We went minute-by-minute as Fulham went to Merseyside in search of a first-ever victory. Could they get it against a Liverpool side who had one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup final?
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Liverpool 0-1 Fulham
Stoke City 1-1 Everton
19:35 – 19.35 – Well well well, good evening. Welcome to tonight’s Premier League liveblog. Just when you thought you’d recovered from last night’s title race-altering epic at the Etihad™, along comes another double dose of Premier League action. With one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup Final, it’s Liverpool v Fulham at Anfield while the Reds’ Merseyside neighbours Everton meet Stoke in the Britannia.
Kick-off is in 10 minutes.
19:40 – 19.40 – Here’s the team news from Anfield. With precious little but pride to play for in the league, Kenny Dalglish has completely overhauled his Liverpool starting XI with a whopping nine changes from the side which beat Norwich last weekend. Hat-trick hero Luis Suarez and captain Stephen Gerrard aren’t even in the matchday squad. Doni starts in goal.
Liverpool: Doni, Kelly, Coates, Skrtel, Aurelio, Henderson, Shelvey, Spearing, Maxi, Carroll, Kuyt. Subs: Jones, Jose Enrique, Downing, Carragher, Sterling, Flanagan, Robinson.
Fulham make three changes themselves to the side which lost to Everton. Republic of Ireland fans will be delighted to see Stephen Kelly return at right-full, while former Reds Danny Murphy and Alex Kacaniklic start against their old club.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, John Arne Riise, Duff, Murphy, Dembele, Kacaniklic, Dempsey, Pogrebnyak. Subs: Stockdale, Baird, Orlando Sa, Kasami, Etuhu, Frei, Briggs.
19:41 – 19.41 – Here’s how they’ll line up at the Britannia. I’ll be keeping a close eye on man of the minute Nikica Jelavic. Can he open the scoring for a third successive game?
Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Upson, Shawcross, Wilson, Walters, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Whelan, Fuller, Shotton, Jerome, Woodgate, Palacios.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Anichebe, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Gueye, Barkley, Coleman, Duffy.
19:44 – 19.44 – It’s a relatively weakened Liverpool side that Kenny Dalglish has sent out tonight, so quite a few people are suggesting that there could be value in Fulham to win at 4/1. Of course, Fulham have never won in 48 visits to the city of Liverpool — will tonight be lucky number 49?
19:46 – 19.46 – Kick-off: We’re up and running. Fulham attacking the Kop end in this first half.
19:50 – 19.50 –
Ian Doyle on Twitter: “Fair to say it isn’t a sell-out here this evening at Anfield.”
19:51 – 19.51 – GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 Fulham (Skrtel og, 5′) Disastrous start for Liverpool. Clint Dempsey surges through the midfield and plays the ball wide to Riise who fires a low cross into the box. Kacaniklic gets a nick on the ball at the front post, it cannons off Martin Skrtel’s thigh, wrongfoots Doni and bobbles into the net.
Nothing that Skrtel could do about it, and it sounds like someone has turned the volume down on an already-subdued Anfield.
19:53 – 19.53 – So Alex Kacaniklic comes back to haunt Liverpool with the crucial touch that drew an own goal from Skrtel. The 20-year-old Swede was at Anfield for three years as a teenager before he was sold on to Fulham in the summer of 2010.
19:56 – 19.56 – Liverpool playing a 4-2-3-1 with Carroll as the lone striker and already there is a bit of a temptation to launch the ball towards the big man in an attempt to make it stick. They’ve had plenty of possession since going behind but no real chances.
20:03 – 20.03 – Lovely bit of play by Fulham and they’re unlucky not to be two up. Clint Dempsey plays a lovely lofted pass in behind the back four and Pogrebnyak connects with an outstretched leg but Doni is equal to it.
20:05 – 20.05 – Fulham are moving the ball about pretty briskly when they have it, and they’re certainly finding space between the Liverpool players to work in. Sebastian Coates has to be alert to stop Kacaniklic from crossing from the byline.
20:07 – 20.07 – 20 mins: Nearing the midway point in the first half of both games. Over in the Britannia, it’s still Stoke 0-0 Everton #gripping
20:10 – 20.10 – Messy build-up by Liverpool with Carroll and Shelvey getting in each other’s way on the edge of the box but it inadvertently creates a half-chance for Dirk Kuyt whose volley flashes just wide from 20 yards.
20:15 – 20.15 – Easily Liverpool’s most promising moment of the match. Martin Kelly swings a great cross into the box where Carroll jumps to put Schwarzer under pressure without fouling him. The Australian drops the ball and it’s squared to Jonjo Shelvey who thinks he has scored only to see Hangeland drop back onto the line and stop his goalbound effort just in time.
20:17 – 20.17 – 30 mins: Kuyt sends a volley goalwards from the angle of the 18-yard box but it would have to be something special to beat Schwarzer from there.
20:20 – 20.20 – Martin Kelly appears to be Liverpool’s best out ball in this first half, and he’s getting a little bit of change out of John-Arne Riise down that right wing. Liverpool looking a bit more settled now after Fulham’s dominance in the opening quarter.
20:23 – 20.23 – Andy Carroll creates a chance out of nothing for Maxi, rising high at the back post to redirect an overhit corner back towards the Argentinian. Maxi can’t get over it the ball though and it zips high over Schwarzer’s bar.
20:24 – 20.24 – Andy Carroll is winning plenty of ball against Hangeland and Hughes but there’s nobody really getting up in support, which I’m sure is one of the fundamental points of the system Liverpool are playing.
20:27 – 20.27 – Another Andy Carroll header, another Liverpool half-chance. This one falls to Maxi who is turning as he hits it and can’t keep it on target.
20:31 – 20.31 – Andy Carroll has easily been one of Liverpool’s most impressive players tonight — maybe he realises that he’s playing for his place in Saturday’s cup final. The big man comes deep this time, taking the ball into his feet before linking up with Shelvey who fires his shot across the face of Schwarzer’s goal and wide.
20:33 – 20.33 – Carroll finishes the half with two more attempts on goal — the first a header from eight yards which Schwarzer pats down in front of him before gathering at the second attempt. As the clock ticks into injury time, the striker then has a pot shot from 20 yards but slips as he hits it and watches as it sails over.
20:34 – 20.34 – HALF TIME: Liverpool 0-1 Fulham
20:35 – 20.35 – Stoke 0-1 Everton: Everton have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time at the Britannia — and it’s another own goal. Another ex-Red Peter Crouch is the guilty party on this occasion.
20:36 – 20.36 – HALF TIME: Stoke 0-1 Everton
20:48 – 20.48 – Second half: We’re back underway at Anfield. One change for Liverpool at the break — Stewart Downing comes on to replace Jordan Henderson, presumably with the intention of firing more crosses in towards Andy Carroll who really impressed towards the end of the first half.
20:51 – 20.51 – Clint Dempsey slips and gives the ball away to Jay Spearing who makes a beeline towards goal before testing Schwarzer with a daisy-cutter from 20 yards. Comfortable for Schwarzer.
20:55 – 20.55 – Dempsey beats Skrtel to a corner at the near post but can’t direct his header on target. Quiet enough opening to proceedings here in this second half.
21:00 – 21.00 – 55 mins: Chances at either end. At the Anfield Road end, Dempsey tries a slide rule pass to find Pogrebnyak beyond the Liverpool defensive line but Doni is alert to the danger and gets there first. At the other end, Hangeland’s half-clearance gives Downing a chance but the winger spins his shot wide.
21:00 – 21.00 – Substitution for Fulham: Kerim Frei is on to replace Alex Kacaniklic.
21:03 – 21.03 – Wonderful chance for Liverpool and Fulham have Brede Hangeland to thank for keeping their noses in front. Maxi Rodriguez has a clear sight on goal and is about to pull the trigger from eight yards only for Hangeland to intervene with a perfectly-timed sliding block.
21:05 – 21.05 – Oof, great chance for Kerim Frei who is only on the pitch a matter of minutes. He steps back inside Martin Kelly on the edge of the box and cracks a shot off the butt of Doni’s post.
21:08 – 21.08 – 65 mins: Substitution for Liverpool — a straight swap as Jose Enrique comes on to replace Fabio Aurelio at left-full.
21:13 – 21.13 – Stoke 1-1 Everton: Cameron Jerome has levelled it for Everton at the Britannia.
21:19 – 21.19 – 75 mins: Liverpool make their third and final substitution — 17-year-old Raheem Sterling is on to replace Dirk Kuyt. Can the youngster add a bit of spark to the Liverpool attack in these final 15 minutes?
21:21 – 21.21 – That should’ve been the game for Fulham. Kerim Frei plays a lovely little ball into Dempsey who has time to set himself before shooting. He picks a spot in Doni’s left corner and places it, but the Brazilian is equal to it and gets down to palm it away.
21:23 – 21.23 – 80 mins: Change for Fulham as Dickson Etuhu comes on for Pogrebnyak. That leaves Dempsey as the lone striker as Fulham try to hold what they have.
21:27 – 21.27 – I’m not sure where Liverpool’s equaliser is going to come from here. Plan A is to find Carroll in the box with a cross, but so is Plan B and Plan C. Fulham are really well organised and continue to either swat balls away or force Carroll into less threatening positions.
21:28 – 21.28 – Fulham make their final change, again to shore up things at the back — Chris Baird comes on for a limping Moussa Dembele.
21:29 – 21.29 – Three minutes to play. Are we in for any late drama?
21:32 – 21.32 – There’ll be four minutes of injury time. Fulham are on the verge of a first-ever win on Merseyside…
21:33 – 21.33 – A loose ball from Liverpool corner is drilled towards goal by Enrique but Schwarzer gets his body behind the ball.
21:34 – 21.34 – Two minutes of stoppage time to play…
21:35 – 21.35 – Stephen Kelly jumps through Andy Carroll’s back. Liverpool will have free from 22 yards to get an equaliser.
21:36 – 21.36 – Shelvey skies it into the Kop. Not even close.
21:36 – 21.36 – FULL TIME: Liverpool 0-1 Fulham
21:39 – 21.39 – They’re still playing injury time at the Britannia: Stoke 1-1 Everton
21:39 – 21.39 – FULL TIME: Stoke City 1-1 Everton
21:42 – 21.42 – So that’s it. A disappointing night for both Merseyside clubs, though it is Everton who will be marginally happier as they remain three points ahead of their neighbours with two games to play. Here’s how the top half of the league table looks tonight:
21:44 – 21.44 – That’s our lot for the evening, thanks for stopping by. We’ll see you tomorrow for more minute-by-minute coverage when Chelsea take on Newcastle.