Fulham and Liverpool played a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage in another eagerly anticipated Premier League return match between Marco Silva’s men and Jürgen Klopp’s juggernaut team
Liverpool starting line-up: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Diaz, Salah, Firmino
Fulham starting line-up: Rodak, Tete, Tosin, Ream, Robinson, Palhinha, Reed, Andreas, Kebano, Mitrovic, De Cordova-Reid.
The game started calmly in the first ten minutes as Fulham kept very compact and blocked every opening available through the middle of the pitch as Liverpool attempted to build gradually from the back.
Adarabioyo played a key role in Fulham’s strong build-up, which was very impressive. The Anglo-Nigerian and his defensive partner Ream frequently left their positions in defense to stay near the middle and thwart Liverpool’s buildup.
However, Liverpool’s renowned press started to work together, forcing the Fulham defenders to go long, and in the 21st minute, a turnover almost fell to Mohamed Salah’s head.
Liverpool was kept at bay by Fulham, and after Henderson went down clutching his ankle, the Cottagers made a clean break down the right side. In the 32nd minute, Mitrovic scored with a textbook center-forwards header that flashed past Alisson and into the goal. Kebano was instrumental in the sequence as he thinly maintained his onside position while feeding Tete on the overlap, who chipped the ball into the box.
Diaz started to come lively on the flank but on the few occasions where he managed to skip the full-back, Ream and Adarabioyo were on hand to pressurize him into less-effective danger zones.
Liverpool then made an effort to exert their quality, but Fulham sunk deeper into their zone and controlled the game until halftime, maintaining their slim 1-0 lead.
Similar to the first half, the second half began with Liverpool trying to build calmly and Fulham trying to block all passing lanes and winning the ball back in midfield. In the 47th minute, one such move required a decisive intervention from Matip to stop another dangerous area ball from entering the area.
Roberto Firmino was substituted for new signing Darwin Nunez in the 52nd minute, but for the following seven minutes, Liverpool struggled to generate any standout chances for goals.
Adarabioyo was fortunate as he was caught on the ball in Fulham’s build-up in the 61st minute, but Nunez made a mistake by trying to square the ball rather than attempting a shot on goal.
After some excellent midfield interchange passes from Henderson and Elliot led to Salah rolling the ball across the 18-yard box, Liverpool equalized in the 64th minute through Nunez. Adarabioyo attempted to touch the ball, but it rebounded off of him and into Nunez’s path.
In the 70th minute, Mitrovic restored Fulham’s advantage by scoring a penalty kick he earned himself when Dutch defender Van Dijk tripped him in the 18-yard area.
The 76th minute saw Nunez blast another effort from a tight angle in the right channel. However, he dragged his shot wide of the post.
In the 80th minute, Salah restored Liverpool’s parity by scoring off a ball from Nunez after Alexander-Arnold’s cross had created confusion in the penalty area for Fulham.
The final whistle arrived with Fulham trying to contain Liverpool’s attack with the Reds ramping up the pressure.