Premier League - Liverpool close in on top spot after dramatic win at Fulham

Premier League, Craven Cottage - Fulham 2 (Toure og 8, Richardson 63) Liverpool 3 (Sturridge 41, Coutinho 72, Gerrard pen 90)

Steven Gerrard’s penalty wrapped up all three points for Liverpool as they sneaked a 3-2 win over Fulham, still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

A ludicrous own goal from Kolo Toure put Fulham ahead after eight minutes, as he stuck out a leg in a vain attempt to clear, and succeeded only in slicing the ball over Simon Mignolet.

It was really no more than Fulham deserved, though; their attacking play in the first half was slick and incisive from the off, with Lewis Holtby, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Kieron Richardson all linking up well down the left.

Liverpool were relieved to equalise before half-time, with Steven Gerrard’s excellent pass picking out Daniel Sturridge, who slid the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg, off the post, and into the net.

Despite Liverpool returning to the field fired up for the second half, Kieran Richardson put the hosts back in front after 63 minutes, with a close-range shot after confusion between Martin Skrtel and Jon Flanagan in the box.

Then Philippe Coutinho brought Liverpool level again with a sharp shot from the edge of the area, albeit assisted by a deflection.

Fulham played the last 15 minutes with a substitute goalkeeper, David Stockdale, after Maarten Stekelenburg took a Luis Suarez boot to the face.

And it was Stockdale who faced Gerrard from the penalty spot in additional time after Sturridge had been brought down by Sascha Riether. Despite guessing the right way, he could only pick the ball out of the net as the Liverpool captain celebrated securing the win.

KEY MOMENTS

7' - GOAL! Kolo Toure flails wildly at a cross from Richardson and it's a goal to the home side.

10' - CHANCE! Another chance for Holtby who hits a fast, hard shot from distance, but wide of the post.

41' - GOAL! Tunnicliffe slips in the middle of the park, and Steven Gerrard plays Sturridge through, whose shot pings past Stekelenburg, off the post, and into the net.

51’ - CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL: Suarez takes the free kick he won himself, but it races across the face of goal and out of play at the far post.

63’ - GOAL: Kieran Richardson picks up the scraps. A deep cross in and terrible defending from Skrtel and Flanagan combines to leave Richardson happy to rifle in from close range.

72' - GOAL: And Coutinho puts Liverpool level again, albeit with a deflection from Heitinga on his shot from the edge of the area.

76' - OUCH: Stekelenburg has got a very nasty abrasion across the side of his face courtesy of a Luis Suarez boot, and he is unsurprisingly taken off and replaced by David Stockdale.

90' - PENALTY: Into the final minute and Liverpool have a chance to go ahead. Sturridge is brought down in the box by Riether.

90'+1 - GOAL: Steven Gerrard strikes past Stockdale, who goes the right way, and Liverpool are ahead for the first time in this match.

 KEY STATS

Kolo Toure helped Fulham to their quickest PL goal of the season – and quickest since Dimitar Berbatov’s eighth minute goal in their 3-2 home win v QPR on April 1st 2013. (Infostrada)

Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League away games. (Infostrada)

Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser means he has now scored in his last seven Premier League appearances – the first Liverpool player to do so, and the first Premier League player to achieve the feat since Emmanuel Adebayor did so for Arsenal in 2007-08. (Infostrada)

Fulham have lost 13 of their last 17 Premier League games at Craven Cottage (W3 D1 L13). (Infostrada_

TALKING POINT

Kolo Toure is not having a great time of it. His stray pass gifted West Brom an equaliser a week and a half ago, and tonight he put Fulham one up with that awful slice. Add to that the fact that he knocked referee Phil Dowd over, simply by not looking where he was running, and that adds up to a fairly disastrous evening.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY

MAN OF THE MATCH

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool): With goals in his last seven appearances, he always looked likely to add to his tally.

PLAYER RATINGS

Fulham: Stekelenburg 8,  Riether 7, Heitinga 7, Burn 7, Riise 7, Tunnicliffe 8, Sidwell 8, Kvist 7, Richardson 8, Holtby 8, Bent 7. Subs: Stockdale 6, Kacaniklic 6.

Liverpool: Mignolet 8, Flanagan 7, Cissokho 7, Toure 4, Skrtel 6, Gerrard 8, Henderson 7, Sterling 8, Coutinho 7, Suarez 8, Sturridge 8. Subs: Agger 6, Teixeira 7.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET