Dempsey ends Liverpool's road reign

 

Fulham 1 Liverpool 0:Fulham striker Clint Dempsey struck a late winner as Liverpool’s outstanding form on the road ended during a controversial evening at Craven Cottage.

Dempsey stabbed home a long-range 85th-minute shot by Danny Murphy that had bounced off the arms of Jose Reina, to secure only Fulham’s third Premier League win of the season.

However, a sense of grievance cloaked Liverpool’s night after they were denied a strong claim to a penalty and a legitimate goal from Luis Suarez was disallowed for offside, before Jay Spearing was shown a straight red card.

Philippe Senderos hacked down Charlie Adam with referee Kevin Friend claiming the tackle was executed just outside the area in what was a desperately tight call.

Worse was to come when Suarez produced a brilliant finish after jinking his way clear, only for a flag to be raised even though the Uruguay striker was onside.

The final insult was delivered in the 72nd minute when Spearing, making his first Premier League start of the season, was shown a straight red card.

Spearing, who had replaced knee-injury victim Lucas Leiva in the starting line-up, caught Mousa Dembele with a sliding challenge, but only after cleanly winning the ball in what was a harsh call.

The result denied Liverpool a record-equalling seventh successive away win in all competitions as they endured their first defeat in 12 games.

The goal came when the United States international Dempsey followed in after visiting goalkeeper Jose Reina uncharacteristically spilled Danny Murphy’s low shot.

And Dempsey said: “You’ve always got to take a chance. Danny did a good job getting the shot off and you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you get lucky and it falls to you.

“Any points right now are big because the table’s so tight. We’re just happy to get the win.”

Liverpool manager boss Kenny Dalglish was frustrated by the dismissal of Spearing and felt it changed the outcome of the game.

“He won the ball, he probably upset the referee with his follow-through but it’s not his fault there’s somebody standing there.

“You see them sometimes get a red card, other times they get away with it. The problem everybody has is the level of interpretation, that’s not consistent.

“I think we would have taken something if we’d been left with 11 men. I don’t think we played as well as we have been but we did enough to come away with something but we haven’t done it.”