Liverpool Slips to First Home Loss Against Fulham Before Final

Martin Skrtel’s own goal gave Fulham its first win at Anfield as Liverpool slumped to its fourth home defeat of the Premier League soccer season four days before the F.A. Cup final.

Liverpool, which rested players including captain Steven Gerrard in preparation for the May 5 final against Chelsea, couldn’t recover last night after Skrtel turned the ball into his own net in the fifth minute.

“Our attitude wasn’t right, and if you go in with a bad attitude you’re going to get a bad performance,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who made nine team changes, told his club’s website. “I’m culpable as well because I changed the players to try and give everybody an opportunity to get in the frame for Saturday.”

Liverpool’s loss allowed Everton, which drew 1-1 at Stoke in last night’s other game, to move three points clear of its city rival in seventh place with two games remaining. Everton has finished above Liverpool only once in the Premier League, in 2004-05.

Fulham’s win, which secured its first sweep of league victories over Liverpool, lifted it to 49 points in ninth place, behind Liverpool on goal difference. The Reds last finished outside the top eight in English soccer’s top division when they were relegated in 1954.

Everton also benefited from an own goal last night when Peter Crouch deflected Tony Hibbert’s cross past his own goalkeeper in the 44th minute. Stoke substitute Cameron Jerome scored two minutes after entering the game in the second half to tie the match at the Britannia Stadium.

The teams occupying positions four to six are in action tonight as Chelsea hosts Newcastle and fourth-place Tottenham visits Bolton, which is in the relegation zone.

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