John Arne Riise

WATCH: Thierry Henry displays silky move at Gerrard charity match

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Today is a charity match put on by Steven Gerrard at Anfield, as Liverpool celebrates the 34-year-old’s 497 Premier League appearances and 681 appearances in all competitions.

Despite the day being marred slightly by his sending off in his last appearance after just 48 seconds against Manchester United last weekend, it was all about celebration for the 17-year Liverpool veteran.

Names like Jamie Carragher, John Arne Riise, Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba, Mario Balotelli, John Terry, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina all showed up to play in Gerrard’s honor. One man, Thierry Henry, felt the need to force his incredible skills back into our memory (like we forgot) and was wonderfully successful in doing so. As Team Gerrard moved forward, Henry faked a shot and toed a silky pass at the same time, to a wide-open Ryan Babel who…missed. But still!

The match is currently 2-2 between Team Gerrard and Team Carragher, with Gerrard scoring his team’s first goal (a penalty) to cap off an entertaining and celebratory day.

Also, some decided to use Henry and Gerrard sharing the same team as a reason to break this one out of the archive. Cruel:

Fulham 2-2 Hull City: Cottagers let two-goal lead slip (video)

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Fulham squandered a 2-0 lead at Craven Cottage on Saturday, as Hull City scored twice in the final 15 minutes to break the Cottagers’ hearts.

A lackluster first half saw both sides go in level at the break, then Fulham raced into a 2-0 lead in sensational fashion. First Ashkan Dejagah cut in from the right and curled home a beauty to make it 1-0, then moments late a cross from the left was headed home by Fernando Amorebieta to give the Cottagers a 2-0 lead.

Hull were stunned but came flying back in the final stages with Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long both heading home after slack Fulham defending, to drive a dagger into the heart of the Craven Cottage faithful.

After letting two points slip Fulham are one point from safety with two games to go against Stoke City and Crystal Palace, while Hull took another step towards safety by sealing a dramatic late point.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

John Arne Riise had an early effort from the edge of the box, as Huge Rodallega controlled well before laying it off to the Norwegian, who shot just wide with a low drive. Rodallega then missed a glorious chance to give Fulham the lead as a cross from the left saw the Colombian unmarked from close range but he somehow missed ball completely.

source: Getty Images
Hull fought back to give Fulham that sinking feeling after giving up a 2-0 lead.

The game was a nervy affair for much of the first half, as the home fans knew how important a win would be in their fight against relegation. Hull City felt aggrieved before the break as Shane Long went down in the box but no penalty was given by referee Lee Mason.

At half time Magath made two vital changes as Dejagah and Kieran Richardson came off the bench and that sparked the game into life in sensational fashion. First Dejagah cut inside from the right flank after a good advantage was played by the ref and the Iranian winger curled a sumptuous left-footed effort into the far corner to put Fulham 1-0 up in the 55th minute. Three minutes later it was 2-0 to the home side, as the other half time substitute Richardson picked the ball up on the left flank and delivered a wonderful cross that was met with an equally fantastic header by Amorebieta.

Hull were shell-shocked by conceding two goals in three minutes, as the home fans at Craven Cottage got right behind their side and sensed a vital win was within touching distance.

Yet with 15 minutes to go Hull were handed a lifeline, as a clearance from Fulham’s Sasha Riether looped high into the air, hit his own crossbar and Jelavic was on hand to head home and make it 2-1. Moments later Hull were almost level as Sone Aluko took a shot from outside the box which took a huge deflection and crashed onto the bar and out as David Stockdale was rooted to the spot. Elmohamady then had a shot turned onto the post by Stockkdale as Hull went for broke. Fulham should’ve gone 3-1 up as Rodallega played in Dejagah who saw his shot well saved by Harper and then Darren Bent took too long to try and tuck home the rebound.

That missed proved costly as with three minutes left Long was left unmarked at the back post to head home a damaging equalizer, as Fulham missed a glorious chance to climb out of the drop zone.

LINEUPS

Fulham: Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise (Richardson, 45′); Riether, Parker, Sidwell (Bent, 53′), Diarra, Holtby (Dejagah, 45′); Rodallega

Goals: Dejagah (55′), Amorebieta (58′)

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior (Boyd, 82′), Bruce (Aluko, 67′), Chester, Davies, Meyler (Sagbo, 82′), Huddlestone, Livermore, Jelavic, Long, Elmohamady

Goals: Jelavic (75′), Long (87′)

Watch Live: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham (Lineups and Discuss)

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After winning their last two matches, it seems survival might indeed be possible for Fulham – but a big win over Spurs at White Hart Lane could very well punch their ticket to the 2014/2015 Premier League (Watch live at 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Just a few weeks ago, it looked as though Fulham were headed for the Championship, sitting dead last and playing woefully. But six points from their last two matches puts the Cottagers just two points from safety. With their remaining fixtures against Hull City, Stoke and Crystal Palace, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Fulham manage to survive.

(READ MORE: PREVIEWING TOTTENHAM VS. FULHAM)

Nor is three points against Tottenham all that unimaginable. Spurs are one of the most unpredictable sides in England at the moment. They’re able to lose dramatically (4-0 to both Liverpool and Chelsea), win emphatically (5-1 over Sunderland) and come back to rescue a point (last week’s 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion). Spurs, too, still have a fight on their hands – fourth looks unlikely, being seven points back, but now they need to keep ahold of the final Europa League place.

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Tim Sherwood, usually so fond of making sweeping changes to his lineups, has made just one alteration from last week’s comeback against West Brom. Zeki Fryers replaces Vlad Chiriches, a change made at halftime last weekend. Sherwood keeps Emmanuel Adebayor up top, despite his missing a penalty last time out, and young Harry Kane remains alongside.

Somewhat surprisingly, Felix Magath is mixing things up, making five changes to last week’s winning side. Obviously one change is enforced: Lewis Holtby cannot play against his parent club, so Alex Kačaniklić steps in. So too do Ashkan Dejagah, John Arne Riise, William Kvist and Scott Parker.

LINEUPS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Fryers, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane

Subs: Friedel, Chiriches, Bentaleb, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Soldado

Fulham: Stockdale; Heitinga, Amorebieta, Hangeland, Riise; Kvist, Sidwell, Parker; Dejagah, Rodallega, Kačaniklić

Subs: Stekelenburg, Karagounis, Kasami, Zverotić, Roberts, Woodrow, Bent

Fulham 1-3 Everton: Subs the story as Everton outclasses spirited Fulham (video)

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Despite a spirited battle by relegation-threatened Fulham, a pair of Roberto Martinez substitutes bagged goals as the Toffees showed too much quality for the Whites who despite their strong effort were less than solid in front of goal.

Steven Naismith, on for an injured Ross Barkley, put the shot on net that resulted in Everton’s first, and Kevin Mirallas hit the winner with under 15 minutes to go on a feed from Aidan McGeady – both substitutes.

Naismith then sealed the winner to ensure his name would appear on the scoresheet.

Ashkan Dejagah, also a replacement for the Whites, hit Fulham’s equalizer that gave them hope but ultimately it wasn’t enough.

The goalkeepers both starred as well, with Tim Howard putting on a highlight-reel performance, and Stockdale’s own goal the only blight on his otherwise stellar tally for the day.

Fulham were by far the brighter side in the first half, but could not muster a goal.  Young Moussa Dembele, just 17 years old, was a breath of fresh air at the front of the hosts’s attack, finding teammates with ease in the final third.

The best pass from Dembele came in the 23rd minute, when the Frenchman laid off to a streaking Kieran Richardson, but his low, powerful shot was stopped expertly by a foot save from Howard.

However, the youngster also bungled a few chances of his own, firing well over with space at the top of the box, and also finding himself a free header at the end of a long ball from Lewis Holtby but he put the ball directly at Howard.

Dembele wasn’t alone in his shooting misfortunes, and despite the home side clearly the more incisive in the first half, they were dismal in front of net. Holtby came closest, with a header of his own also producing a wonderful save from Howard to palm over on 27 minutes.

Pacey winger Pajtim Kasami found himself in a great position to find a waiting Dembele but instead tried to take it himself and was dispossessed.  The first half also saw John Arne Riise launch one over, as did

Despite their failure to put the ball in the back of the net, Fulham dominated Everton on the ball in the first half with pinpoint tackling and good runs. The home side completed 17 of 23 tackles in the first 45 minutes, and completed 4 of 11 crosses.

However, with the Whites failing to score in the first half despite their positivity, the writing may have been on the wall.  Everton made them pay for their wastefulness just six minutes after the break, when a corner fell to the feet of Steven Naismith.  His shot wasn’t convincing, but with goalkeeper David Stockdale on the ground the ball took a deflection off William Kvist and then clamored off Stockdale’s foot into the back of the net.

But Fulham were not deterred. The game maintained a back-and-forth nature with both managers making quality changes. Naismith came on for an injured Ross Barkley at halftime and had his obvious immediate impact, and Felix Magath after the goal made a double attacking change akin to their dire table situation.

Magath’s substitutions paid off almost immediately, as Dejagah cut back inside from the left flank, leaving poor Sylvain Distin in pieces on the pitch before striking a worldly into the top corner just seven minutes after coming on.

But the hope instilled from Dejagah’s goal wouldn’t last long.  Everton pushed hard to restore their lead, and with a new organization about the side and their quality restored, it was too much for Fulham to hold out.

A break from substitute Aidan McGeady slotted through fellow sub Kevin Mirallas who put the ball into the back of the net 13 minutes from full time, and a controversial third from Naismith in the final minutes left Everton well ahead.

The win for the Toffees moves them within four of Arsenal in the final Champions League position, and the two clubs will meet in a massive showdown next weekend.  Meanwhile, Fulham again are left with nothing, and with Crystal Palace beating Chelsea earlier in the week, things look exceptionally bleak at the bottom.

LINEUPS:

Fulham – Stockdale; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Riise; Holtby, Kvist (Woodrow 64′), Sidwell, Richardson (Dejagah 64′); Kasami, Dembèlè (Roberts 81′).

Goals – Dejagah 71′

Everton – Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu (Mirallas 68′), Barkley (Naismith 45′), Osman (McGeady 77′); Lukaku.

Goals – Stockdale (og) 51′, Mirallas 79′, Naismith 87′

Magath: Fulham can avoid relegation

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After losing 3-1 to Cardiff City on Saturday, Fulham remain dead last in the Premier League table. The Cottagers are currently four points from safety, although West Brom have a game in hand, while Sunderland, in 19th, have three games to make up.

Yet Felix Magath, who has now presided over one draw and two losses, remains confident that Fulham will avoid the drop. When asked if his side can still avoid relegation, the manager responded with a simple “yes.”

Magath continued: “We have got nine games and 27 points to play for which is a lot but in our situation. We have to win our home games like Cardiff have done today.” He went on to say, “The only thing that can help us (confidence wise) is a win next week against Newcastle. We will work in defending better.”

Considering Fulham has the worst defense in the league, having conceded 65 goals in 29 matches, tightening up in the back would be a start. But can the Cottagers really reach safety this season?

In addition to Newcastle next week, Fulham face Manchester City, Everton, and Tottenham in their last nine games. They will have to travel to the Britannia, where Stoke have lost just twice this season. It’s difficult to see them collecting enough points to survive. Particularly when others at the bottom of the table – Sunderland, Crystal Palace – are showing plenty of improvement. Unless the Cottagers have some sort of revelation, it’s difficult to see them collecting more than four or five points from their final run-in.

But nothing Fulham has tried is seeming to work. Their expensive January signing, Kostas Mitroglou, failed to impress at Cardiff. Giving young Cauley Woodrow his first start was a nice touch from Magath, but he had little impact on the match. Ashkan Dejagah was dreadful. John Arne Riise shouldn’t have been on the pitch. And Sascha Riether, who put in an own goal, simply had a nightmare of a game.

It’s nice that Magath remains optimistic. But is it realistic?