A disappointing Liverpool performance saw Fulham pick up their second away point of the season with a draw at Anfield.
The home side’s best chance fell to Robbie Keane in the first half but his shot was straight at keeper Mark Schwarzer after being put through for a chance which he should have put away.
Dirk Kuyt also went close in the first half but Fulham saw plenty of the ball and Pepe Reina produced a smart save to deny Jimmy Bullard.
It was only in the second half that Liverpool looked more dominant, but failed to create any clear cut chances. Fernando Torres did his best to break the deadlock but cut a frustrated figure at times, clearly missing any quality service with Gerrard out injured and Xabi Alonso somewhat controversially on the bench in place of the lacklustre Lucas.
Liverpool fans were even more perplexed when Alonso did come on, replacing Javier Mascherano rather than Lucas who was struggling to make an impression. Babel and El Zhar also came on late on for Riera and Kuyt respectively, with Benitez looking to get some pace out wide. But the changes couldn’t find a way through and Fulham were deserving of their point.
Rafa Benitez said afterwards that this was a “bad day” and with Chelsea (and later United) dropping points it was also a massive missed opportunity to go clear at the top of the league.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Kuyt (El Zhar 81), Leiva Lucas, Mascherano (Alonso 64), Riera (Babel 78), Keane, Torres.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Benayoun.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey (Gera 84), Bullard (Baird 90), Murphy, Davies, Johnson, Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gray, Stoor, Kallio.
Referee: Mark Halsey
Weather: Cold, dry