Fulham frustrate Liverpool
There was no 100th goal for Michael Owen at Anfield as Fulham held on to take a deserved draw and rob Liverpool of the chance to extend their Premiership lead to six points.
Liverpool will see the result as two points dropped, even though it does edge them one point further ahead of second-placed Arsenal.
It was a frustrating night for us all, and in particular Michael Owen
Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson
Liverpool hit the woodwork twice and were foiled by an inspired Edwin van der Sar in the Fulham goal as they failed to register a goal in a league match for the first time this season.
Fulham had never won in 21 League and Cup visits to Anfield and that history perhaps explained their cautious approach to the game.
It was evident that Jean Tigana's side were intent on stifling their hosts and leaving Anfield with at least a point, if not a first victory.
Yet even without too much attacking commitment on display they still managed to create the best of the early chances.
It is a big scalp for us because they have been scoring a lot of goals lately
Fulham manager Jean Tigana
Steven Gerrard made two last-ditch saving tackles in the penalty area as Fulham threatened.
First, Luis Boa Morte and then Barry Hayles were stopped in their tracks as the England midfielder slid in to prevent a shooting opportunity.
Louis Saha and John Collins efforts failed to really test Jerzy Dudek and Steed Malbranque blazed over the bar.
On the half-hour Owen had the first of a hat-trick of first-half attempts on goal.
He swivelled away from his marker in the area but hit his left-foot shot into the hands of Van der Sar.
His frustration continued as two further chances also went unconverted.
The best of the pair came five minutes before the interval when the industrious Danny Murphy split the defence with a precise through-ball.
Owen's pace took him clear but Van der Sar was again equal to his effort.
Free-kicks from the boot of Gary McAllister provided chances for Gerrard and Murphy either side of the interval as Liverpool began to take charge of proceedings.
Gerrard's glancing backwards header hit the post, and Murphy also firmly nodded onto the upright.
In between, Van der Sar produced a superb save at full stretch to tip Gerrard's lob-volley over the bar.
Fulham were increasingly relying on the counter-attack as they found themselves pinned back.
Boa Morte skipped past the Liverpool defence in a rare venture forward for Fulham, but he screwed his shot wide of the post.
Liverpool poured forward but could not break down a resolute Fulham defence, whose hard work deserved a clean sheet and a share of the points.
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