Liverpool's hopes fade

2010-04-11 18:36

Liverpool - Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered another substantial blow as Fulham earned a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

Rafael Benitez's side knew a victory over the Cottagers was vital if they were to keep alive their already fading dreams of overhauling Manchester City and Tottenham in the race for fourth place in the Premier League.

However, in a strangely subdued encounter between two sides who could meet in the Europa League final next month should they win their respective semi-finals, Liverpool could not break down the resilient London side, who had Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank for a string of fine saves.

The pre-match discussion at Anfield was mainly concerned with the news that Barclays Capital, the investment arm of the bank, are being drafted in by Liverpool to help the club find new owners.

It is the first move in what is likely to be a protracted affair but it is the strongest indicator yet that the club's unpopular American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are finally getting ready to sell the club.

On the field, Liverpool also had to contest this encounter without Fernando Torres who picked up a knee injury during his sublime display against Benfica in Liverpool's 4-1 Europa League victory on Thursday.

The Spanish forward had scored nine goals in his last seven appearances for Liverpool and 18 in just 22 Premier League encounters this season and his absence certainly affected the Reds' attacking threat.

David Ngog replaced Torres as the lone striker but he lacked his team-mate's cutting edge, shooting wide twice early on well placed.

In terms of possession, Liverpool were by far the better side but in the opening 20 minutes they did little with it.

Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard linked up well several times on the right wing but the final killer ball was absent as Liverpool failed to shine.

After 22 minutes, Alberto Aquilani has one ambitious overhead kick comfortably stopped by Schwarzer just 60 seconds before the Australian was called into action again as he brilliantly blocked a Maxi Rodriguez effort to keep the scores level.

Schwarzer was impressive again after half an hour as he clawed away a Javier Mascherano effort from outside the box that would have sneaked into the top corner.

Fulham were then given a let-off by referee Andre Marriner who allowed Jonathan Greening to remain on the pitch when he should have been dismissed.

He was booked early in the game for dissent and then chopped Johnson to the ground as the Liverpool defender tried to get forward in attack.

Although the Kop end called for Greening's dismissal, Marriner decided against sending him off.

After the break, Schwarzer was again on fine form as he tipped over a curling Aquilani effort.

Schwarzer provided further inspiration after 63 minutes, getting down low to a fine Ryan Babel effort to tip it around the post as the home side continued to pour forward.

Fulham's belief grew as the game progressed and they remained disciplined in defence, throwing themselves into the path of the ball whenever it was required.

They barely ventured into Liverpool's half as it became increasingly clear that they were only interested in obtaining a point, something they managed as they blocked a late flurry of attempts.


  • Wes - 2010-04-12 07:50

    Well at least the club's American owners have put the club up for sale (good news) As for our chances of finishing 4th, it seems highly unlikely... at least we might win the Europa League which would add another European trophy to our cabinet!!!

  • ShAyA - 2010-04-12 08:20

    Please can this season be over!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ricky Bobby - 2010-04-12 08:47

    that trophy doesnt mean anything - its like the carling cup my friend

  • TRUE Red - 2010-04-12 09:07

    @ Ricky, yes, it is the European version of the Carling Cup, but that's just it - EUROPEAN vs English, so it has a bit more value & we MUST go for it ! Regarding this game - we played REALLY well, even without Torres, but as the article said, the Fulham goalkeeper made same really outstanding saves - on another day, the score could have easily been 4-0. But that's how it goes sometimes & it probably means no CL footie for us next season even if we win all our games & Utd & the Gunner's beat City & Spurs

  • ShAYA - 2010-04-12 09:15

    @ Ricky Bobby..Silverware is silverware my friend, just ask my UTD buddies about their Charity cup..heh heh!!!

  • Wes - 2010-04-12 09:16

    @ Ricky So you would rather NOT win a trophy like the Europa League or Carling Cup?? Tell that to Man Utd or Chelsea supporters who have been quite happy with their teams winning both trophies in recent years. The players like Carra, Gerrard and Torres among others have said they would love to win this competition... Who the hell gives you the right to claim it doesn't mean anything???

  • Ricky Bobby - 2010-04-12 10:34

    guys i understand where you coming from - but for a club Liverpool do you really honestly think thats good enough? I mean last season you guys were competing on all fronts, UEFA CHP LGE, EPL etc, how can you standards drop so drastically in the space of 8-9 months? i mean common, you guys must be p*** of with rafa and your teams performance- in my opinion he has to go, to much defensive tactics, how can you go to old trafford with a cautious approach if you chasing 4th spot?? you guys were unlucky on sat that keeper big saves whole game long but again, not enough quality up front if torres isnt there

  • AL @ ShAYA - 2010-04-12 10:39

    Sorry dude, this page is`nt long enough to list what UTD have done. Those same repeating words "next season", "next season" are getting a little tired now. @TRUE Red: Unlucky - I still think the infamous beachball was the beginning of the end.

  • Up the Pool - 2010-04-12 10:42

    Well any tropy will do it will at least pick up the boys after a disastrous season.We played a good game but once again no torres no goals we need another quality striker because Ngogg is weak and should play for a first division team.Benitez needs to get rid of some of the useless baggage like Ngogg lucas and if he is not playing Rierra then rather sell him and use that money to buy another striker I doubt he will get a lot is any money for lucas and Ngogg but we should get some for Riera at least.Lets just hope all the quality still stays at liverpool

  • Kube$ - 2010-04-12 12:22

    What a dismal season for Liverfool, Stevie G and El Nino should now leave, and for you Wes, Lucas should then be made captain. I thought Mourinho might come to save you Reds but with Pelligrini probably getting the boot, I hope Jose goes to Real Madrid..

  • TRUE Red - 2010-04-12 12:38

    @ AL - if we look at 2 games we lost "illegally", the Sunderland beachball game & the Arsenal game where Fabregas admitted to handling the ball, that's 2 points lost that may be huge come the end of the season ! @ Ricky, hear where you are coming from, but the fact is we do have the 6th most expensive squad in the league - look where we are on the log - 6th - one could sadly say we are where we should be ! We need investors, plain & simple ! @ Up the Pool - Ngog is a lightie & has great potential, but is NOT an experiened enough striker for Torres, yet - we need someone with quality as a partner / backup, but should definitely hold on to the kid a little while longer - he definitely has potential but throwing him in the deep end is not doing anybody any good. But looking at the fixtures for City, Spurs & Villa - let's see how they cope with the big games they have left & try winning all our games - it's a wierd season & will go down to the last game IMHO

  • seeps - 2010-04-12 12:39

    For the sake of football and EPL being a good fight I realyhope that Liverpool don't lose the likes of Torres and Gerrard to City or Real. Rafa gotta go guys and just like United are not top notch this season we cannot have Chelski and the the Red Roman buying titles with a team of almost retired oupas guys? Arsenal will always flatter to deceive however it's the two clubs with real history and heritage who should be attacking the EPL like Barcelona and Real have done this season...... Oh well one last dig a t the Liverfools... 20 yrs and counting mate!!!! bwahwhahahahahahahahaha

  • Kube$ - 2010-04-12 13:13

    @true Red - Henry also handed the ball and now the Irish are not coming to SA, we can go on and on and FCKEN on about refs and decisons, but I dont know what thats gonna do for your season really... Stop complaining, get a new coach, and shoot Lucas.. Problem solved man....

  • TRUE Red - 2010-04-12 14:19

    @ seeps - that's ok, it took Utd 26 years to end their title drought & Chelsea what, like 50 ! ;-) But agree, those who say money can't buy success are dreaming - look at the league - Chelsea top with a game in hand & City most probably in the CL next season !

  • seeps - 2010-04-12 15:29

    @ True Red..... true that mate true that but what interests me is the (lack of) youngsters coming outta The Bridge? Whats the Roman gonna do...... Go Real Madrid up in here? Doesn't work as Ronaldo, No league, No Spanish Cup n no Champions league. Money buys temporary success man. Chin Up Liverpool fans 2012 is your year......... Championship Champs lol...... ok really now this is Chelski's olast chance at the league for sure, those oupa's are close to retiremnet now and then what?

  • Wes - 2010-04-12 15:34

    Kube$ Nou praat jy stront!! Torres and Gerard will not be leaving the club... I wonder if you will still be around next season when your predictions have been proved to be incorrect!!! I will still back the team and the coach despite our average season... One has to remember that we have spent absolutely nothing since last season... All the signings we made were replacements, none were to strengthen the squad!! Please tell me who did we sign to replace Robbie Keane?? We got about 16 million for him but the Yanks used the money towards the interest payments on our debt!! How the hell must Benitez compete with the likes of SPurs, Man City, Utd and Chelski... even Villa and Birmingham are spending more than us!! Rafa as coach WILL bring us trophies, of that I am sure!!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-04-12 15:39

    Kube$, agreed, it's part of the game, especially these days, however, my point was that those 2 dropped points could prove to be the difference between CL footie next season or not even qualifying for Europa, it's THAT close !

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-04-12 22:00

    @Wes - bro you should stop commenting on this thread - because everytime you do - you make a plonker of yourself with the lack of insight into the finer things of the game. Benitez is just about dead and buried - he has been linked to Real Madrid on more than one occassion - being Spanish and offered the Real job - do you think he hasnt considered it - get real (pun intended) check out his body language and attitude these days - he is ready to walk out the door - hence our poor results - he doesnt give a shite if Liverpool finish 4th or not - he has already lined up another job !! And the reason why the supporters are peed off is because he has mismanaged the teams resources and screwed up a very good oppurtunity last year to win the EPL with his negative (aka Lucas) tactics - hence all the draws. He has a negative approach to football - and we now need some one who can see the cup as half full - As I said before - if you keep lamenting this fool and Lucas's praises then you are a supporter who is happy with mediocrity or a half empty cup - with your type of support and condoning what is happening at Liverpool will surley take us another 20 years to achieve anything !!

  • Wes - 2010-04-13 07:44

    @ NWA Well firstly, at least I am man enough to post using my REAL name and not a moniker. Secondly, Benitez has NOT decided to leave, in fact he has always said that he just recently signed a new 5 year deal and would like to finish what he started at the club he loves. The difference between us is that I actually do my research when it comes to Liverpool and I actually check their club website, fans forums, etc to gauge the feeling of the supporters. Most match going supporters still back Benitez and I will continue to do so as well... He has done more good than any other Manager since Kenny Dalglish and I am happy with the way the club has progressed under his leadership... I hope you will give him credit when we win trophies under his leadership!!!

  • JustinD - 2010-04-13 12:58

    You also have to be realistic with regards to keeping players like Torres and Gerhard when there is no CL football. They are as good as gone, well that's what i believe anyway. For my LFC mates i hope they stay cause you really need them.

  • Wes - 2010-04-13 13:56

    @ JustinD Both Torres and Gerard have said they are not leaving...

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-04-14 12:16

    @Wes - Money talks and bullshite walks - believe me if the right offer comes along they will go.Man City have got money to burn and the owner has already drawn up his short list of desired players and made the money available - Torres is on his list. Stevie G is coming to the end of his career - and MAY consider a big payday to win the EPL (THE ONLY MEDAL NOT ON HIS SHELF) before its too late !! I have been watching English football for over 45 years - and generrally when players mouth off that they are not leaving their respective clubs no matter what - then it's a smoke screen while negotiations and offers are weighed up behind closed doors. Both these players have indicated that their future at LFC will depend on the ability of the club to attract top class players for next season. Personally I think Gerrard has lost patience with Benitez and his tactics - and it will not surprise me if things start to happen with regards to him and Torres moving on !! That means Lucas will have a permanent place in the team regardless - Yippeeee can't wait for next season - and another 20 year EPL drought !!!

  • Kube$ - 2010-04-14 15:19

    Rafa will Fck Real Madrid up and judging from their season they already Fcked up. Considering Jose does not like Italian Football, I really hope he goes to Real, that would be something hey, but I agree with you NWA, Rafa might just be the best candidate, he is spanish, won a CL and has worked with alot of those players... Kenny Dog or Jurge Klinsmann should take over at Liverfool.

  • Wes - 2010-04-15 09:21

    @ NWA Dude, that is just your opinion as always. Both Gerrard and Torres have praised Rafa in the last 6 months. Gerrard has admitted that Benitez is the reason he is scoring more goals and can basically play anywhere in the team. Torres made it clear that he will not leave for another EPL side. Man City enquired about him last year and he made it clear he wont move for any price or salary. You single out Lucas but yet he has been more consistent than any other midfield player this season, even more consistent that Gerrard. Your criticism is just a personal vendetta and probably based on the crap you read in the UK media!!

  • Kube$ - 2010-04-15 10:18

    @WES - My Man do you love embarrassing yo self, no wonder Liverfool are battling, cos they have supporters like you who are retarded. You have shed light as to why they are having such a shite season cos they have shite supporters like you. Players always say they never gonna leave, Henry said it, Rooney said it at Everton, Beckham said it, I can go on, but they all leave. Clearly you know shite bout footi.

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-04-15 11:53

    @Kube$ - Well said - my sentiments exactly - however it will always be difficult convincing fools !! I dont read the crap in the UK media - but I do check out the LFC website - and a good amount of comments from fans have been having a go at Benitez. Wes is just another clueless supporter walking around in denial of a the MAJOR problems at LFC !! Like I said before - he is happy with mediocrity !!

  • Ebi - 2010-04-15 15:39

    @ Wes - wow, i don't even have words to describe the cr@p you talk. I've said this before, and it's not a swipe at liverpool fans in general, but by all accounts the general level of I.Q. amongst liverpool fans in liverpool isn't very high, hence their continued support of benitez. Benitez is good at only two things - fooling the fools, and coaxing a bj out of lucas (i'm starting to wonder if you're in on that). Added to that, there are the "experts" on liverpool tv (which is a major centre of influence) who stubbornly refuse to admit that the club is on it's way down, and keep looking for "positives" which in fact don't exist. Other than that, the rest of your statements are just simply asinine. Are you from liverpool perhaps?

  • John - 2010-04-16 08:32

    Benitez get the fcuk out of liverpool and take lucus with you!!!!1

  • Wes - 2010-04-16 10:00

    No amount of insults will change the fact that Benitez IS a wolrd class coach. 2 x Spanish La Liga titles with Valencia 1 x UEFA Cup with Valencia 1 x Champions League with Liverpool & 1 x Final in 2007 1 x FA Cup with Liverpool 1 x Super Cup with Liverpool 5 x Consecutive CL Qualifications 1 x League Cup Final 2nd Place finish in 2008/9 EPL with highest points achieved at the club for 20 years He is not a bad coach and has proved he is one of the best in the business. THESE ARE FACTS!!! I rest my case!!

  • Up The Pool - 2010-04-16 11:20

    @Wes if you call Lucas consistant then I agree with the rest of the guys you know nothing about foot ball.Lucas should not even be playing soccer as he is weak and has no idea what to do with a football as for Ngogg he is young but I don't think that will make any difference he will remain an ordinary player with no talent.As for Benitez yes he had his days but it is no over and he should be kicked out.Let us real liverpool supporters pray that Torres Stevie G Macherano and Yossi remain at the club as well as our back line and lets hope we get money to buy 4 quality players as Aquilani is good and he will make a great difference at Liverpool if he plays more often Lucas shoul come play for Jomo Cosmos

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