Dalglish in the ascendant as Pantsil slip sinks Fulham

Liverpool 1 Fulham 0

In the the years when Kenny Dalglish last managed Liverpool, when "first was first and second was nowhere", being seventh as February dawns would have been considered a disastrous state of affairs. This morning it will be used to justify the second coming, although the man himself was considerably more cautious.

Victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and now Fulham, a club that has never won at Anfield in its history and who lost to an own-goal last night, are frankly the minimum requirements for recovery. "We are better than that," Dalglish remarked afterwards.

He was commenting on Liverpool's position in the Premier League but he might have been talking about a game in which they rode their luck, something they have seldom done this season. "We are not going to get carried away." Seventh, after all, is where Rafael Benitez left them.

It was a goalless draw against Fulham in soft April sunshine that condemned Benitez's regime by ensuring it could not requalify for the Champions League and had a trio of late chances, the best of which fell to Mousa Dembele been converted, they would have inflicted further embarrassment on the red half of Merseyside.

Although it was Mark Hughes who stood on the touchline and kicked out in frustration when Raul Meireles hacked away Brede Hangeland's header, Fulham are still a credit to the man who created this team, one Roy Hodgson.

John Pantsil was last to leave the stage and walked off with his shirt pulled over his head. The Ghanaian defender had never scored an authentic Premier League goal and it was his final touch in a goalmouth scramble once Fernando Torres's shot had struck first the sprawling figure of Hangeland and then the foot of the post that proved decisive.

In the wake of his first win at Anfield, Dalglish reflected that: "Fulham will feel hard done by," which Hughes, his opposite number, thought was "some understatement". "We were by far the dominant team but we did not make that dominance count," the Welshman added.

It has seemed weeks, such has been the ebbs and undercurrents of the story but it was when Liverpool last took the field, four days before, that Andy Gray and Richard Keys made their observations about a female official that built a bonfire of their careers.

At Molineux, Sian Massey had unwittingly answered their jeers by correctly judging a razor-thin offside decision that led to Torres' opening goal. As early as the fifth minute here, there was another marginal call as Meireles sent through Torres to score and this time the male linesman flagged, incorrectly as it turned out, for offside. It is, however, unlikely that a photograph of a scantily-clad Mick McDonough, taken in a nightclub, will be adorning the front page of The Sun under the headline "Get 'Em Off".

The fact that Australia have qualified to meet Japan in the Asian Cup final meant that Mark Schwarzer was in Qatar rather than enduring the sight of Torres driving through the Fulham back-four like a racehorse coming through the mist. However, David Stockdale's reflexes ensured he was not missed.

Whatever the limitations of his squad, Dalglish has introduced the kind of width that has been lacking since Gérard Houllier, the first modern manager to have no connection to Bill Shankly's Boot Room, began his reconstruction of Liverpool.

Glen Johnson, transformed into a left back because Dalglish has no real faith in Paul Konchesky, ran at the Fulham back four to deliver a venomous shot that Stockdale tipped over but, compared to his earlier save from Meireles' diving header, it was nothing. That was the product of a fine, low cross from Martin Kelly, the young right-back, who already looks the best bet in the long term for both Liverpool and England.

Fulham, however, recovered their balance sufficiently to force a couple of smart saves of their own from Pepe Reina before the interval and for their fans to begin chanting Hodgson's name, something that never happened during his brief, chaotic reign at Anfield. "Roy, Roy, Roy, Roy, Roy" they sang to the tune of the 1970s children's television show, "The Banana Splits". The Kop silenced them with a single chorus of "Dalglish".



Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard, Poulsen (Aurelio, 80); Kuyt (Shelvey, 66), Meireles, Rodriguez; Torres. Substitutes not used Gulacsi (g), Fabio, Cole, Pacheco, Wilson, Ngog.

Fulham (4-4-2): Stockdale; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird; Duff (Gera, 63), Sidwell, Murphy, Dempsey; Dembele, Johnson. Substitutes not used Etheridge (g), Kelly, Salcido, Kamara, Greening, Davies.

Referee L Probert (Gloucestershire).

Attendance 40,466.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices