Liverpool conjured up a remarkable second-half comeback at Craven Cottage roaring back from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 4-2 this afternoon.
Rafa Benitez side looked in serious trouble when two goals in the space of six minutes from the excellent Luis Boa Morte established a two-goal cushion for Chris Coleman’s men, but the introduction of Xabi Alonso as a half-time substitute changed the complexion of the contest. The Spanish midfielder underlined why Benitez spent £10m to lure him from Real Sociedad by setting up Liverpool’s equaliser and then firing in a fine free kick to put the visitors ahead for the first time. Igor Biscan smashed in a late fourth to complete Fulham’s misery as an afternoon that had looked so promising ended in an unbelievable defeat.
Liverpool had begun brightly but were stunned when Boa Morte seized on a dreadful error from Salif Diao to guide home Brian McBride’s cross. The Portuguese winger was at it again six minutes later outrunning Sammi Hyypia to hammer McBride’s clever flick past Chris Kirkland in the Liverpool goal.
Benitez rung the changes at half time but Liverpool still needed a slice of luck to get back into the contest. Milan Baros’ cross looped off Zat Knight and over a stranded van der Sar. Fulham successfully kept their visitors at bay until twenty minutes from time when Baros followed up to equalise after van der Sar had parried a diving header from Luis Garcia.
A second yellow card for Liverpool full back Josemi put their fightback under question with a quarter of an hour to go but Liverpool made late of their numerical advantage as Alonso’s free-kick, which nicked off the wall, and Biscan’s stoppage-time strike saw them end a topsy-turvy afternoon very much in the ascendancy.
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Volz, Green, Knight, Bocanegra; Diop, Pembridge, Malbranque; Radzinski (John 75), Boa Morte, McBride. Subs (not used): Crossley, Rehman, McKinlay, Jensen.
GOALS: Boa Morte (24, 30).
LIVERPOOL (4-4-2): Kirkland; Josemi, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore; Hamann, Diao (Alonso 45), Luis Garcia (Warnock 88), Riise; Baros (Biscan 90), Ciise. Subs (not used): Dudek, Sinama-Pongolle.
BOOKED: Josemi, Luis Garcia, Traore.
SENT OFF: Josemi.
GOALS: Knight (o.g. 50), Baros (71), Alonso (79), Biscan (90).
REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Kent).