Liverpool failed to breakdown an organised Fulham side who arrived at Anfield intent on defending and literally ‘parked the bus’ while settling for a draw.
The visitor’s defensive display was commendable, but just one attempt at goal in 90 minutes is not conducive to a good football match.
Before the match most Liverpool fans would have seen this as an ideal game and opposition, given the visitor’s European exertions just days before, with Roy Hodgson’s side only arriving back from Germany on Friday, and traveling up to Merseyside on Saturday. Still though they were able to hold out for a point as Liverpool failed to break them down.
The omission of Fernando Torres, through injury, set the tone for the lack of firepower up front for Rafa Benitez side and again the lack of quality in the final third without the Spaniard was desperately lacking.
Any lingering hopes of achieving fourth place, and with it the vital Champions League qualification, were expelled with this result, especially with Man City going on to hammer Birmingham and consolidate their place in the top four. They’re now six points ahead of the Reds – and with a game in hand.
Having earlier “guaranteed” his side will finish in the top four, Benitez after the match admitted “It will be very difficult (to finish in the top four). It’s not in our hands. Maybe the difference is too much now. You have to be realistic.”
Liverpool did go close several times but were often found lacking. Aquilani and Mascherano went close, Kyrgiakos headed over, Maxi and Babel forced Schwarzer into saves.
Liverpool players observe a minute’s silence on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Mascherano, Aquilani (Kuyt, 65), Babel (Benayoun, 71), Maxi, Gerrard, Ngog (Pacheco, 78).
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Lucas, Degen, Ayala.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Greening (Riise, 82), Murphy (Dikgacoi, 75), Etuhu, Duff, Nevland, Zamora (Okaka, 68).
Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Shorey, Smalling.
Booked: Murphy, Duff, Greening.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)