mai 24, 2024

Fulham 1 – 3 Liverpool

8 min read

Liverpool brushed off their European disappointment to move up to second in the Premier League – level on points with table-topping Arsenal – after a 3-1 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb free-kick sent the Merseysiders on their way (32), but Timothy Castagne hauled Marco Silva’s side level on the stroke of half-time (45+2).

Last Sunday’s surprise home loss to Crystal Palace had handed the initiative to Manchester City, and while Mikel Arteta’s Gunners side moved top with victory over Wolves on Saturday, Liverpool kept up the pace with a dominant second-half display.

Trent Alexander-Arnold wheels away after beating Bernd Leno

Ryan Gravenberch restored the visitors’ advantage when he collected Harvey Elliott’s pass to curl a sublime finish past Bernd Leno and in off the post (53).

With Alisson a spectator after the interval, Liverpool turned the screw as Diogo Jota put the contest to bed with a third, racing onto Cody Gakpo’s pass to fire low into the bottom right-hand corner.

The result means Liverpool move onto 74 points, along with Arsenal, but in second place by virtue of an inferior goal difference. City sit in third place on 73 points but having played a game less. Meanwhile, Fulham remain in 12th position on 42 points.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: « For 80 minutes we played a really good game. I didn’t like the last 10 minutes of the first half and they got the goal. But that’s alright because I loved the second half.

« We could show again what we did really well in the first half – we kept the ball, created, and scored some good goals. We had some good chances on top of that too. We made some changes and the boys did really well. »

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Alexander-Arnold gives Liverpool the lead with a wonderful free-kick

Player ratings

Fulham: Leno (7), Castagne (7), Robinson (6), Bassey (5), Adarabioyo (6), Palhinha (5), Lukic (6), Iwobi (6), Pereira (7), Reed (5), Muniz (7).

Subs used: Traore (n/a), Wilson (6), Cairney (6).

Liverpool: Alisson (6), Robertson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Van Dijk (6), Quansah (6), Gravenberch (7), Endo (7), Elliott (7), Gakpo (7), Diaz (6), Jota (8).

Subs used: Mac Allister (6), Nunez (6), Szoboszlai (n/a), Gomez (6), Salah (6).

Player of the match: Diogo Jota.

How Jota reignited Liverpool’s title challenge

Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game
Diogo Jota celebrates scoring Liverpool’s third goal at Fulham

In their 1-0 defeat to Palace, Liverpool had an expected goals total of 2.81, the most by a Premier League side who failed to score since Newcastle against Crystal Palace in September 2022.

Klopp’s team ought to have hit the front inside five minutes, but Luis Diaz headed wide from Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

Over the course of their recent rivalry, Liverpool have had a couple of seasons where the race to the line with Man City has seen them miss out by just a point despite matching each other win-for-win for the majority of the run-in.

Team news

  • One notable absence for Fulham was Willian, with manager Marco Silva confirming that this was a groin strain. Bobby De Cordova-Reid started while Tim Ream returned to the bench.
  • Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboslai and Ibrahima Konate were all on the bench. Diogo Jota started up front with Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott.

The visitors knew they could not afford to drop any more points in the capital, and they came close again when Alexander-Arnold picked out Diaz inside Antonee Robinson but his cross was directed wide by Jota.

Fulham could yet challenge for a top-10 finish – and they briefly threatened when Alex Iwobi set up Joao Palhinha for a shot on the edge of the box but Alisson made a routine save. But with half an hour on the clock, Palhinha hauled down Jota just outside the penalty area. It would prove a costly decision.

Liverpool survived a scare to defeat Fulham
Liverpool survived a scare to defeat Fulham

Elliott had already seen one free-kick strike the foot of the Fulham wall, but this time Alexander-Arnold pulled rank and curled a sumptuous effort into the corner beyond the reach of Leno.

Liverpool smelt blood as Gakpo immediately forced Leno to tip a ferocious drive over. But Silva vowed his squad was in the best place they could be heading into the encounter – and they showed their quality to level on the stroke of half-time.

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Liverpool are stunned as Timothy Castagne levels for Fulham just minutes before the break

Jarell Quansah initially did well to block Rodrigo Muniz’s header from point-blank range but Castagne was on hand to sweep the loose ball beyond Alisson.

Liverpool have now not kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine league games at Craven Cottage since a 1-0 win in April 2009. Jamie Carragher pointed out: « Liverpool don’t keep them like Arsenal. They have to get better defensively even when the manager moves on. »

Elliott was not enjoying his return to Fulham as he dragged a shot wide from Jota’s pass five minutes after the restart – but moments later he was the architect of Liverpool’s second. Iwobi’s attempted clearance was intercepted by the England U21 international, who set up Gravenberch for a precise finish in off the post from 20 yards out.

Gravenberch restored Liverpool's advantage
Ryan Gravenberch restored Liverpool’s advantage

Gravenberch celebrated his first Premier League goal – and the Dutchman was involved once more when he combined with Andrew Robertson to set up Jota for an instinctive near-post shot that was well kept out by Leno.

The Portuguese would not be denied his goal on his first league start since February as he coolly buried his shot low out of Leno’s reach after being slipped through by Gakpo to reignite Liverpool’s title challenge.

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Jota’s goal survives a tight VAR call to make it 3-1 and give Liverpool some breathing space

Carragher: Massive result for Liverpool

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Gravenberch restores Liverpool’s lead with a stunning finish midway through the second half

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:

« A massive result for Liverpool, not just in terms of the title race and the three points, but to get things back on track.

« In midweek, they won the game, but went out of the competition, but I think Klopp almost used that for ‘Liverpool are back’. They kept a clean sheet, they won the game and this was a step up again in terms of performance.

« It can be better of course, but it’s a massive result. With five games to go in the Premier League, level at the top with Arsenal, it’s a good position to be in. »

Still time for Klopp to add to his legacy

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his brilliant opener
Alexander-Arnold celebrates his brilliant opener

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds at Craven Cottage:

« Klopp remains positive about Liverpool’s place in the title race and still believes if they win all their remaining five matches they will be Premier League champions again.

« A difficult run of results – starting with a draw at Manchester United and followed by home defeats to Atalanta and Crystal Palace – ended with a 1-0 Europa League victory in Bergamo but that could not prevent their exit from the Europa League 3-1 on aggregate at the quarter-final stage.

Diogo Jota celebrates with Cody Gakpo after scoring Liverpool's third
Klopp’s men bounced back from Thursday’s exit to Atalanta

« A first clean sheet in 10 matches was a boost to confidence, especially as they continue to struggle to find their best form at the other end of the pitch, and a perfect run-in is required if they are to overhaul both Arsenal and third-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

« That the clean sheet went will not concern Klopp too much at this stage of the season, provided they are winning. They have scored in 31 of their 33 games, more often than any other team in the Premier League this campaign, and here they overpowered their opponents in the second half.

« Judging by the full-time celebrations, Klopp still believes there is time to add to his legacy. »

Player of the match – Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota scored the 100th goal of his English club career in all competitions across his time at Wolves (44 goals) and Liverpool (56).

Away day delight for Liverpool – Opta stats

  • Liverpool have won seven of their last nine away games in the Premier League (D1 L1) – more than their previous 19 on the road beforehand (W6 D7 L6).
  • Fulham suffered their 16th Premier League defeat of the season, now equalling their total for the whole of last term. Seven of those losses have come at Craven Cottage – one more than they lost at home in the league in 2022-23 (6).
  • Ryan Gravenberch’s goal, assisted by Harvey Elliott, was the first time Liverpool had a Premier League goal both scored and assisted by players aged 21 or younger since November 2014 v Chelsea (Emre Can assisted by Raheem Sterling).
  • Liverpool have scored four goals from outside the box against Fulham in the Premier League this season, the first side to score so many against the same opponent in a Premier League campaign since Leeds v West Brom in 2020-21, while the Reds last did so in 2015-16 v Aston Villa.

What’s next?

Fulham host Crystal Palace on Saturday April 27, kick-off 3pm.

Liverpool face a trip across Stanley Park to face Everton on Wednesday April 24, kick-off 8pm.

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