SCOTT Parker said there was “a lot of emotion” after his Fulham side secured a crucial win to give their survival hopes a huge boost and continue Liverpool’s incredible slump.
Mario Lemina’s goal on the stroke of half-time, after the Gabon midfielder had dispossessed Mohamed Salah, inflicted a sixth successive Premier League home defeat on the Reds and saw Parker’s side draw level on 26 points with 17th-placed Brighton.
It was Fulham’s first win at Anfield since 2012, while champions Liverpool are now struggling to finish in the top four after another uninspired performance at home.
The Reds, who won the title last season by 18 points, had gone 68 home league matches unbeaten before their current run started with a loss to Burnley in January.
Since then they have also lost on home soil to Brighton, Manchester City, Everton, Chelsea and now Fulham.
“It’s a big win. There’s a lot of emotion and I am very proud,” said Parker. “I am happy for the players and the team because they got nothing short of what they deserved. There was a resilience and real attitude to keep the ball out of the net and defend.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made seven changes following the defeat to Chelsea in attempt to freshen things up, but Fulham were the better side and carved out four chances in the opening half an hour alone.
Ademola Lookman, who was given the freedom of Anfield, twice got behind the inexperienced Reds defence but could not finish while Josh Maja was denied by a brave save by Alisson.
The winner came after Liverpool thought they had cleared a free-kick but Salah was caught on the ball by Lemina who produced an arrowed finish, his first goal since joining on loan from Southampton.
Diogo Jota, making his first start since 28 November, was denied an equaliser by an acrobatic save from Alphonse Areola early in the second half before substitute Sadio Mane hit the post with a looping header.
But Liverpool were poor and have now failed to win their last eight home games.
Weary Liverpool look broken
It was this time last year that Liverpool went 25 points clear at the top of the table after a win over Bournemouth in front of a raucous Anfield crowd.
Twelve months on and Premier League games at Anfield have become an uncomfortable watch for Klopp and this was another stodgy repeat of recent performances.
The Liverpool manager’s attempts to shake things up by making wholesale changes backfired as Fulham, who have spent most of the season in the bottom three, took advantage of another inexperienced centre-back partnership in the shape of Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams.
Lookman and Maja were a constant source of worry as they exploited huge pockets of space before Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, was dispossessed by Lemina for the goal.
We have an extreme situation – Klopp
Klopp sent on Mane, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold in an attempt to rescue the game but, despite an improved second-half showing, this was another woeful performance which extended an inexcusable run of home losses.
Liverpool, who finished the day eighth in the table, have yet to score a goal in open play at home in 2021.
A plane circled above Anfield during the game towing a banner which read: ‘Unity in Strength – Let’s Go Reds YNWA’.
But Liverpool, who are in Champions League action on Wednesday, have the weary look of a team who cannot wait for the season to finish.
From 10 points from safety to fighting chance
Fulham boss Parker let out a huge scream of delight at the final whistle after this momentous win.
As recently as 13 February the Cottagers were 10 points from safety, but this result will give them huge belief for the final 10 games of the season.
A performance full of character and spirit was characterised by Joachim Andersen’s clearance right at the end, the Fulham skipper saving his side with Mane poised to turn home Andy Robertson’s centre.
Too many times this season Fulham have struggled to turn draws into wins but there was a dogged resilience about they way they went about their work.
They are now unbeaten in eight games away from home, their longest without defeat on the road in their top-flight history.Fulham win as Liverpool
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