Saturday 17 April 2004, 3:00pm at Anfield, Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
Liverpool
Liverpool
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham put in a perfect defensive shift to hold Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield and take a point back to London.

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Milan Baros
Off:Bruno Cheyrou

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:El Hadji Diouf
Off:Harry Kewell

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Emile Heskey
Off:Vladimir Smicer

49' Yellow Card

Carlos Bocanegra Card was given for a foul

51' Yellow Card

Collins John Card was given for a foul

72' Yellow Card

Alain Goma Card was given for a foul

74' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Collins John

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Junichi Inamoto
Off:Carlos Bocanegra

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zesh Rehman
Off:Bobby Petta

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Steven Gerrard does not deserve to be branded as the player who cost Liverpool their Champions League dream.

He has worked incredibly hard for the Anfield men now for months as Liverpool's terrible season has unfolded. But his missed spot kick early in the second half - Michael Owen clearly not keen on the duties anymore - will go down as one of the darkest moments of his and Liverpool's season. 

It was the one lifeline they should not have spurned as the battled to overcome a defiant Fulham who stopped Gerard Houllier's men in their tracks much the same way as Charlton had done on Easter Monday. 

It has left Liverpool with just one point from their last three games and Anfield gripped in misery and condemnation. The fans were so stunned at the end they could barely raise a voice to boo off a team who may now have gifted fourth spot to Newcastle. 

However hard Liverpool tried, and they were at least better than they were against Charlton, they just could not breakthrough and Fulham had the likes of Ian Pearce and Alain Goma to thank for much of their defiance. 

Vladimir Smicer and Bruno Cheyrou came in for El-Hadji Diouf and Emile Heskey, Houllier's attempt to improve the invention and passing quality after the Charlton disaster on Easter Monday. 

Twice in the opening minutes Steed Malbranque created space for Collins John, the youngster's pace exposing Stephane Henchoz and Sami Hyypia, and seeds ofdoubt spread around the stadium like wildfire. Smicer had a long range effort and a six yard box effort charged down, while Owen almost took advantage of a Gerrard pass in the box and a 20 yarder that flashed wide.  

Dietmar Hamann also fired wide, but Liverpool's work waspredictable and unsure. The game quickly became a carbon copy of the Charlton match.  Fulham sat deep, looking to catch Liverpool on the break while the home side toiled and fretted,searching for a way through. 

One of those Fulham breaks saw Moritz Volz get away, and his edge of the box effort deflected onto the bar by Hyypia. Cheyrou's wanderings frequently left Owen on his own against three defenders, Ian Pearce, Alain Goma and Carlos Bocanegra, and when his runs were spotted the delivery was just not good enough. 

Fulham were unfortunate not to take the lead twice before the break.  

First when Luis Boa Morte turned Hyypia and blazed in a 25 yarder that Jerzy Dudek initially looked like he was shaping to catch, but it clearly moved in the air and the Polish 'keeper opted to deflect it over the bar. Malbranque then broke on the right, found John unmarked and Liverpool had to thank Dudek for a point blank save and then John Arne Riise for getting in the way of John's follow up on the line. 

Liverpool then wasted a lifeline four minutes into the second half.  Bocanegra was penalised for fouling Cheyrou, and then booked for kicking the ball away, the free kick being moved 10 yards nearer the box by referee Steve Bennett. When Gerrard's free kick fizzed into the box it was hacked clear, and, in Bennett's eyes, then handled by Bobby Petta just inside the box.  Bennett pointed to the spot and up stepped Gerrard to take the kick. 

But Gerrard's low drive was saved by Van Der Sar and hacked away from Liverpool skipper's toes as he tried to make amends. 

John was booked in the resulting turmoil for more dissent. On the hour Cheyrou was hauled off to allow Milan Baros into the front line alongside Owen. Gerrard's next corner caused chaos in the box and Harry Kewell's close range hook was deflected for another corner as Liverpool started to fight for their lives, belatedly. 

Baros' pace and running caused immediate problems and he won another corner.  

The ball was cleared to Jamie Carragher and his misplaced drive went straight to Kewell, who saw his effort crack into the near post. Goma was the next booked for dissent on 72 minutes before Fulham brought on ex-Everton striker Brian McBride and Junichi Inamoto for John and Bocanegra while Liverpool sent on Diouf and Heskey for Smicer and Kewell, Houllier searching desperately now for some sort of inspiration up front. 

By now it was Gerrard inspiring a barrage.  

He sent Baros charging away with a 30 yard pass, and the young Czech laid the ball back for Owen, whose eight yarder was deflected wide by a desperate Volz block. Pearce blocked a Heskey hook right on the post, amid more appeals for a penalty for hand ball. Malbranque got away on the left and created a chance for Petta, who managed to hook over from six yards. 

Baros had another effort blocked by Pearce and Riise fired over from 20 yards, but Liverpool could not force a winner.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 17 April 2004
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Attendance: 42,042

Referee: Steve Bennett

Liverpool

Line-up: Dudek; Carragher, Hyypiä, Henchoz, John Arne Riise; Smicer (Heskey 76'), Gerrard, Hamann, Kewell (Diouf 76'); Cheyrou (Baros 60'); Owen

Unused substitutes: Luzi, Murphy

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Pearce, Goma, Bocanegra (Inamoto 77'); Malbranque, Djetou, Legwinski, Petta (Rehman 89'); Boa Morte; John (McBride 74')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Hayles

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 33 81
2 Chelsea 34 72
3 Manchester United 33 68
4 Liverpool 34 50
5 Newcastle United 32 49
6 Aston Villa 33 48
7 Charlton Athletic 33 48
8 Birmingham City 34 47
9 Southampton 33 45
10 Fulham 34 45
11 Middlesbrough 34 45
12 Bolton Wanderers 34 44
13 Everton 34 39
14 Tottenham Hotspur 34 38
15 Blackburn Rovers 34 37
16 Portsmouth 33 37
17 Manchester City 34 34
18 Leeds United 34 32
19 Leicester City 34 28
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 28
Liverpool (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Jerzy Dudek
  • 23Jamie Carragher
  • 4Sami Hyypiä
  • 16Stéphane Henchoz
  • 6John Arne Riise
  • Vladimir Smicer
  • 8Steven Gerrard
  • 21Dietmar Hamann
  • 7Harry Kewell
  • 28Bruno Cheyrou
  • 7Michael Owen
Substitutes
  • Patrice Luzi
  • 9El Hadji Diouf
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 9Milan Baros
  • 18Emile Heskey
Fulham (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 17Collins John
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 28Zesh Rehman
  • 8Brian McBride
  • 15Barry Hayles