Liverpool move up to seventh after edging Fulham at Anfield
John Pantsil's own-goal sees Liverpool claim three vital points in their quest European football
John Pantsil played the role of Villain for Fulham at Anfield on Wednesday night as he turned the ball in to his own net to gift Liverpool a valuable three points in their pursuit of European football.
Early in the second-half Clint Dempsey gifted the ball to Fernando Torres, who fired a shot from just inside the area which struck the post before bouncing back into the box where Pantsil scuffed his clearance into the back of his own net.
Liverpool may have felt they should have had the lead early in the first half when Torres latched on to a well-placed pass from Raul Meireles before slotting it past stand-in keeper David Stockdale only to find he had been wrongly adjudged to be offside.
The Reds continued to put pressure on the visitors, with a header from the in-form Meireles forcing a brilliant save from Stockdale before the 25-year-old goalkeeper stopped efforts from both returning Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard and full-back Glen Johnson.
Fulham also threatened in the first period, with Dempsey seeing his driven shot saved by Pepe Reina before Andy Johnson played the ball into Moussa Dembele, who fired his effort straight at the Liverpool goalkeeper from point-blank range.
In the second half the home side came out strong in the build-up to the goal, but after Pantsil turned it into his own net Fulham began to put pressure on their hosts, pushing forward and looking to test a seemingly nervous Liverpool back line.
Young right-back Martin Kelly was beaten down the wing on a number of occasions while centre-backs Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger both made silly mistakes in and around the box to further increase the pressure on the home side.
Brede Hangeland saw his header cleared off the line by Meireles whilst Dembele once again was denied by Reina in the dying seconds to ensure Liverpool walked away with all three points after a shaky final 10 minutes.
Speaking after the game, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said: “I think that type of victory we got tonight has been a long time coming because we worked hard, we got a little bit of good fortune.
“We had some bad luck as well. Fernando’s goal was onside but we never got it, so we just kept going and I’m delighted with the way the players have gone about their work.
“But we’re not getting carried away with the fact that we’re seventh. That’s not where this football club wants to be.
“We want to be further up but to do that we’ve got to win more games and that’s what we’ll try and achieve, starting with Stoke next Wednesday.”