Liverpool FC Player Ratings, Fulham 1-0 Liverpool, 5 December 2011

Tell us how you really feel, Luis. Photograph: Javier Garcia/Javier Garcia / BPI

Liverpool were mugged yesterday on a bitterly cold night on the Thames by referee Kevin Friend, their own profligacy in front of goal, and an opportunistic strike by that part-time rapper from Nacogdoches, Texas, Clint Dempsey. Championship-winning teams have enough ability and self-belief to offset refereeing injustices and goalkeeping mistakes; Liverpool last had this quality about them in April of 2009 and we haven’t seen the faintest hint of it in nearly thirty months. To be fair, the referee had about six major decisions to make and each time (whether rightly or wrongly, mostly wrongly) he came down on the side of Fulham. Consistent refereeing would have seen Fulham down to ten men for Dempsey’s absurd headbutting, then down to nine for repeated cynical tackles by Phillipe Senderos. On the balance of play it can be argued that Fulham deserved a point for a well-organized display that required the full attention of the usually magnificent Pepe Reina, but the additional two they won were a gift from the man in black.

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