Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard, a thorn in Liverpool’s side for so much of the match between the two sides on the weekend, always seemed destined to have the final say, off the field if not on it.
As Liverpool’s £50 million strikers, Robbie Keane and Fernando Torres, struggled to carve out chances against an impressively resilient Fulham, Bullard appeared the visitors’ best hope of an unlikely victory.
Bullard’s first-half strike, after good approach play from Bobby Zamora, forced a fine reflex save from Jose Reina, for example, but it was after the contest that the Fulham midfielder really let loose.
First, angered by what he viewed as an attack by Torres on his team-mate John Pantsil, Bullard vented his feelings at the Spanish striker on the final whistle, making a “yapping” gesture with his hand. Then Bullard, having played a key role in denying Liverpool their opportunity of moving two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, predicted that the London club would deny the Merseysiders in their quest to end a 19-year wait for the title.
“Who do I think will win the league? Chelsea, and I think they’ll do it comfortably this year,” said Bullard. “Liverpool do have an outstanding squad of individuals, it’s awesome. But sometimes it’s not about individual players, it’s about the team.
“They’re still up at the top and a very organised side. They made it hard to play but we were exceptional today and it might have looked a tad easier than usual because of that.” As for the verbal altercation with Torres, Bullard said: “I just felt he had butted John and I wasn’t happy that someone had done that to one of my team-mates. We’re not making a thing of it, it happens. But I wouldn’t have done it if that had been Duncan Ferguson – I’d have been nowhere near!”
Bullard’s irrepressible personality and good humour summed up the spirit in a Fulham side that came to Anfield with just one away point all season and having failed to win any of their previous 27 visits to the ground.