Liverpool 2 Fulham 0

Last updated : 12 April 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Fulham's trip to Anfield looked set to pose problems for the Reds before a ball had been kicked after midfield creator Danny Murphy pulled out of the squad at the 11th hour with a neck strain.

Liverpool were seeking to make amends and had the ball in the back of the net as early as the fourth minute when Michael Owen was adjudged to be offside after finishing Emile Heskey's knockdown.

Fulham's inconsistent striker Louis Saha posed an early threat to the Liverpool defence. In the 13th minute he linked well with Steve Marlet before firing a shot low into the arms of Jerzy Dudek.

But Liverpool were creating the better chances as they started to get a foothold in the match.

Steven Gerrard had a penalty appeal turned down on 17 minutes after Sylvain Legwinski's foul just outside the box and Fulham keeper Maik Taylor pulled off a fantastic save minutes later after blocking a trademark Owen run and shot.

But Liverpool were rewarded for their dominance on 35 minutes when Heskey turned in a Vladimir Smicer header from five yards.

Liverpool continued to press for a second after the break and Owen missed a glaring chance on 58 minutes scuffing his shot tamely into the arms of Taylor.

But seconds later the irrepressible striker latched ion to a throughball from Smicer to calmly slot home Liverpool's second.

Liverpool created more chances and were it not for Taylor's outstanding performance it could have been embarrassing.

Milan Baros sprinted down the right and whipped in a delightful cross for Owen who should have done better with his header.

As Fulham pressed for something out of the game Saha was the only player in a white shirt capable of scoring.

His best chance came on 80 minutes when he fired a curling left-foot shot against the bar with Dudek well beaten.

However, Liverpool looked a cut above the mediocre London side and held on to heap more woe on to the doomed manager Jean Tigana.