Liverpool suffer humiliating defeat at Fulham

Fulham 3 Liverpool 1

Rafael Benitez grimaced on the touchline as nine-man Liverpool were given a mauling in a humiliating defeat at Craven Cottage.

Liverpool defenders Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher were sent off for reckless fouls and by the end the Fulham crowd were chanting "Easy, easy" as Liverpool resembled a shambles.

Goals from Bobby Zamora, Erik Nevland and Clint Dempsey gave Roy Hodgson's side a deserved victory with Fernando Torres grabbing the one consolation for Liverpool.

But this was a match which only demonstrated that Torres cannot do it all by himself.

He cannot keep producing the only quality in a Liverpool team which, without the injured Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson, looks bereft of ideas and creativity.

We had wondered what the significance was of that stirring victory over Manchester United last weekend.

Well, now it looks a one-off. A lone bright spot in a season which could get even darker next Wednesday when Liverpool travel to Lyon for a match which could see them effectively knocked out of the Champions league in the group stages.

After this result they might just be out of the Premier League race, too.

The pressure is building on Benitez. And with the Reds faithful once more booing his substitution of Yossi Benayoun the steam is hissing all around him.

Bizarrely, it was a match in which Liverpool enjoyed the majority of the possession.

A match in which they pressed forward with lots of effort, often against a wall of white shirts. But a match in which for vast swathes they struggled to supply the quality to go with their industry.

They must have wondered, however, quite how they found themselves behind after 24 minutes.

Fulham had not had a single shot on Jose Reina's goal. Let's be honest, they had barely crossed the half-way line.

But shortly after Benayoun had produced an acrobatic volley which fairly rattled the Fulham crossbar the home side broke away.

The ball came to Damien Duff on the left and that trusty left foot curled in a raking cross which bisected the Liverpool defence and allowed Zamora to tap home from close range.

A bit of a downer that, especially as Liverpool wags have been known to direct the following ditty in Zamora's direction, to the tune of 'Amore:' "When the ball hits your head and you're sat in Row Z, that's Zamora."

Well, now they know different. Zamora is lethal from six yards.

Benitez, however, must have been scratching his head, such was Liverpool's dominance.

The problem was that while Liverpool continued to press forward they struggled to produce the high tempo and urgency they had demonstrated against Manchester United last Sunday.

And when the equaliser came they could hardly put it down to rhythm and style. Instead it was fashioned out of nothing, but by the predator supreme.

There appeared to be little danger for the Fulham defence when the ball came to Andriy Voronin. His header was weak and misdirected but it cannoned off a Fulham defender and arced into the hitting zone of Torres.

He needed no more invitation. The Spaniard simply swivelled and swung his right boot and a fabulous volley from the edge of the box fairly scorched past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

It was Torres' 10th league goal of the season and only demonstrated once more his value to Liverpool.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson made a double substitution at half-time, bringing on Zoltan Gera for Diomansy Kamara and Nevland for Duff.

It was an attempt to push Liverpool back and stem the pounding and it had some success. In fact, Fulham might have re-taken the lead on the hour mark when Zamora fired over a cross and Gera swivelled and shot but unfortunately straight at goalkeeper Reina.

The did take the lead, however, after 74 minutes and once more it was against the run of play.

This time Paul Konchesky surged down the left hand side and Reina could only parry his cross. The ball was headed back across goal by Gera and there was Nevland to slide the ball into the net.

It got worse for Liverpool four minutes later when Swiss defender Degen was sent off for a reckless lunge on Dempsey.

Incredibly three minutes later Liverpool were down to nine men when Carragher brought down Zamora and also received a red card.

And to wrap up an afternoon to forget for Benitez, Dempsey rolled in the third for Fulham as Liverpool disintegrated.

Sport
File photo of Lewis Hamilton celebrating becoming World Champion after victory in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he was made favourite to become the first motor racing winner of Sports Personality of the Year since Damon Hill
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleJack Monroe accuses David Cameron of 'misty-eyed rhetoric'
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
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

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible