Liverpool’s top four hopes fade after vital defeat at Hull City

Michael Dawson’s winner helps Steve Bruce’s side edge closer to safety

Michael Dawson celebrates after scoring Hull City’s winner against Liverpool at the KC Stadium. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Michael Dawson celebrates after scoring Hull City’s winner against Liverpool at the KC Stadium. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

 

Hull City 1 Liverpool 0

Michael Dawson scored his first goal for Hull City to help Steve Bruce’s team take another step towards Premier League survival as Liverpool’s faint hopes of finishing in the top four diminished further.

After drawing 0-0 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers’ team again displayed a lack of penetration and the difference this time was that their opponents found a way through.

Dawson exposed poor organisation in the visitors’ defence to head in the decisive goal after 37 minutes.

It leaves Liverpool seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, with four matches remaining.

Liverpool had sold out their allocation of about 2,500, despite ticket prices of €48, although many had boycotted the match in objection to the cost. The away section appeared to be less than half full. Some of those who had stayed away gathered outside Anfield to protest as part of a demonstration organised by the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ group.

League title

The date of this fixture marked 25 years since Liverpool’s most recent league title.

Brendan Rodgers made only one change to his starting line-up from the West Brom game as Joe Allen replaced Steven Gerrard who was spared an outing in Yorkshire.

Hull had arrested a worrying sequence of six matches without a win in impressive fashion with Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Dame N’Doye, the Senegalese striker, scored the goals in that match and he went close against Liverpool in the opening stages but saw his header from six yards pushed away by Simon Mignolet following Sone Aluko’s cross.

Both sides went on to create good chances.

Steve Harper, Hull’s 40-year-old goalkeeper, beat away Philippe Coutinho’s first-time shot from Jordan Henderson’s corner before Mignolet was again called into action. Robbie Brady breezed past the right-back Emre Can to send a devilish cross into the six-yard box and Mignolet punched the ball out as far as Jake Livermore. Livermore’s header was goalbound but the Liverpool goalkeeper made a reflex stop before the ball was hacked clear for a corner.

The hosts took a deserved lead eight minutes before half-time. Liverpool’s defenders were waiting for a flag to go up against three Hull players in the area after a corner routine had gone awry as Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross came in from the right.

A fourth player, Dawson, however, was not offside and he was free to head in his first goal since joining Hull from Tottenham.

Glen Johnson attempted to lead Liverpool’s response but saw his low, drilled cross, elude all, including Mario Balotelli, who was well placed.

N’Doye and Aluko gave Hull dynamism in attack and meant that the hosts remained a threat from counterattacks as Liverpool pressed for an equaliser.

Hull were grateful to Harper when he dived low to his right to keep out a snapshot from Henderson after Coutinho’s deflected effort fell kindly for the Liverpool captain before Rodgers brought on Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana in place of the ineffective Balotelli and Jordon Ibe.

Hull were in danger of being forced too deep, allowing Liverpool space in key areas. Henderson let fly with a shot from 20 yards that Harper gathered at the second attempt before Hull went close to doubling their advantage through Paul McShane who headed towards goal after James Chester flicked on Brady’s corner but the effort hit Henderson and went wide.

There was time for one last chance for Liverpool as Lallana found space to curl an effort towards goal but the ball drifted narrowly wide.

HULL CITY: Harper, Chester, Dawson, McShane, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Quinn (Ramirez 84), Brady, N’Doye (Rosenior 90), Aluko (Bruce 86). Subs not used: McGregor, Figueroa, Hernandez, Sagbo. Booked: Livermore, Ramirez.

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren (Markovic 76), Johnson, Henderson, Allen, Coutinho, Ibe (Lallana 65), Balotelli (Lambert 65), Sterling. Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Manquillo, Brannagan.

Attendance: 24,843

Referee: Lee Probert

(Guardian Service)

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