Darwin Nunez’s affect was virtually fast. Till his arrival six minutes into the second half, Liverpool had been tepid, usually overwhelmed by Fulham. The Uruguayan, direct, quick and hungry, rapidly put the rookie workforce in a weak place. The £85m Premier League participant’s first aim, a intelligent again heel, got here inside quarter-hour of his presentation and likewise performed his half in Mohamed Salah’s aim to save lots of the 2-2 draw.
At present was about one other striker, too. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored 43 objectives within the event final season and tried to dent his repute as missing within the Premier League class, scored twice. The primary was a trademark header, and the second a penalty transformed after a foul by Virgil van Dijk the fox, to recommend the Serbian – and Fulham – would possibly belong within the first division.
It was the primary time Fulham had prevented defeat within the opening recreation of a League One season after profitable the promotion, which is an effective signal – as was the efficiency by the house crowd.
Drawing the season opener is not a catastrophe for Liverpool, however Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are struggling and a troublesome assault even the arrival of Nunez ought to fear Jurgen Klopp. Jordan Henderson hit the crossbar within the closing seconds, however this was positively an escape. “The state of affairs was not proper at first,” Klopp mentioned.
Hassle was coming from the opening seconds when Mitrovic was given area to shoot Alisson’s left submit. He may have performed a significantly better job however this would not be his final likelihood.
Fulham pressed Liverpool in midfield from that second on, making their opponents look tense and distracted, and their frustrations mirrored in Alisson making an offended bang within the decrease tier of the brand new Riverside stand.
“The result’s good, I do not suppose we deserved greater than that however the efficiency was considerably higher,” Klopp mentioned.
It took Liverpool till the fifteenth minute to launch a correct assault and Salah’s first try on aim this season was a terrifying header after shedding his route.
Till drastic modifications had been made within the second half, Klopp’s decide echoed Invoice Shankly’s outdated time period “like final season”, with Roberto Firmino essentially the most central striker, whereas Luis Diaz got here in from the left of the Triple Spear. However as an alternative of being properly lubricated, Liverpool regarded rusty
Marco Silva’s strategy to choice was no completely different, however extra profitable. Two new signings have been made in Joao Balenha and Andreas Pereira, each of whom are in midfield. Continuity has allowed Fulham to attempt to do for Liverpool what they did to the competitors’s opponents final season: maintain them off kick-off. The courageous technique had the specified impact.
“We confirmed nice group from begin to end,” Silva mentioned. “Our first half was virtually good, the way in which we managed and operated.”
Joel Matip and Van Dyck had been tasked with a heavy workload by Mitrovic whereas Andy Robertson and Alexander-Arnold’s offensive particulars had been suppressed by Bobby Decordova-Reed and Neskens Kebanu, in addition to Pereira’s busy and spectacular loss of life.
The transfer was initiated by Mitrovic’s first aim by Pereira, earlier than Reed and Kebanu despatched Kenny Tite to cross from the precise. Alexander Arnold, on the again submit, had no response to Mitrivich’s energy and goal-scorer intuition. Questions shall be raised in opposition to the England participant’s protection as soon as once more though Silva was pleased handy the credit score to his striker.
“Metro should not simply objectives and if somebody thinks they will overlook about them,” Silva mentioned. “The work he did this night for the workforce, his strain, midfield help and protection line help, would have been sufficient even when he hadn’t scored.”
When Klopp was operating into the dressing room within the first half, he had a number of issues, which had been exacerbated when Thiago withdrew with a muscle damage shortly after the beginning of the second half. Former Fulham participant Harvey Elliott got here in, with Klopp additionally opting to introduce Nunez instead of Firmino to make that near-immediate influence.
Nunez’s mild aim was preceded by an identical try saved by Marek Rudak. A high quality contact from a raging substitute additionally helped Salah web the second equalizer, the Egyptians’ sixth consecutive aim of their opening weekend. Salah’s function in Nunez’s aim additionally hinted at a partnership that might quickly deposit Sadio Mane in historical past, offering extra consolation for Liverpool to keep away from defeat.
This was a extremely entertaining minor basic that left Klopp anxious and Silva euphoric, as two forwards declared themselves on the Premier League stage.