Liverpool vs. Fulham: New lads keep championship contenders at bay

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On the first day of the 2022–23 Premier League season, Fulham gave Liverpool a scare with a thrilling 2-2 draw as the newly promoted Cottagers came within 10 minutes of being the first side to defeat the Reds in the top division since the beginning of 2022.

image credits: tsn

The hosts’ strong start, who are trying to avoid making a fourth unsuccessful effort to stay in the division since the 2013/14 season, was one of the warning flags for the Champions League finalists.

The greatest cross of the half was sent by Neeskens Kebano to Aleksandar Mitrovic during one of the Cottagers’ rapid counterattacks. Mitrovic outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold at the far post and powered an unstoppable header past Alisson Becker to put the game to bed.

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Liverpool announced a new acquisition Darwin Nunez came on after the half, but Fulham still appeared to be in control. Kebano almost increased their advantage with a rasping diagonal shot from just inside the box that rattled off the far post with Alisson clearly outmatched.

After missing many opportunities to score at that point, Nunez’s positioning and tenacity paid off when he glanced Mohamed Salah’s right-wing pass beyond Marek Rodak in the 64th minute, providing some solace to an increasingly furious Jurgen Klopp of the Reds.

Anyone who thought the game would go as usual from that moment was misinformed. The Championship’s top scorer last season almost missed a penalty after Virgil van Dijk’s careless tackle on Mitrovic led to a contentious and lucrative penalty claim for Fulham.

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Salah, who had scored in five straight season openers, came to Liverpool’s rescue when Fulham allowed a cross to ricochet off Nunez, and the talisman reacted swiftly to poke Liverpool’s second equaliser from close range.

Harvey Elliott found Henderson in the last seconds of extra time, and he nearly gave Liverpool the victory by blasting a shot over Rodak and into the crossbar. Fulham’s strong start was deserving of at least a point, so that would have been harsh to them.

Making his imprint, Mitrovic

It was believed that surpassing Mitrovic’s 43 goals from the previous season—colossal in the Championship but untested in the Premier League—would undoubtedly produce a higher return than the Serbian striker achieved during Fulham’s weak 2020–21 relegation.

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Mitrovic extended his impressive streak by scoring 45 goals in 45 games here, reestablishing himself at the highest level in a resoundingly emphatic manner.

When the 27-year-old missed a great opportunity in the first few minutes for Fulham, the supporters were disappointed. But then the behemoth produced one of his signature headers, leaping over Trent Alexander-Arnold, who delivered a shaky defensive effort, with an air of seeming nonchalance.

While players like Andreas Pereira and Kebano caused havoc before failing to locate a target — frequently Mitrovic — within the penalty area, there was an early feeling that Fulham would regret not capitalising on their early surges inside Liverpool territory.

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That was rendered meaningless by Kebano’s superb pass for the opening goal, which Mitrovic will hope to accept all season long if his teammates can continue to find spurts of inspiration.

Liverpool had not given up a penalty in 51 games. Even if Andy Madley’s decision appeared to be a touch soft, it was nevertheless evidence of the difficulty Mitrovic’s evasion by Van Dijk and his fellow defenders.

For a player of Mitrovic’s potential during the previous Premier League season, three goals all season was a terrible number. Now, in 90 minutes, he has nearly as many.

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If Fulham were not engaged in a fight for survival, it would still be surprising, and Mitrovic’s success will be crucial to their prospects of avoiding a demoralising second relegation in four years.

Salah scores for the season’s sixth straight start

On a day when they weren’t at their best, Liverpool shown admirable fortitude by coming back twice while down. Their comeback demonstrated again again how important it is to have Salah leading your attack when things are going poorly.

When Liverpool defeated Norwich 3-0 in August 2021, Salah became the first player to score in five straight opening-day matches in the top league. The Egyptian superstar has now passed Jamie Vardy of Leicester City by scoring eight goals in the first game.

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His most recent rapid start ties him for the most goals scored on the first day with Premier League greats Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Alan Shearer.

When Alexander-Arnold fired a cross into the penalty area, Fulham centre backs Tim Ream and Tosin Adarabioyo each had a chance to stop the threat, but a mix-up between the two allowed Nunez to redirect the ball in Salah’s direction for a deft finish.

Salah’s equaliser is not expected to be on many highlight videos. Robbie Fowler, a renowned poacher from Liverpool, and other legendary hunters would have respected his intelligence and vigilance.

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The fact that Nunez performed well after replacing Roberto Firmino just after the half suggests that Salah’s backup attackers are not overly concerned by Sadio Mane’s decision to join Bayern Munich.

Nunez’s £85 million transfer from Benfica raised worries about how long the Uruguayan striker would need to adjust, and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may have questioned if he made the correct decision when Nunez struggled against Fulham during an assured second-half start.

That was overturned by two goals in the space of 17 minutes, and Luis Diaz also hit the post with an incredible shot from the smallest of openings before being adjudged to be offside. 

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Live updates and highlights from the Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool

Fulham 2-2 Liverpool at full time

Liverpool came close to winning in the end. Henderson was set up by replacement Elliott, who then blasted a shot over Rodak and into the crossbar.

That would not have been fair to Fulham. On a day when tireless Mitrovic made it 45 goals from 45 outings, they receive an unexpected point from their return to the Premier League. The score is 2-2.

85 minutes: Liverpool 2-2 Fulham

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Some introduction to English football for Nunez.

82 minutes: Liverpool 2-2 Fulham

Despite their outstanding performance tonight, Fulham won’t be pleased with how they let the equaliser.

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Tosin and Ream missed the opportunity to definitively head clear and Alexander-Arnold crossed from outside the halfway line on the right. Salah was in front of goal when the ball ricocheted off Nunez’s leg and into his path. Salah curled an instinctive finish past Rodak, which is likely why Nunez didn’t expect the ball to reach him.

Liverpool could believe that following Fulham’s disputed penalty, they deserve a little luck.

81 minutes: Fulham ties Liverpool 2–2. (Salah 81)

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Salah continues to have the top opening day record!

Fulham 2-1 Liverpool after 75 minutes.

72 minutes: Fulham 2-1 Liverpool goals (Mitrovic 72)

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Mitrovic strikes Alisson’s left with a low penalty. Although the goalie dives correctly, the shot has too much force and accuracy. Fulham has regained the lead!

72 minutes: FULHAM PENALTY, Fulham ties Liverpool at 1-1

In the penalty area, Mitrovic is brought down by a poor challenge from Van Dijk. You can’t blame the striker for looking for it, even if it was a soft call and he was taken down fairly quickly. Not the best play by the centre back.

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Can Fulham regain the upper hand?

67 minutes: Fulham ties Liverpool 1-1.

Ream enters just in time to send a Nunez finish past the Fulham defence. The striker seems like he’ll be entertaining this year.

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65 minutes: Fulham ties Liverpool 1-1.

You can’t criticise Nunez for being persistent. He connected with a left-wing ball from Salah in front of goal and flicked his shot beyond Rodak after earlier missing a few opportunities.

That’s a brilliant way for him to get his Premier League career started.

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Fulham ties Liverpool at 1 in the 64th minute (Nunez)

The goal has been scored by Nunez! However, there is the required VAR review, this time to determine if his improvised finish was made from an offside position.

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 62 minutes.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 60 minutes.

After Fulham concedes possession of the ball in a risky area of the field, Nunez gets his first shot at goal.

Fulham quickly clears the area as the replacement appears to be unsure whether to square a ball or shoot from inside the penalty area on the left.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool at 59 minutes.

Jenas quotes Alisson as saying, “There was nothing he could do about it,” in reference to Kebano’s shot that so nearly went in.

“I’m simply so shocked that Liverpool haven’t responded to Fulham,” the author said.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool at 57 minutes.

Kebano strikes the target! The player who set up Mitrovic’s goal executes a magnificent strike, sending a dipping shot from the right side of the penalty area past Alisson’s dive and off the woodwork.

Henderson is not in the least bit pleased about Nunez’s closure. Liverpool is fortunate to not be behind by two goals.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 55 minutes.

Pereira has been a true livewire on the left and has impressed the whole game. After making a strong run through the Liverpool half, the midfielder falters by taking too long to play a cross that is blocked and is eventually caught by Alisson.

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 52 minutes.

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Fulham appear at ease. Liverpool hasn’t yet launched a cavalry charge, maybe because they are still aware of the threat that their opponents offer when they go on the offence.

Liverpool leads Fulham 1-0 at halftime.

In the 50th minute, Thiago seems to hurt his hamstring, ending his 50th Liverpool game.

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As Nunez and Harvey Elliott enter the game, Firmino also exits.

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 48 minutes.

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 46 minutes.

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We’re back in motion now! A foul is committed by Henderson inside the centre circle. Nunez is warming up on the sidelines; if Liverpool can’t get this under control soon, it won’t be long until the forward is inserted.

Fulham led Liverpool 1-0 at the break.

Mitro is ablaze.

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Fulham led Liverpool 1-0 at the break.

On the first day of the season, are we in for one of the biggest surprises? Although Fulham’s strong start in their home debut may have been expected, you would have anticipated Liverpool’s greater class to become apparent as the half went on.

As it stands, Mitrovic’s unstoppable header, which was the result of one of several excellent movements by the Premier League newcomers, puts Liverpool in danger of suffering their first loss of the year.

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The Craven Cottage supporters are overjoyed by this. Klopp has a lot of work ahead of him. Only the most irrationally hopeful Fulham supporters could have foreseen this.

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 42 minutes.

a reminder that Fulham’s 1-0 win against Liverpool in March 2021 was their most recent Premier League triumph.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 39 minutes.

Luis Diaz unleashes a devastating shot from the left outside of the penalty area towards the far angle of Rodak’s goal out of virtually nothing!

Despite a VAR review, Luis Diaz’s team was denied their claims of an infraction during the play they conceded from, earning Fulham a warning and a moment of brilliance.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 36 minutes.

Mitrovic has scored a third as many goals as he did throughout his whole previous Premier League season.

One of the strongest defences in the division has had trouble with the 43-goal scorer so far today.

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Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 34 minutes.

That goal was beautifully executed. Following the breakdown of another Liverpool assault, Fulham made a rapid left to right break from near their own penalty area.

Kebano floated an enticing cross to the far post while remaining just onside, and Mitrovic, with his customary muscularity, outmuscled Alexander-Arnold to force a header beyond Alisson from close range. Fulham is ahead rightfully.

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Goal: Fulham 1-0 Liverpool after 33 minutes (Mitrovic)

31 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

Reeds sprints after receiving a cross from the left and shoots from the centre of the penalty area. Liverpool are currently in trouble despite Robertson’s blocks.

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30 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

28 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

For Liverpool, Fabinho secures a corner on the right. As Fulham score and then stop Liverpool from launching a second assault, there is a cheer.

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Fulham 0-0 Liverpool after 23 minutes.

Kebano is fouled by Van Dijk on Liverpool’s left side in a precarious situation. Ream, who is ghosting in front of goal, receives a deliciously hazardous cross from Pereira, but he is unable to guide his header in that direction.

Then, when Mitrovic tries to canter past the defence on a through pass, he is properly ruled to be just offside.

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21 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

Liverpool’s frequent crosses into the penalty area have broken up the calm spell. Henderson waits behind Salah as one of them reaches him, but Salah flicks a header wide.

16 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

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Near the midway point, Tete launched a wild challenge on Luis Diaz and was arrested for it. While Fulham appears to be playing a little less composedly, Liverpool is beginning to enjoy more possession.

15 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

Offside, but Liverpool has the ball in the net! Intricate play on the left side of the Fulham box concludes with Firmino holding onto the ball just a little bit too long before releasing Robertson beyond the defence. Robertson strayed and was stopped by a great clearance.

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Diaz gathers the ball, takes a touch, and tries in vain to curl a beautiful finish into the far corner of the net. Still, Klopp will have desired that answer.

10 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

The slow start made by his team, according to Jurgen Klopp, isn’t exactly what the manager wants. Liverpool still haven’t shown up, says Jenas.

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“They don’t engage in combat; they just want to knock it about. They simply haven’t gotten off to a good start and haven’t yet displayed their bad tendencies.”

8 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

Silva’s side is still quite promising. De Cordova-Reid tries to create a disturbance deep within Liverpool territory but is halted by Matic. After that, Reed almost reaches the byline on the left but sees Alisson intercept his low cross.

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Fulham could succeed if they can generate one or two lethal deliveries at this rate.

6 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

A corner is won by Fulham to their left. Mitrovic tries to seize on a ricochet inside the penalty area, but Matip knocks the delivery away, and Van Dijk steps in to stop him.

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5 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

Liverpool’s start has been subdued. Within his penalty area, Rodak intercepts an attempted through ball, and Pereira then smashes a cross from the left into Alisson’s arms.

3 minutes: Liverpool 0–Fulham

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Before the referee raises the whistle, Fulham’s Andreas Pereira swings in a pass that appears to be beneficial. According to former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas, “you don’t want to see them terrified.”

They’re on the front foot and climbing the pitch, which are both encouraging indicators.

Fulham 0 — Liverpool 1

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Before the game began, the participants knelt. Liverpool gains control and begins creating from the back after winning a throw-in that Fulham won on the left side of their own half.

After Liverpool gives the ball away not far from their own penalty area, Mitrovic gets a fantastic opportunity to score. He darts into the danger zone from the left and fires a low effort just wide of the far post. positive for the hosts

Fatboy Slim’s “Right Here, Right Now” is playing at Craven Cottage as the players enter their respective half with two minutes remaining in the game. The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” then starts to play.

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Salah looks to be visualising while holding out both of his palms. He is as laser-like as ever.

With five minutes remaining, the players are returning to the field. Here are a few photos Liverpool posted during the pregame warmups.

Starting today, teams will be able to substitute five players throughout games. Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United defender, expresses his excitement about the rule change to BT Sport, noting that it will give players more time to recover.

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Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch believes that larger clubs may gain more from the change, and former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis asserts that organisations must change with the times and accommodate the regulation.

The players are warming up with 20 minutes to go! With a goal from Bobby Decordova-Reid, who begins today, in the 25th minute, Fulham, who went undefeated against Liverpool during their previous Premier League campaign, took the lead against the Reds.

On that occasion, Liverpool needed a Salah penalty 11 minutes from the end to save a 1-1 tie.

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With 35 minutes remaining, Liverpool can win tonight and extend their undefeated streak in the Premier League to 20 games. Thiago, a midfielder, makes his 50th appearance for the team.

Liverpool’s lineup with 50 minutes remaining in the game. Mohamed Salah is joined in attack by Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz, with new attacker Darwin Nunez starting on the bench.

55 Minutes to Go: This is how Fulham started. Duffy, a recent acquisition, is on the bench, and their best chance for a creative midfielder is former Manchester United hopeful Andreas Pereira.

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1 Hour to go: Fulham hasn’t defeated Liverpool in the Premier League since they did it 1-0 at Anfield on March 7, 2021.

The team’s chances of surviving were dashed after a quick collapse in which they lost eight and drew two of their last 10 league games while scoring only five goals.

Since defeating Everton 2-0 on February 14, 2021, they have not scored more than once in a Premier League game.

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This is the first of six Premier League games that will be played today, with Chelsea’s encounter against Everton beginning at 17:30 BST.

You can’t go wrong with our overview of the most important opening weekend statistics if you’re seeking for numbers.

Will Fulham survive relegation for the first time in four attempts in the Premier League since 2013/14 with one hour and thirty minutes still to go? Will Aleksandar Mitrovic be able to surpass the three goals he scored in the Premier League two years ago or the 43 goals he scored while playing in the Championship in 2020–21?

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Whatever happens, the Cottagers will benefit from the addition of a seasoned Premier League player on Friday: uncompromising Brighton and Republic of Ireland center-back Shane Duffy has signed a season-long loan with the team.

On the first day of the 2021–2022 season, Mohamed Salah became the first player to score in five straight opening-day matches in the top division.

The Egyptian superstar is tied with Jamie Vardy of Leicester City for the league lead with seven goals after the first match of the year. If he pulls off the same trick again, he would pass Premier League greats Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Alan Shearer for the record.

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KO in 2 hours: Hello and welcome to our coverage of the second game of the 2022–23 Premier League season’s opening weekend, which began on Friday with Arsenal’s admirably tenacious 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace.

Last year, Liverpool started their season with a 3-0 victory over a freshly promoted team that would be sent down without a fight when they easily defeated Norwich. Fulham will be aiming to prevent the Canaries’ immediate and long-term destiny.

If the hosts lose to one of the championship contenders on their return to the top division, it would be a great upset and you imagine they would be happy with a reasonable performance and scoreline.

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Lineups for Fulham vs. Liverpool

Rodak (GK) — Robinson, Ream, Tosin, Tete — Reed, Palhinha — Pereira, Kebano, Decordova-Reid — Mitrovic are the players anticipated to start for Fulham in the starting lineup (4-2-3-1).

Leno (GK), Duffy, Cairney, Mbabu, Onomah, Francois, Carvalho, Harris, and Stansfield make up Fulham’s substitutes (9).

Alisson (GK) — Robertson, van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold — Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson — Firmino, Salah, Diaz — Liverpool expected starting lineup (4-3-3)

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Adrian (GK), Gomez, Chambers, Milner, Bajcetic, Van den Berg, Elliott, Carvalho, and Nunez are the planned subs for Liverpool (nine).

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