Wednesday 12 December 2001, 8:00pm at Anfield, Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
Liverpool
Liverpool
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Wednesday 12 December 2001

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jari Litmanen
Off:Patrik Berger

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Igor Biscan
Off:Danny Murphy

45'+14 Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sylvain Legwinski
Off:Sean Davis

0
15
30
45
60
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90

Fulham stopped Michael Owen in his tracks as the Liverpool star battled for his 100th goal for the club.

It was supposed to be the night that Liverpool stretched their lead at the top of the table with Owen writing himself into the club's record books.

But impressive Fulham had not read the script. And in midfielder Steed Malbranque they had the best player on the pitch.

They produced a display of endeavour and excellent technique to more than deserve their point.

Liverpool, however, twice hit the woodwork and Owen ran himself into the ground in search of his goal.

The England striker had a hatful of chances but found Edwin van der Sar in top form and ended the night goalless.

Liverpool could not handle the fact that Fulham were prepared to go for them with pace and skill. That was not in the script either.

Emile Heskey returned to Liverpool side to partner Owen and Steven Gerrard came in for Jari Litmanen.

The Cottagers, seven unbeaten in the league, brought in Sean Davis for Sylvain Legwinski from the team that beat Everton at the weekend.

And with the confidence that has been building at Craven Cottage as their impressive start to life in the top flight, the West Londoners made Liverpool struggle from the off.

Quick movement, short, and sharp interplay made Liverpool work really hard to get their own game together.

Davies and Malbranque found time and space in midfield to bring Barry Hayles and Louis Saha frequently into the game, and Liverpool found themselves being hounded in their own backyard.

Liverpool's man of the moment Owen had one looping header saved by van der Sar, and saw a string of first-half chances slip from his grasp.

Fulham had their moments too, and only a superb tackle in the box by Gerrard on 19 minutes halted Luis Boa Morte in full flow after he had cut out a Sami Hyypia pass.

Saha then worked his way dangerously across the box looking for a shooting angle, and even though he scuffed his effort, the ball fell to John Collins, who forced Jerzy Dudek into a smart, low save.

Fulham were not doing the expected - sitting back and defending in depth - like the majority of visitors to Anfield. They worked hard to deny Liverpool time and space and constructed their moves, and produced plenty of enterprise of their own.

Owen almost scored though on 28 minutes when he took a pass from Danny Murphy and turned seven yards out to fire his shot far too close to van der Sar.

The Dutchman then made a point-blank stop from Owen, who had turned cleverly into space. The ball bounced up and onto the roof of the net.

Liverpool's best early chance though fell to Gerrard, who sent a header onto a post following a Gary McAllister free kick.

Liverpool were beginning to up their game and Owen turned Alain Goma and cruised into the box to fire in a shot that Steve Finnan deflected wide. The tide seemed to be turning Liverpool's way.

Soon after the break Owen then turned provider when he escaped down the right to fire over a low cross that Heskey somehow contrived to miss completely in the six yard box.

Then Liverpool hit the woodwork again when a long-distance McAllister free-kick from wide on the left struck the post.

Owen continued his one man battle with van der Sar by planting a header straight at the Fulham keeper, who was soon to frustrate Murphy too with a fine tip over following Berger's cross.

But it was the defending of Goma and Andy Melville, plus the running power of Saha, Hayles and Boa Morte than in the end gave Fulham their deserved share of the spoils.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 12 December 2001
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Attendance: 37,153

Referee: Jeff Winter

Liverpool

Line-up: Dudek; Carragher, Hyypiä, Henchoz, John Arne Riise; Murphy (Biscan 81'), Gerrard, McAllister, Berger (Litmanen 66'); Heskey, Owen

Unused substitutes: Kirkland, Wright, Diomede

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett; Malbranque, Collins, Davis (Legwinski 45'), Boa Morte; Saha, Hayles

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Knight, Clark, Stolcers

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Liverpool 15 33
2 Arsenal 15 29
3 Leeds United 15 28
4 Newcastle United 15 27
5 Manchester United 16 24
6 Chelsea 16 24
7 Aston Villa 16 24
8 Tottenham Hotspur 16 24
9 Fulham 16 23
10 Charlton Athletic 16 21
11 Everton 15 20
12 Bolton Wanderers 16 20
13 Sunderland 16 20
14 Blackburn Rovers 16 19
15 Middlesbrough 16 19
16 West Ham United 16 19
17 Southampton 15 13
18 Derby County 16 13
19 Leicester City 16 13
20 Ipswich Town 16 9
Liverpool (4-4-2)
  • 1Jerzy Dudek
  • 23Jamie Carragher
  • 4Sami Hyypiä
  • 16Stéphane Henchoz
  • 6John Arne Riise
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 8Steven Gerrard
  • Gary McAllister
  • 23Patrik Berger
  • 18Emile Heskey
  • 7Michael Owen
Substitutes
  • 12Chris Kirkland
  • 2Stephen Wright
  • Bernard Diomede
  • Jari Litmanen
  • Igor Biscan
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 10John Collins
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 15Barry Hayles
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 8Lee Clark
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 40Andrejs Stolcers