Hull boosts survival bid with 1-0 win over Liverpool, harming opponent's Champions League push

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HULL, England — Michael Dawson's first-half header gave Hull a 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Tuesday that pushed the northeast England club closer to Premier League survival.

The Hull captain timed his move to perfection to power home a cross from Ahmed Elmohamady in the 37th minute.

"In that moment we didn't defend well enough," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said on the club website. "Where it counts in that final third we just couldn't make the breakthrough.

"The players put great energy into the game, they worked very hard but our struggles tonight were what they have been for a big part of the season in terms of creativity and scoring goals."

The loss is a further blow to Liverpool's hoping of qualifying for the Champions League for a second successive season. Liverpool is seven points behind Manchester United, which is fourth in the final qualification spot for Europe's elite competition.

"We wanted to be in that top four, but it was always going to be very, very difficult for us with how the season mapped itself out with the squad, injuries and whatnot," Rodgers said. "We can't take away we're fighting for a great club and we're looking now to get the pace and momentum we can take through into next season."

The win moved Hull four points clear of the relegation zone with four games to play.

Hull was unrecognizable from a side whose run of six games without a win looked to make the team relegation certainties as recently as last week.

Liverpool, without captain Steven Gerrard whom manager Brendan Rodgers indicated was being rested for the increasingly inconsequential run-in, looked rudderless and ill-equipped to cope with the Hull's attacking intent.

Dame N'Doye, who scored both goals in Hull's win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, had the first scoring opportunity, heading at goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the sixth minute.

Liverpool did briefly threaten through the energetic Glen Johnson down the left, while Philippe Coutinho came close when he scythed a shot which forced a fine reflex save from goalkeeper Steve Harper.

But the sporadic threat summoned by Liverpool did not faze Hull, which showed the character that secured points at Anfield, Manchester City and Arsenal this season.

Mignolet punched away a dangerous free kick from Robbie Brady and was grateful for a poor follow-up by James Chester, before Mario Balotelli tried a pointless back-heel 20 yards from Harper's goal which summed up his dismal contribution to the first half.

Mignolet pulled off a superb double-save to deny first Jake Livermore then Sone Aluko in a goalmouth scramble. The goal Hull deserved arrived when Elmohamady lofted the ball back into the box and Dawson sprang the offside trap to head past Mignolet.

Despite a quieter start to the second half, it was still Hull showing the greater desire and Mignolet had to be alert to pluck the ball off the head of N'Doye after another fine cross from the left by Elmohamady.

The nervy last few minutes saw Liverpool's Raheem Sterling shoot straight at Harper while Tom Huddlestone could have sealed it for Hull with a long-range strike which flashed just wide before the final whistle sparked jubilation.

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