Liverpool sunk by late Fulham winner

Fulham 1 Liverpool 0

Clint Dempsey netted an 85th-minute winner to give Martin Jol his first victory over Liverpool as a manager.

Dempsey pounced on the loose ball to score after an error by goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who failed to hold Danny Murphy’s shot.

Liverpool played the final 17 minutes with 10 men after Jay Spearing was controversially sent off for a challenge on Moussa Dembele, and the Whites took full advantage.

It was a personal triumph for former Tottenham boss Jol, who has endured mixed results during his five-month reign at Fulham – not to mention reports of dressing room unrest.

This was his seventh attempt to secure a win against Liverpool and he will have enjoyed few more satisying nights during his two spells managing in England.

Schwarzer’s saves proved vital.

The result was all the more impressive given that the Merseysiders arrived in west London having won six consecutive away matches.

Both teams hit the woodwork in an entertaining game at Craven Cottage, where the visitors had the upper hand before Spearing was given his marching orders.

Lucas Leiva’s knee injury meant Spearing started a Premier League match for the first time this season, and the young midfielder played his part in a decent opening 45 minutes from his side.

Both Dembele and Dempsey were twice denied by Reina in the first half, but Kenny Dalglish’s men dominated possession and came closest to leading at the interval.

Reds striker Andy Carroll volleyed Luis Suarez’s cross straight at Mark Schwarzer, who was then beaten by a Jordan Henderson shot which hit the post.

Keeper Schwarzer also had to dive to his left to keep out Charlie Adam’s shot and was grateful to see an attempt by Suarez drift wide.

Schwarzer was soon busy again after the restart, blocking Jose Enrique’s drive before John Arne Riise helped him out by clearing the danger.

Suarez hit the net with a fine finish but was, much to Liverpool’s frustration, ruled offside.

And the decision to dismiss Spearing further antagonised them, as he appeared to make a genuine attempt to win the ball.

Having had Fulham on the ropes, the red card left Liverpool themselves hanging on and the Cottagers very nearly broke the deadlock when Dempsey went past Glen Johnson and curled a superb shot against the bar.

Dembele then fired narrowly wide and Fulham appeared to be turning the screw, but the woodwork again came to their rescue late on.

This time it was after another save from the evergreen Schwarzer, who turned Stewart Downing’s 20-yarder onto the post.

It proved to be a pivotal moment because two minutes later, Dempsey popped up with the decisive goal.

Former Liverpool man Murphy beat Johnson and tried his luck with a shot which Reina should have dealt with. He failed to and was emphatically punished.

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