EPL: Great comeback, but...

Liverpool's Kolo Toure (C) scores an own goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London February 12, 2014.

FULHAM 2 (Kolo Toure 8-og, Kieran Richardson 63)

LIVERPOOL 3 (Daniel Sturridge 41, Philippe Coutinho 72, Steven Gerrard 90+1-pen)

The feel-good factor at Anfield just went into overdrive.

Twice, Liverpool trailed at Craven Cottage yesterday morning (Singapore time) but, on both occasions, they rallied to equalise, and eventually snatched a dramatic injury-time winner through a Steven Gerrard penalty.

As the skipper took off his jersey and twirled it in the air, Liverpool fans saw a glimmer of hope in the title race.

The Reds have yet to taste defeat in all competitions in 2014.

Just four points separate them from leaders Chelsea, while Arsenal and Manchester City (who have played a game less) are three points and one point ahead respectively.

Their goal difference of 34 is bettered only by third-placed City, who are on 41.

The signs are looking good for Brendan Rodgers' men. The goals are still flowing. Daniel Sturridge has scored in his last eight games.

Although Luis Suarez didn't find the net against Fulham, the Uruguayan - top scorer in the Premiership with 23 goals - clocked yet another solid performance for the club.

But, if there's a chink in the Reds' armour, it's the worrying frailties in defence.

Chronic problems persist in Liverpool's defence that can potentially dash hopes of a first league trophy since 1990.

Fulham shouldn't even have been ahead, let alone twice.

The central-defence pairing of Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel almost looked like an accident waiting to happen.

ERRORS

As it turned out, it was through their individual errors that Liverpool conceded the goals.

The early setback could have cost them dear.

When Kieran Richardson's cross came bobbling into the six-yard box, it packed neither power nor accuracy.

Yet, Toure lost his balance, and somehow sliced the ball towards the opposite direction and into his own net to extend his miserable patch of form.

About two weeks ago, the 32-year-old's mistake - a misplaced pass along the edge of his own penalty box - resulted in West Bromwich Albion's equaliser in a game that ended 1-1.

Skrtel came in for much criticism as well for Fulham's second goal.

The Slovak, 29, chose to acrobatically deal with a cross into the penalty box with his preferred right foot, but the trajectory of the ball meant that he was always going to clear the ball straight to Richardson.

And the former Manchester United man duly obliged with an easy close-range finish to put the hosts in front again.

The abject defensive showing was not a one-off, but a problem that has plagued the team for most of this season (see sidebar).

With 32 goals conceded in 26 league outings, the Reds have the joint-worst defensive record, along with Tottenham Hotspur, among the top-eight teams.

Even Hull City and Southampton have let in fewer goals.

The easy option is to change the personnel but Liverpool manager Rodgers does not have much luxury in this department.

Mamadou Sakho has struggled to impress since he arrived at the start of this season and is injured anyway.

The good news is that Daniel Agger returned to training a few days ago and came off the bench in London.

The first-choice Agger-Skrtel combination, which has six years of experience, should restore some confidence at the back.

But, until the Dane is match-fit, Rodgers must keep his fingers crossed that the opponents are too busy coping with Liverpool's attack to capitalise on their chaos at the back.


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