Liverpool save a point at Fulham, but can be left to play catch-up

London – Fulham showed they didn’t want to be in the Premier League just to make up the numbers again as they came close to beating Liverpool at Craven Cottage, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw..

Report: Fulham 1-0 Liverpool | Premier League table | Prem next matches

Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored 43 goals in the tournament last season, has shown that at the age of 27 he may finally be ready for the Premier League. After he scored the first goal, he then won and converted a penalty kick to make sure the hosts got a point.

Liverpool had to rely on the old and the new, with Darwin Nunez scoring the first equalizer, Mohamed Salah scoring the second – and both making up the other’s goals.

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fast response

Liverpool risk losing ground early

It seems almost silly to point this out on the opening day of the season, but such are the standards Liverpool and Manchester City have recently set that dropping two points at Fulham is an early blow in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp’s side lost just two league games last season and were twice behind at Craven Cottage, showing a remarkable determination to fight.

City have a tough opening game against West Ham United on Sunday, but they now have a chance to take an early advantage over their nearest rivals. Liverpool spent a lot of last season chasing City – the last thing they want is the same feeling at the start of the new season.

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Nunez is a sexy veil… but the injury problems are deepening

Nunez scored his debut in the Premier League with a goal and an assist to save a point and lift a Liverpool display that was sorely lacking in inspiration before serving in the 59th minute.

Both were lucky: His goal, just 13 minutes into his entry, when he attempted an impromptu shot, came only for Tousin Adarabioyo to turn the ball over to Nunez with a rebound that flew over Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rudak. The 23-year-old’s pass came to equalize for Salah when he tried to get only Trent Alexander-Arnold’s forehand pass to touch the ball in Al Masry’s path for the score. But both moments were the product of his movement and energy. It could only be a matter of time before it starts.

Klopp was concerned about Liverpool’s injury problems ahead of kick-off – Kaumen Keeler, Diogo Jota, Ibrahima Konate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Costas Tsimikas and Curtis Jones were all missing – and Thiago Alcantara could now be added to that list. The midfielder came off limping six minutes into the second half with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

Alexander Arnold caught again

There is no doubt that Alexander-Arnold is one of the best defenders in the world with the ball under his feet, but those nagging doubts about his defensive ability will persist after he inflicted the first goal for Fulham.

Kenny Tite’s cross was superb, but Alexander-Arnold was not alive to danger at the back post as Mitrovic headed past Alisson.

Liverpool ended last season by losing the Champions League final to a Real Madrid goal that owed so much to another break in focus from Alexander-Arnold. It’s a lesson he needs to learn, or else more damage will be done.


Player ratings

Fulham: Rodak 7, Tete 8, Adarabioyo 7, Tim Ream 8, Antonee Robinson 7, Harrison Reed 8, Joao Palhinha 7, Bobby Decordova-Reid 7, Andreas Pereira 8, Neeskens Kebano 8, Mitrovic 9.
Subs: Manor Solomon 6, Tom Cairney 6, Duffy 6.

Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 6, Joel Matip 6, Virgil van Dijk 6, Andrew Robertson 7, Jordan Henderson 6, Fabinho 6, Thiago 6, Salah 7, Roberto Firmino 5, Luis Diaz 6.
Subs: Harvey Elliott 7, Nunez 8, James Milner 6, Fabio Carvalho 6.


Best and worst performer

Best: Aleksandr Mitrovich Can he finally do it in the Premier League? On this guide, for sure. Overall view: Great header for the opening goal and made Virgil van Dijk look normal to win a penalty for the second time.

Worst: Roberto Firmino His place in the Liverpool squad is under threat from Nunez and there wasn’t much of the Brazilian here to suggest him keep him. Liverpool were even more dangerous when they came out an hour ago.


Highlights and Highlights

A new season at the same age, Mohamed Salah…


After the match: What the managers said, the players said

“You can’t always hug boys – we usually do it when they deserve it,” Klopp told BT Sport. “The game starts in a specific way which was the opposite of how we wanted to start – really, the exact opposite.

“We got a point for a really bad game by my side, and now it’s about how that happens. I said it to my teammates, the situation wasn’t right at first, then we wanted to fight back but you didn’t. It’s not easy anymore.

“We never had the momentum and yes, we could have won the game because we obviously had more chances after that, but maybe that was a lot today.”


Basic Statistics (Provided by ESPN Statistics and Information)

This is the only second time that Liverpool have started a Premier League season with a draw against a newly promoted team. The other was in 2006-07 when Liverpool drew 1-1 with Sheffield United and finished third.

Darwin Nunez has now scored in each of his first two games since signing from Liverpool from Benfica this summer. He is the first Liverpool player aged 23 or younger to score in the opening game of the Premier League season since Philippe Coutinho in 2015.


next one

Fulham: The Cottgers will be on the road next Saturday when they head north to face Wolverhampton Wanderers, then that’s the big domestic derby against Brentford at Craven Cottage on Saturday, August 20.

Liverpool: There is a closed friendly match behind doors on Sunday against Aston Villa, with Liverpool having a competitive match on Monday in a row, against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Monday 15 August and a trip to Manchester United on 22 August.

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