A Fantastic Win
Stephen Kelly hailed “a fantastic win” on Monday night after Fulham defeated on-form Liverpool 1-0 at Craven Cottage.
In a thrilling, all-action, end-to-end contest, the Whites found the breakthrough that their visitors could not and defended resolutely at the other end to thwart and frustrate the dangerous Reds attack to secure a valuable three points.
“It was a fantastic win and one we needed, plus we’re delighted to have kept a clean sheet, thanks in no small part to Schwarzy who pulled off a few great saves and kept us in it at times,” enthused the right-back. “But we created a lot of chances ourselves and as soon as they had a man sent off, it tipped in our favour.
“It was a good result that’s really boosted us - a good performance that hopefully we can build upon now.”
Entering the game, some sections of the media were dismissive of Fulham’s chances, taking the two clubs’ recent results as the only indicator of a likely outcome. But, as the Republic of Ireland international was quick to point out, his team’s performances have warranted a result like this for some time.
“It’s been coming,” he said. “Throughout the season we’ve played well and not got results. Against Man City we played well, Blackburn at home, Everton, against Tottenham in the second-half... There’ve been games when we’ve performed to a high level and just not got the result, but today one turned in our favour.
“It’s not often that a ‘keeper like Reina spills a ball like that and luckily enough Clint was there to pounce on the opportunity, which was the little bit of luck we needed.”
However, few could reasonably describe this result as fortuitous, as Fulham created their own luck, attacking with purpose and forcing Pepe Reina into a succession of world class saves before eventually finding the net through Dempsey.
“We had a lot of chances in the game, from early on when Mousa had a one-on-one with the ‘keeper and at the same time I thought we were limiting them to shots from distance and set pieces,” Kelly assessed.
“Apart from that, from open play there wasn’t a major amount of opportunities created by them. Plus every time we went forward we looked dangerous – like we would create an opportunity: Mousa’s dribbling, Bobby’s hold-up play, Clint’s link-up work... And the same goes for Bryan who is looking fitter and getting more involved. So I think we looked solid from the back and, attacking-wise, we looked dangerous as well.”
Kelly and his fellow defenders were particularly worthy of praise after a brave display that saw them throw their bodies on the line on numerous occasions to deny the advances of the lively Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy.
“We were just trying to block stuff,” said Kelly matter-of-factly. “With the quality they have, they will get their shots on target, so that was something we knew we had to be aware of and keep to a minimum.
“Thankfully the ones that did get through, Schwarz was able to give us a helping hand with, but the rest of the time we just tried to stay focused and make those blocks – that was our main contribution to the result.”
The result, and indeed performance, will have come as a timely boost to Martin Jol’s side at the start of a busy December of big fixtures, including games against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
“It certainly gives us the confidence that we can go out and get results against teams that are expected to be in the top four, which sets us up well going into the Christmas period,” the defender concurred.
But before those games comes Saturday’s trip to the Liberty Stadium where newly promoted Swansea have lost just once so far this season.
“They’re a very good attacking side and you have to give them credit for their results so far this season, but after today we can go there with confidence,” previewed Stephen. “Even against Twente we played well, so if we go there with a positive attitude and belief on the back of this result then I don’t see why we can’t get a win away from home.”
Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/December/StephenKellyLiverpoolReview.aspx?#ixzz1flJz21Eq