Liverpool make ground as Arsenal miss chance to go top
Late Steven Gerrard penalty snatches all three points for Reds at Craven Cottage
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho (left) celebrates with Daniel Sturridge after scoring against Fulham. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Liverpool were the big winners on a tempestuous night of Premier League action, but only just, after coming from 2-1 down against Fulham to win 3-2 at Craven Cottage.
Arsenal’s 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United and Manchester City’s postponed game against Sunderland meant the Merseysiders ended the night two points behind Manuel Pellegrini’s side and three adrift of the Gunners, with leaders Chelsea four ahead after last night’s draw against West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham, however, stayed in touch with Brendan Rodgers’s side, thanks to a 4-0 win over Newcastle United in which Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice, and Paulinho and Nacer Chadli also netter.
Stoke City and Swansea City drew 1-1 after Peter Crouch’s goal was cancelled out by Chico Flores.
Like City’s scheduled meeting with Sunderland, Everton’s clash with Crystal Palace at Goodison Park was also postponed.
Steven Gerrard secured the points for Liverpool from the spot in stoppage-time, rifling home from a penalty after Daniel sturridge was taken down.
Rene Meulensteen’s side produced a performance that belied their position at the bottom of the league, only for them to twice see leads pegged back and then Reds skipper Gerrard strike home in stoppage time. It was a fine win but one in which Liverpool failed to get anywhere near the heady heights reached in Saturday’s 5-1 mauling of Arsenal, falling behind after just eight minutes.
Kolo Toure, guilty of gifting West Brom a 1-1 draw 10 days ago, could only watch on in horror when he sliced a Kieran Richardson cross into his own goal. Fulham continued to impress but were undone as half-time approached by a wonderful first-time Gerrard through ball, which found Daniel Sturridge to net his eighth goal since returning from injury.
While Liverpool were somewhat fortunate to go in level at half-time, they began the second half with renewed vigour and Luis Suarez rattled the far post as the Whites looked increasingly unsteady. Fortunately for them, Martin Skrtel was looking even more shaky and his defensive mistake allowed Manchester United academy graduate Richardson to net from close range. The lead did not last long, though, as Philippe Coutinho sent a fine shot past Maarten Stekelenburg via a slight deflection off former Everton defender John Heitinga.
Fulham looked good value to follow up their thrilling 2-2 draw at Manchester United with another point, only for Sascha Riether to foul Sturridge, allowing Gerrard to seal the points.
Chances were at a premium at Emirates Stadium, with the best coming in the opening minutes for former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, and then for home striker Olivier Giroud. Both should both have scored.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pushed a bullet header from the Holland forward against the crossbar in the second half of a match which ultimately failed to live up to its billing, leaving Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea still top of the league.