London - Michael Dawson, the Hull City captain, scored a goal that secured a
1-0 home win over Liverpool and had a significant impact on both ends of
the Premier League table on Tuesday.
This was Liverpool's game in
hand over Manchester United and their failure to win it leaves Brendan
Rodgers's team seven points adrift of the Old Trafford club with an
inferior goal difference.
Both of them now have four games to play and Liverpool's pursuit of a Champions League place looks to be over.
Hull, meanwhile, have moved above Aston Villa near the foot of the table and are four points clear of the relegation zone.
even a Europa Cup place far from certain, it will be scant consolation
for Liverpool to know that few of their supporters were at the KC
Stadium to witness the game which means their season is likely to end in
Liverpool, frustrated on several occasions by
40-year-old goalkeeper Steve Harper, sold their allocation of 2,506
tickets, but more than half of them boycotted the game as a protest
against being charged 50.
Their absence, backed by both managers,
represented the first significant step in a fans' fightback against
admission prices. It will not be the last.
It is a long time since
Liverpool had such a paltry number of followers at an away game, but
another familiar face was also missing.
Skipper Steven Gerrard, on
the fringes of the action in the goalless draw at West Brom in their
previous game, was replaced by Joe Allen and not even included among the
The change initially did
little to energise Liverpool in the wake of their lacklustre show
against West Brom and they should have been behind after the seventh
Sone Aluko's excellent left-wing cross picked out Dame N'Doye, who placed his header too close to keeper Simon Mignolet.
whenever Philippe Coutinho was involved Liverpool looked a threat and
he forced a fine save from Harper after a well-worked corner in the 19th
Mario Balotelli also looked more fired up than usual,
perhaps because of an early clash with Tom Huddlestone, and was
unfortunate that an imaginative backheel went straight to Harper.
were still the more adventurous team and Liverpool were stretched again
in the 27th minute. Robbie Brady created the problem for Liverpool as
he accelerated clear of Emre Can, who was employed at right-back.
From Brady's cross, Jake Livermore's header was blocked by Mignolet and Aluko was inches away from hooking in the loose ball.
breakthrough goal was delayed for only ten minutes, however. Paul
McShane's failure to control the ball inside the area reaped an
unexpected benefit when it reached Ahmed Elmohamady, who had time and
space to curl in a cross.
Liverpool left three Hull attackers
offside as the ball went into the danger area, but allowed Dawson to
power past them and head beyond Mignolet.
Liverpool, who had kept
clean sheets in seven of their previous eight away games, were upset
about the decision, but reacted in the right way in the closing stages
of the half.
Henderson forced another smart save from Harper, then
Glen Johnson surged to the byline and drove finally found a way past
Harper, but the ball went across the face of the goal with no Liverpool
able to get a decisive touch.
Harper became an even bigger factor
in the match in the second-half when his experience ensured there was no
way back into the game.
Rodgers's team had far more possession
that in the opening half, but created few chances, although Harper had
to be alert to deal with a 63rd minute effort from Henderson.
only other scare for Hull came near the end when substitute Adam
Lallana's shot curled narrowly wide of the far with Harper, for once,
beaten. But this was to be Hull's night as they managed back-to-back
clean sheets for the first time in 18 months.