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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 16:54 GMT
Sava stuns Liverpool
Markus Babbel tackles Fulham's Steed Malbranque
Fulham ended a six-match winless run
Fulham 3-2 Liverpool

Liverpool spurned another chance to return to the top of the Premiership when they crashed to a shock defeat at Fulham.

Facundo Sava scored twice for Fulham but Sean Davis did just as much damage on his return from more than a month out with a fractured toe.

The England under-21 midfielder set up Sava's opening goal in only the fifth minute and scored the second himself six minutes before half-time.

  Key moments
5 mins: Sava gives Fulham the lead
38 mins: Davis doubles Fulham's advantage
62 mins: Hamann strikes for Liverpool
68 mins: Sava restores Fulham's two-goal lead
70 mins: Fulham's Goma is sent off
86 mins: Baros scores for Liverpool

With Steven Gerrard and Milan Baros on at the break, Liverpool got back in the game when Dietmar Hamann hammered in a 62nd-minute free-kick.

Sava struck for the second time six minutes later with a crisp shot from the edge of the box.

But with Fulham's Alain Goma sent off for a second bookable offence 20 minutes from time and Baros scoring for Liverpool in the 86th minute, the home team had to endure a frantic finale before claiming the points.

Liverpool had been chasing the game from within five minutes of the kick-off.

Goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek could only parry Davis' 30-yard shot and Sava was quickest to latch on to the loose ball.


We paid for the mistakes we made at the beginning of the game
Gerard Houllier
Liverpool manager

The Reds responded by dominating possession but created few clear-cut chances for their frontmen.

Fulham keeper Edwin van der Sar made two sharp saves from long-range efforts by Emile Heskey and John-Arne Riise before Michael Owen fired over the bar.

But Davis deepened Liverpool's gloom in the 38th minute when he scored with a 25-yarder that took a deflection on its way past the wrong-footed Dudek.

Reds boss Gerard Houllier sent on Gerrard and Baros to start the second half in place of Salif Diao and Markus Babbel.

Sean Davis celebrates his goal
Fulham had not won in Davis' absence
Baros wasted little time in getting involved and brought Van der Sar into action within a minute of the restart.

Liverpool continued pressing and were thrown a lifeline when Hamann thundered in an unstoppable free-kick from 30 yards.

Sava quickly restored Fulham's advantage by drilling home a left-foot shot from the edge of the box in the 68th minute.


This was a very important moment for us to get a result against one of the great teams
Fulham assistant manager Christan Damiano

But with Goma dismissed just a minute later for collecting a second yellow card when bringing down Michael Owen, Baros converted Riise's cross to set up a grandstand finish.

However, Fulham held on through four minutes of added time to end their six-match search for victory and ensure Liverpool could not take advantage of Arsenal's defeat at Southampton.


Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Knight, Goma, Brevett, Goldbaek (Clark 89), Davis, Djetou, Malbranque, Marlet, Sava (Inamoto 74).

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Wome, Stolcers.

Sent Off: Goma (70).

Booked: Goma.

Goals: Sava 5, Davis 38, Sava 68.

Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Hyypia, Babbel (Baros 45), Traore, Diao (Gerrard 45), Murphy, Hamann, Riise, Owen, Heskey (Smicer 77).

Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Cheyrou.

Goals: Hamann 62, Baros 86.

Attendance: 18,144.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"A fortnight to forget for Liverpool"
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"The third goal killed us"
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