Reds leave it late to reclaim top spot

Liverpool left it late to claim three points where Man United failed, by defeating Fulham 1-0 on Saturday evening.

Substitute Yossi Benayoun’s 93rd minute goal secured victory after the Reds had hit the woodwork four times and thrown everything at the hosts.

The first half saw Torres hit the post when through one-on-one, Alonso hit the bar with a volley from the edge of the box, and Dossena twice hit the bar – once flicking Skrtel’s shot from a corner and once from close range after a wonderful cross from Gerrard.

It looked like being another 0-0 draw and a wasted opportunity until the ball fell for Benayoun and he fired home across the goal from about 12 yards. Cue relief and mass celebrations at Craven Cottage.

It was a deserved win, having dominated possession, territory and chances – particularly in the first half and late on. The introduction of Babel on the left added an extra sense of urgency to our play and then the late cameo of Benayoun added further industry which was somewhat lacking in the final third up until then.

Xabi Alonso controlled the game in midfield, spraying passes beautifully from side to side. The pass to Gerrard which saw the skipper control the ball majestically before crossing for Dossena’s header which hit the bar was pure class and would have been a tremendous goal.

The returning Emiliano Insua, starting for the first time since his run of games around the Christmas period were broken up by international duty for Argentina under-20’s, carried on where he left off and looked assured and stable at the back. Fabio Aurelio though, rested for this one, will return against Chelsea on Wednesday at Anfield.

Thankfully, the international break – and the curse of the manager of the month award – failed to prove our undoing. It’s strange to think that a 0-0 draw would have taken us top, but at the same time pretty much ended our title dreams. Instead, they’re well and truly alive.

The result means Liverpool go top of the Premier League, albeit having played two more than United – who host Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. A point for Villa at Old Trafford and maybe those dreams will look a little more realistic….

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy (Dacourt 76), Etuhu, Davies (Gera 79), Zamora, Johnson (Nevland 87).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Kamara, Kallio, Baird.
Booked: Pantsil, Gera.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Alonso, Lucas, Kuyt (Benayoun 76), Gerrard (Agger 90), Dossena (Babel 65), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Riera, Mascherano, Ngog.
Booked: Babel, Skrtel.
Goals: Benayoun 90.

Attendance: 25,661
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)