Liverpool come from behind twice to draw with newly promoted Fulham, thanks to Darwin Nunez's goal.
Did Klopp make a mistake by delaying the start of Darwin?
Prior to the substitution of Darwin Nunez, Liverpool had no shots on goal against Fulham.
The Uruguayan was immediately engaged in each of Liverpool’s four attempts against Fulham that were on goal.
After Sergio Agüero (2011–12) and lvaro Morata, Darwin Nunez is the only other player to score and provide an assist in his Premier League debut (2017-18).
Even if the majority of the conversation will be on how Jurgen Klopp’s team has already fallen behind in the title chase, that felt like the most important aspect of this enormously exciting 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.
That was the case for a large part of the game, during which they were unable to keep up with Fulham. The team led by Marco Silva was anything not a pushover in this match, as they more than held their own against Liverpool. Silva did well, but his squad could have done better.
However, Mitrovic who personified so much of this, completely took the game. Even Virgil van Dijk was embarrassed by him, which led to the penalty that led to the second of his two goals. Even Klopp had to use his own big striker, the pricey new addition Darwin Nunez, to level the playing field and secure a draw.
He scored the game’s first equalizer and caused enough trouble to guarantee Mohammed Salah scored his customary opening-day goal.
Even though Jordan Henderson’s late bar-smashing gave Liverpool the impression that they could have had more, it would have been unfair to Fulham. The Reds were also let down by Thiago Alcantara’s first-day injury, which led to his substitution shortly after the game began.
The opening day can often be deceptive, as clubs from Blackpool to Manchester United have found, but there appeared to be real honest substance to Fulham’s game.
For a manager that faces as many dismissive presumptions about him as his club and his striker, Silva showed some of the qualities that once saw him held up as one of the better young managers in the game. His team were for long periods the better side. They were often getting the best of 50-50s, pressing Liverpool all over the pitch. That was part of a superb game plan from Silva.
More impressively, there were moments of accuracy amid that abrasiveness. Just as Fulham’s pressing so unsettled Liverpool, disrupting their shape and rhythm, Silva’s players were mindful of when to shift gear when a gap presented itself.
An emphatic illustration of this was the opening goal. Kenny Tete exploited that space behind Andy Robertson, before Mitrovic exploited the persistent defensive laxness of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Tete’s cross was as inviting as it was unnerving, Mitrovic matching its whip with a powerful run to leave Alexander-Arnold standing there and hammer a header past Alisson.
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