LIVERPOOL suffered a damaging 3-1 defeat at Fulham after dominating the game but having defenders Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher sent off.
Manager Rafa Benitez will undoubtedly come under further scrutiny after substituting Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Yossi Benayoun, although the virus which ravaged the Reds squad could have been responsible for the changes.
Earlier, Torres had equalised a Bobby Zamora goal before Erik Nevland restored Fulham’s lead and Clint Dempsey sealed the points.
Liverpool's hopes of building on last week's success against Manchester United suffered a blow when Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio were all ruled out, joining Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson on the sidelines.
Liverpool might have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Dirk Kuyt supplied a curling cross from the right but Voronin made a mess of his header from only six yards when virtually unmarked.
The Reds attempted to push forward and while they enjoyed most of the possession they struggled to produce the high tempo and urgency they demonstrated against United last Sunday.
Yossi Benayoun did clip the Fulham crossbar when he caught a volley as sweet as you like.
But it was Fulham who took the lead after 24 minutes, Damien Duff sending a raking ball from the left across the Liverpool area for Bobby Zamora to smash the ball home from six yards.
Fulham looked tidy in possession and were growing in confidence with Zamora combining well with Duff in a move which saw Liverpool’s Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos produce a spectacular diving header to clear the danger.
But after 42 minutes Liverpool were level and unsurprisingly it was that man Torres.
There seemed little danger when a Voronin header came back off a defender but Torres swivelled to hit a fabulous volley from the edge of the box which scorched past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for the Spaniard’s 10th league goal of the season.
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson made a double substitution at half-time, bringing on Zoltan Gera for Diomansy Kamara and Erik Nevland for Damien Duff.
It was an attempt to push Liverpool back and stem the pounding and it had some success. In fact, Fulham might have re-taken the lead on the hour mark when Zamora fired over a cross and Gera swivelled and shot - but unfortunately straight at goalkeeper Reina.
A minute later Fulham believed they should have had a penalty when Jamie Carragher appeared to bring down Zamora. They looked to have a good case but referee Lee Mason, who to his credit was in the perfect position to see, waved away the appeals.
Fulham took the lead again after 74 minutes and once more it was against the run of play.
This time Paul Konchesky surged down the left hand side and Reina could only parry his cross. The ball was headed back across goal by Gera and there was Nevland to slide the ball into the net.
It got worse for Liverpool four minutes later when Swiss defender Philipp Degen was sent off for a reckless lunge on Clint Dempsey.
Incredibly three minutes later Liverpool were down to nine men when Jamie Carragher brought down Zamora and also received a red card before Dempsey made it 3-1 with a close-range finish.
Final score Fulham 3 – 1 (HT 1 – 1) Liverpool
Bookings Baird 54
Sent off Degen 79
Fulham's Percentage Liverpool's Percentage
Corners 2 50% 2 50%
Goal attempts 10 62% 6 38%
On target 6 66% 3 34%
Fouls 10 43% 13 57%
Offside 3 60% 2 40%
Fulham Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland, Paul Konchesky, John Paintsil, Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird, Jonathan Greening (Dickson Etuhu, 86), Damien Duff (Erik Nevland, 46), Clint Dempsey, Diomansy Kamara (Zoltan Gera, 46), Bobby Zamora
Liverpool Jose Manuel Reina, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Emiliano Insua, Philipp Degen, Jamie Carragher, Lucas Leiva, Javier Mascherano, Yossi Benayoun (Nathan Eccleston, 78), Dirk Kuyt (Daniel Sanchez Ayala, 85), Fernando Torres (Ryan Babel, 63), Andriy Voronin
Referee Mason, L
Venue Craven Cottage
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