Liverpool come from behind twice to save tie at newly promoted Fulham

Mohamed Salah spared Liverpool embarrassment with a late-season equalizer as last season’s runners-up drew 2-2 with newly promoted Fulham in their Premier League opener.

Fulham proved to be a tough opponent for Jurgen Klopp’s side in recent years – the Cottagers now undefeated in their last three top-flight games – and Liverpool had to come back twice to disallow two goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbia striker has notoriously struggled for goals in the top flight, but showed no sign of trouble against the ‘reds’, opening his account for the campaign in the 32nd minute.

Fulham v Liverpool – Premier League – Craven Cottage

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored both goals for Fulham (Adam Davy/PA)

Darwin Nunez nullified Fulham’s lead with an improvised backheel just after the hour, before a Mitrovic penalty restored the home side’s lead.

With just under 10 minutes remaining, Nunez assisted Salah, who calmly scored Liverpool’s equalizer.

The warning signs were there for Klopp as Liverpool struggled to move forward and hit passes early on before getting caught on the counterattack.

Although they grew up in the game, it was far from a composite performance by the Reds, while Fulham looked completely different from the team that scored 10 goals in their first three Premier League matches in 2020-21.

It was not the start to the season Liverpool would have imagined when the games were released, with Fulham applying most of the early pressure and Mitrovic opening the scoring in just the second minute.

Darwin Nuñez celebrates

Darwin Nunez scored Liverpool’s first goal (Adam Davy/PA)

However, Liverpool had the ball at the back of the net with their first real attacking move of the game, Luis Diaz passing the ball through Marek Rodak, but Andy Robertson was offside.

Liverpool continued to struggle to find their way into the match and it was Fulham who took a surprising lead against the Champions League finalists.

The Cottagers made a smart move down the left, with Kenny Tete overlaying Neeskens Kebano before sending a deep cross to the far post, where Mitrovic beat Trent Alexander-Arnold to get past Alisson.

Liverpool almost equalized minutes later – Diaz’s attempt from inside the area passed Rodak but returned to the post.

Klopp already had major injury problems in the game, but his luck took a turn for the worse when Thiago Alcântara left early in the second half and had to be substituted, leaving holding his hamstring.

Jürgen Klopp

It was a frustrating afternoon for Jurgen Klopp at Craven Cottage (Adam Davy/PA)

At the start of the second half – after a few quiet minutes – Kebano almost scored Fulham’s second when he unleashed a shot that ricocheted off the post and, in the next corner, Bobby Decordova-Reid had a curling shot saved by Alisson.

There were signs of intent from Liverpool when Nunez tried to hit Diaz at the far post, but his pass attempt was blocked by João Palhinha.

Liverpool found a small opportunity and Nunez equalized to open his Premier League account.

Harvey Elliott had played Salah on the wing and crossed to Nunez, who hit the ball into the net, who was allowed to stand after a brief VAR check for offside.

Mohamed Salah celebrates

Mohamed Salah spared Liverpool blushes (Adam Davy/PA)

After tying the score, Liverpool immediately looked to be closing in on victory, with Diaz having a blocked shot and Tim Ream also having to make an off-line release.

Just as Liverpool appeared to be pushing for a winner, Mitrovic restored Fulham’s lead from the penalty spot.

The Serbian forward was judged by referee Andrew Madley for being fouled in the area by Virgil Van Dijk, with VAR upholding the decision.

Mitrovic came forward to take the penalty and Alisson guessed the right way, but was defeated by the force of the kick.

Liverpool equalized again when Alexander-Arnold crossed from the right into the center of the area, with Nunez selflessly tapping for Salah to score.

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