Steven Gerrard's stoppage-time penalty secured a huge victory for Liverpool in the race for Champions League qualification, as the club came from behind to beat Fulham 3-2 at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.
The visiting side had twice fallen behind at Craven Cottage to an own goal from Kolo Toure and Kieran Richardson's close-range strike, but Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho restored parity before Gerrard kept his cool from 12 yards in injury time.
|VIEW FROM CRAVEN COTTAGE
|By Husmukh Kerai
What a massive win this could prove to be in Liverpool's quest for a return to the Champions League. Twice Fulham led and twice through entirely avoidable goals as far as Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel are concerned.
But to the Anfield outfit's credit, it continued to plug away and thanks to Sacha Reither's lazy injury time foul, found a winner which was emphatically dispatched and celebrated by the Reds' captain.
Rene Meulensteen will be delighted by his side's first half showing where the team more than matched the Reds. The high work rate he demands from his players eventually took it's toll and Liverpool's quality attackers found the holes in what became a tired Cottagers rearguard. Plenty of positives for both sides after a terrific encounter.
The home side belied its league position in the opening stages and the positive start was rewarded in bizarre circumstances eight minutes in. The impressive Lewis Holtby played a superb through ball to Richardson and his first-time pass was sliced into his own goal by Toure.
After a slow start, Liverpool began to get a foothold in the game and Luis Suarez drew a smart near-post stop from Maarten Stekelenburg.
Fulham was defending resolutely, but the home side's resistance was finally broken four minutes before halftime.
Sturridge sprung the offside trap to latch onto Gerrard's sublime first-time pass with the outside of his boot and the England international striker kept his composure to apply the finish via the post.
The leveler seemed to reinvigorate Liverpool, which saw Sturridge and then Gerrard go close with long-range strikes before the break.
Liverpool started the second half brightly but the visiting team was almost caught cold from Steve Sidwell's audacious chip from the halfway line that Simon Mignolet managed to collect.
The away side poured forward in search of a goal and Suarez's low drive from the edge of the box beat the goalkeeper but rebounded off the post.
Fulham made Liverpool pay for that miss by taking the lead for a second time on 63 minutes. Martin Skrtel inadvertently deflected Sidwell's cross into the path of Richardson, who fired home from close range.
The lead lasted just nine minutes, however, as Coutinho cut in from the right before angling a 20-yard drive into the far corner with his left foot.
There was still time for one last twist as Riether felled Sturridge in the area in the 90th minute, and Gerrard fired into the left-hand corner to secure all three points.
- Sports & Recreation
- Steven Gerrard
- Daniel Sturridge
- Kieran Richardson
- Kolo Toure
- Craven Cottage
- Philippe Coutinho
- Martin Skrtel