LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Alexander Doni of Liverpool watches the ball in the back of the net after team mate Martin Skrtel scored an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield on May 1, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Fulham made a piece of history last night, at least in their own right. A Martin Skrtel own goal gifted Fulham their first ever win at Anfield and with three former Liverpool players in the Whites starting line-up, the result couldn't have been any more damning for a beleaguered Kenny Dalglish.
His side now find themselves level on points with Fulham - only a superior goal difference keeping them in eighth place - and in many ways the demise of this Merseyside club told more of a story than Fulham's victory here. That didn't stop the celebrations, however, and this day will go down in the SW6 records books for its prominence. We've done the double over Dalglish's side now and there's a distinct feeling that, under Martin Jol, we can well and truly mix with the best, for this was a fine performance in both class and resilience.
Alex Kacaniklic was the main selection surprise here, starting on the left side of a four man midfield and it was him that seemingly got Fulham off to the most perfect of starts. Billy McKinlay and Michael Lindeman were the coaches looking on from the sidelines, again, as Jol stayed in London with a chest infection, and they were both celebrating within five minutes. Some fine footwork from Clint Dempsey opened up some space on the left for John Arne Riise, whose drilled cross met Kacaniklic. He hit the ball well but if took a vast deflection off of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel and Fulham now had something to defend.
This was unfortunately obvious at stages in the game, with McKinlay ensuring players were behind the ball and the defence was suitably organised, but that didn't stop the away side from venturing into Red territory. Dempsey released Kacanaklic again but this time a well-timed volley was saved by an energetic Doni. He put in a fine performance as Pepe Reina continues his ban.
Liverpool got their foothold before long, however, and Brede Hangeland had to spare some Fulham blushes twice in quick succession. Mark Schwarzer had been left floored by Andy Carroll and the Norweigan's defensive instincts were to leap to the line - where he twice blocked goal bound efforts.
Carroll was undoubtedly the biggest thorn in Fulham's side and the former Newcastle striker was brimming with confidence. He headed back after a corner towards Maxi Rodriguez but the Argentine's connection was lacking.
Dalglish was irked by his side's first half performance and sought to change things with immediate affect. He replaced a lackluster Jordan Henderson with Stewart Downing but in truth, they never seemed too threatening.
Liverpool sporadically pressed but Fulham had the better chances of the closing stages with Kerim Frei hitting the post and Clint Dempsey forcing another good save from Doni. In that sense, Fulham didn't really hold on but the final whistle was still a relief.
It wasn't necessarily a game for the neutrals but Fulham displayed that victory is possible against the league's better sides with a passing game plucked from the finer elements of football. Jol will be proud and only saddened by his non-attendance on this momentous day for the Whites.
Where next for Fulham?