Premier League – Hull all but end Liverpool’s top-four bid courtesy of Michael Dawson winner

Premier League, KC Stadium – Hull City 1 (Dawson 37) Liverpool 0

Michael-Dawson-Hull-City

Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League football were all but killed off by Michael Dawson’s first goal for Hull Cityin a 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium.

Former Spurs defender Dawson scored a header on 37 minutes from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross as Hull boosted their survival prospects with a precious win that lifted them clear of the bottom five with only their fifth home success of the season.

But Liverpool’s prospects of finishing in the top four and bringing Champions League nights back to Anfield are surely over for the season.

This grim defeat leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with four league games remaining.

As a reward for a dour and dogged effort in recording back-to-back home league wins over Liverpool, Hull are four points ahead of third-bottom Sunderland, who have a game in hand on Steve Bruce’s side.

One more win might well ensure Hull avoid being sucked into the relegation zone. It may even be the case that this was the evening that kept them up as they move onto 34 points from 34 games.

Hull City – Liverpool

Hundreds of Liverpool boycotted the match in protest against the price of tickets. In hindsight, not a bad decision.

TALKING POINT: Liverpool need a new striker. Badly. Has been said before, but might as well say it again. Mario Balotelli did little or nothing before wandering off injured. Rickie Lambert could not offer any hope when he arrived as Hull just retreated deep and invited Liverpool onto them. Captain Jordan Henderson and Phillippe Coutinho were the likeliest figures for Liverpool as the injury toDaniel Sturridge continues to tell on the pitch. A mini clear-out is required to bring fresh health to a squad toiling badly in the death throes of a fairly lamentable season.

KEY MOMENTS

21′ SAVE! Lovely move by Liverpool. Henderson picks out Coutinho, but his effort is clawed out by Harper. Almost the opening goal. Fine stop.

37′ GOAL! Dawson with the header and Hull are ahead from the Elmohamady cross. Superb cross. And Hull lead 1-0. No chance for Mignolet.

42′ CHANCE! Ibe picks out Henderson on the run, but his volley is held by Harper at the second attempt. Hull caught out on the break.

45+2′ CHANCE! Glorious chance for Liverpool to level. Johnson races to the byline. Sticks the cross through the legs of Harper, but no takers as the ball flew across goal. It remains 1-0 to Hull.

64′ CHANCE! Henderson with a superb volley at goal from the Coutinho cross, but Harper dives to make a solid diving stop. Did really well to get that past the post.

Brendan Rodgers watches Liverpool lose at Hull.

71′ CHANCE! Henderson with a powerful drive at goal. Straight at Harper, who clasps at the second attempt. No Liverpool player reacting to the loose ball.

KEY STATS

Liverpool fail to score in consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time with Brendan Rodgers as manager. May to August 2012 was the last time they did this. The second of those matches was the 3-0 defeat at West Brom, Rodgers’ first PL match as Reds manager.

Hull remain unbeaten against Liverpool in a league season for the first time, at the seventh attempt.

Liverpool remain winless in three consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time since a run of four in a row from October to December 2013. The final match of that run was a 3-1 defeat at Hull.

Hull beat Liverpool for only the second time in 14 league matches (all divisions). The other victory was in this exact fixture last season (3-1 on 1 December 2013).

Hull keep consecutive PL clean sheets for the first time since September to October 2013.

MAN OF THE MATCH Tom Huddlestone – Dominant performance in the centre of the park for Steve Bruce’s side ensured Liverpool were subjected to a slow death. The harder they tried, the worse it seemed to get with a well-drilled Hull side simply shutting up shop in a manner that belied their lowly league position.

PLAYER RATINGS

Hull team: Harper 7, Chester 7, Dawson 7, McShane 7, Elmohamady 7, Livermore 7, Huddlestone 8, Quinn 7, Brady 7, N’Doye 7, Aluko 7..subs: Rosenior 6, Ramirez 6, Bruce 6

Liverpool team: Mignolet 7, Can 6, Skrtel 6, Lovren 5, Johnson 6, Allen 6, Henderson 7, Ibe 5, Sterling 6, Coutinho 7, Balotelli 5..subs: Lambert 6, Lallana 6, Markovic 6

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