Fans turn on Rafa as Torres move prompts Reds' collapse

Fulham 3 Liverpool 1: Boos ring out for Benitez after decision to withdraw star men leaves toothless Liverpool there for taking

It would have been a brave young Scally who went trick or treating at Rafael Benitez's homestead last night. After this barely credible Halloween nightmare the Liverpool manager was in no mood to indulge anyone.

Benitez watched his team suffer two red cards, including the captain Jamie Carragher, as they crashed to their sixth defeat in seven matches.

Next up, Lyon away, in a match Liverpool need at least to draw, and probably win, if they are to progress in the Champions' League. Domestically their challenge is all but over after five defeats in 11 Premier League games. Liverpool may still be fifth, but they are nine points adrift of Chelsea, and only one more separates them from the relegation zone.

"It is always hard to take defeat,

especially when we were in such control," said Benitez. "We now have to keep calm and think about the next game, but we have many injuries."

Chief among them is Fernando Torres, who played an hour here, scoring his 10th goal of the season, before being withdrawn with a view to Lyon. "He has four days to recover but he is still not 100 per cent fit so we have to protect him," said Benitez, who added that Steven Gerrard, absent here, was also touch and go for midweek.

Even without Gerrard, and several other senior players, Liverpool had looked in good form utterly dominating the first period even if Torres's goal had only equalised a strike by Bobby Zamora against the run of play. But when Torres was withdrawn Liverpool began to unravel.

Erik Nevland scored to put Fulham ahead with 17 minutes left, then Benitez, to boos from the large away support, replaced Yossi Benayoun with Nathan Eccleston. Before the youngster could settle in Liverpool were reduced to nine men. Philipp Degen was first to go, for a studs-up tackle on Clint Dempsey, after 79 minutes. He did not make contact but that, said Roy Hodgson, was because Dempsey had "done well to get out of the way".

Liverpool, said Benitez, would appeal against both dismissals. "It was stupid but he was not looking for the player, it was a yellow card," he said of Degen. Of Carragher he said: "It was clear 'Carra' got the ball, and Zamora said so."

Carragher was fortunate still to be on the pitch having seemingly brought down Zamora, as the striker bore down on Pepe Reina, soon after the hour mark. When Zamora again outstripped him in the chase for a long pass two minutes after Degen's exit, Carragher wrestled him to the ground. He went reluctantly, protesting there was a covering defender, but video evidence supported Lee Mason's verdict.

Fulham took full advantage of their numerical superiority with Nevland setting up Dempsey for a decisive third with a few minutes left. "It was a great win," said Hodgson. "We are getting better as a team but the results have not shown that."

With the absence of Danny Murphy as debilitating for his team as Gerrard's loss was for Liverpool, the first hour largely belonged to the visitors who went close to taking a deserved lead when Benayoun thumped a majestic volley against the bar.

To the surprise and delight of an increasingly disgruntled home crowd the opening goal, however, came from Zamora after 24 minutes. On a rare foray into Liverpool's half Diomansy Kamara fed Damien Duff on the left and his low cross was stabbed in by Zamora, gliding untracked between Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Emiliano Insua. It was the striker's fifth goal of the season, and his ninth in 54 Fulham appearances.

Liverpool simply resumed their siege and were rewarded three minutes from the break. Carragher lofted a ball forward, Andriy Voronin's header struck Aaron Hughes and Torres lashed in the loose ball. It seemed the prelude to a comfortable Liverpool win; then the afternoon turned crazy.

Attendance: 25,700

Referee: Lee Mason

Man of the match: Nevland

Match rating: 8/10

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is returning all donations made by Redditors 'in honour' of Jennifer Lawrence and her naked photos
news

Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak

News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
advertising
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
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

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York