Monday, October 3, 2022

Fulham 2-2 Liverpool: Main Talking Points As Jurgen Klopp’s Side Open The 2022/23 Campaign With A Stutter

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Aug 2022

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While Liverpool might have been looking to open the 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a statement on the road, Jurgen Klopp’s side eventually had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Fulham.

Missing out on defending their domestic crown by a single point last season, the Reds had to come from behind twice against the top-flight returners on Saturday lunchtime.

Although the attacking duo of Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah might have both got themselves on the scoresheet at Craven Cottage, Liverpool will feel like they missed out on a golden chance here.

With Aleksandar Mitrović finding the net on either side of the half-time break, few would have expected such a rugged display from the Cottagers.

In a showdown between two sides who are expected to be battling it out at opposite ends of the Premier League table this season, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

A stuttering start for Liverpool

Watching Manchester City snatch away their Premier League crown back in May thanks to a one-point buffer, Liverpool were desperate to lay down an early marker here.

However, failing to find top gear with much stability, there is no doubt that Klopp would have been frustrated by his side’s display on Saturday lunchtime.

Tipped as a landslide pick to breeze past the Cottagers, the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss was vocal about his side’s struggles following their 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.

Despite lifting the Community Shield last weekend thanks to an eye-catching 3-1 win against Manchester City at the King Power, Klopp’s side have largely struggled with their consistency over the summer.

Opening their pre-season preparations with a 4-0 drumming against bitter rivals Manchester United during their tour of Australia, fans around Anfield could have some cause for concern.

Likewise, missing out on what they had billed as a real chance here, Liverpool would have also been worried to see Thiago limp off with a suspected hamstring injury.

Fulham off to a flyer

Although Fulham might have cruised their way to an immediate Premier League return last season, Marco Silva’s men really couldn’t have asked for a tougher test here.

However, while the one-time Everton boss might have seen his side tipped as a landslide underdog at Craven Cottage, Saturday’s hosts put in a stellar display on home soil.

While the Cottagers might have been disappointed to have thrown away the lead twice in front of their own supporters, it really was a dream start for Silva’s side.

Despite signing off last season’s Championship run by collecting just a pair of victories from their final seven second-tier outings, Fulham’s new arrivals have offered them a real boost.

With the likes of ex-Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira arriving in west London this summer, the Whites will be desperate to build off of their opening weekend flurry.

Simply with their sights set on maintaining their Premier League status this season, Silva’s men will be next seen when they make the trip to Wolves next weekend.

Mitrović is the man

Claiming another Championship crown last season as they clinched their immediate top-flight return, Mitrović was undoubtedly Fulham’s standout performer at Craven Cottage.

Breaking a string of records as the Serbian ace racked up a staggering 43 Championship strikes on route to lifting the Golden Boot, the one-time Newcastle starlet came flying out the traps here.

With Silva making it clear that the 27-year-old will be crucial in his side’s charge to extend on their Premier League status, Mitrović put in a real Man of the Match display on Saturday lunchtime.

Opening the scoring just after the half-hour mark and then doubling his tally from the penalty spot after 72 minutes, the 74-cap international was a constant threat to Liverpool’s defensive superstars.

Spearheading Fulham’s charge at a sell-out crowd in west London here, Silva was filled with praise for Mitrović’s powerful display.

Linking up well with the likes of Bobby Decordova-Reid, Silva will know just how important it is to keep his attacking talisman firing this season.

Nunez & Salah offer Klopp some hope

Although Klopp would have been left frustrated to have only seen his side open the 2022/23 campaign with a single point in the capital, goals for both Nunez and Salah would have offered the ex-Dortmund boss a minor boost.

While Nunez might have once again had to settle for a spot on the bench here after finding the net in last weekend’s Community Shield, Liverpool’s club-record signing did make another immediate impact.

Producing a smart flick to drag the Reds level just 13 minutes after coming on, the 23-year-old looks set for a first full start when Crystal Palace arrive at Anfield next weekend.

Likewise, tapping home from close range in the final 10 minutes as Klopp’s side salvaged a point at Craven Cottage, Salah managed to extend on what has been a remarkable run on the opening weekend.

In fact, along with now finding the net in each of Liverpool’s last six opening Premier League fixtures, the reigning PFA Player of the Year has also been directly involved in 13 goals on the opening day of a season – recording eight strikes and five assists.

Match Report:

Fulham: Rodak, Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream, Robinson, Reed, Palhinha, Kebano, Pereira, Decordova-Reid, Mitrović

Subs: Duffy, Cairney, Solomon

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Diaz

Subs: Milner, Elliott, Nunez, Carvalho

Goals: Fulham: Mitrović 32′, 72′ (penalty) – Liverpool: Nunez 64′, Salah 80′

Yellow Cards: Tete, Decordova-Reid

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Andrew Madley


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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