and looks another excellent signing.
Kieran Richardson: 8
Outstanding in the first half, creating the opening goal and two other openings. Caused problems for Liverpool almost at will before they began to dominate in the second half – but not before he was on hand to score Fulham’s second goal. Fully deserved the standing ovation he received when substituted in the second half.
Lewis Holtby: 8
The loan signing from Tottenham has top-four quality according to Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen and Holtby certainly showed it in this game. His classy display was summed up by a lovely pass to Richardson in the build-up to the opening goal.
Darren Bent: 5
Not positive enough in and around the box when Fulham were on top and offered virtually nothing when they weren’t. His team needed a more reliable outlet up front when they were under pressure.
Alex Kacaniklic: 6
Worked hard when brought on for the final 20 minutes.
A couple of defensive howlers left Liverpool needing all their attacking quality to dig themselves out of a hole. Philippe Coutinho, who scored their second equaliser, was impressive in the second half, Sturridge took his goal superbly and was a constant threat, while Suarez was uninspiring in the first half but a different man after the restart, hitting the post and causing major problems for Fulham. But the visitors’ star man was Gerrard, who set up Sturridge’s goal with a sublime through-ball, was impressive in midfield and showed great composure to score the winner from the penalty spot.
Man of the match: Gerrard