Saturday, 15 February 2014

Captain Secures Lasp Gasp Win at Cottage

Fresh from the thrashing of Arsenal at the weekend, Liverpool travelled to face Fulham on Wednesday night looking to capitalise on the fact that Chelsea had dropped points at the top.

Yet again, Rodgers named an unchanged side for the fourth match in a row but a change on the bench saw academy star Joao Carlos Teixeira named for the first time. In recent weeks, Liverpool have blitzed their opponents from the start but this time around it was Fulham who had the first attack as Mignolet was forced into action to deny Tunnicliffe after a fine piece of play.

Fulham's pressure paid off as they took the lead in the eighth minute when Richardson raced past the visitors defence and he crossed into the area but as the ball found Toure it hit and and went past Mignolet to the joy of the home fans who could not believe their luck.

Suarez had an instant chance to respond when he found space and hit a powerful effort that via a deflection almost fooled Stekelenburg but the 'keeper was able to react and palm wide, the Uuruguayan had another chance in the 15th minute from a narrow angle while Sturridge evaded his marker and hit for goal from 20 yards but failed to trouble Stekelenburg.

Fulham could have doubled their lead when a dangerous cross from Richardson found Bent who headed over to quell the visiting fans fears of going two behind but the deficit was soon cancelled out as Gerrard swept forward a superb pass that Sturridge collected cleverly and finished with style past Stekelenburg to level at 1-1 into the break.

The second half began as the first had ended, with Liverpool on the attack and five minutes into the period they had a good chance to take the lead as Suarez guided a dangerous free-kick toward the far corner but as Stekelenburg rushed to deny it, the ball went wide of the post.

Sidwell looked to build on his strike at the weekend at Old Trafford as he tested Mignolet with a surprising chance from his won half but luckily for Liverpool, the Belgian collected it cleanly and at the other end, Suarez volleyed wide after being found in space by Sturridge's sweeping pass.

Sturridge had a go himself by racing down the right and hitting towards goal but a deflection
The 24-year-old took matters into his own hands by drifting from the right wing and clipping toward the goal but a deflection saw the ball go out for a corner and from that corner, Suarez fired from the edge of the area and saw the ball bounce achingly off the post.

Despite all of Liverpool's pressure, it was Fulham that scored next as Richardson took advantage of a loose ball after Skrtel had failed to complete a clearance and tapped into the empty net to regain the lead for the Cottagers three minutes after the hour.

Liverpool have grown to be able to comeback from a 2-1 deficit and with ten minutes they were level as Coutinho swished his way into space and struck a low curling shot that evaded Stekelenburg and levelled the score at 2-2.

In the 82nd minute, Rodgers continues his project of giving youngsters a chance as he introduced Teixeira for his senior debut for the club and as the visitors pushed for a winner, Coutinho sent an arrowed shot that sailed wide of the target.

The deciding goal came right at the end as Sturridge raced into the area and was felled by Riether with the referee pointing to the spot, Gerrard stepped up and slotted the ball past Stekelenburg to complete the comeback and seal the win that puts Liverpool only four points away from the summit of the table.