Liverpool 2 - Fulham 0
Liverpool: Salah 41’, Shaqiri 53’
Liverpool routinely beat Fulham this afternoon 2-0 and have taken 30 points from 36 available, seeing them off to their best start through 12 games in their premier league history. While the afternoon was mostly a cakewalk, Fulham did have a few moments of opportunity — especially in the first half.
Liverpool started the first half on the front foot, with Salah nearly slotting it past the keeper inside the first five minutes indicating the type of afternoon the Reds would end up having. Fulham, who had lost 5 straight entering this match, had a clear game plan: limit Liverpool’s chances and try to break on the counter with speed. For most of the first half, they were successful at achieving their mission. Their two best chances from open play came through Ryan Sessegnon down the left. The point of controversy in the first half, though, came from a set piece routine. Pundits will discuss whether VAR would’ve saved Aleksandar Mitrović’s disallowed goal, but that’s a moot point. Within 13 seconds of the offside call, Liverpool had trounced up the field to put the ball into Fulham’s net. Quick thinking from Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Mo Salah saw Liverpool enter half-time with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half was more of the same. Liverpool with all of the ball, as if Fulham’s revised mission was to keep the damage at a minimum. At times in the latter 45 minutes, Liverpool looked like they could put up 4 or 5 more goals. Their second goal of the game came from a beautiful cross in the 54th minute from Andy Robertson, who found an unmarked Xherdan Shaqiri at the back post and volleyed it home. Robertson’s assist tally from all competitions is now at 6, which leads the team. Shaqiri, who played off the right hand side, was a bright spot in the midfield. Against Arsenal and Red Star, the midfield lacked a sense of urgency and creativity, two things the Swiss international brought this afternoon. Fulham had put in a game’s worth of effort to try to stop Liverpool, but before the game clock struck 60, they were down 2-0.
Liverpool took advantage of Fulham’s tiredness in the final 30 minutes with constant waves of pressure with their attack being spearheaded by Shaqiri’s creativity. Calum Chambers was lucky to not see a red for his challenge on Mo Salah, but the ref seemingly pitied Fulham for the rest of the afternoon. The Reds continued their push for a 3rd — potentially thinking of Manchester City’s massive goal differential — but were unable to score again. At times in the second half it seemed far too easy for Liverpool. Stiffer competition would’ve raised Liverpool’s level to be sure.
And that is just it. Liverpool knew they could go up another level, but they also knew they didn’t have to. Having not lost to a promoted side since 2010, Liverpool were comfortable ending a sticky patch of games with a comfortable stroll into the international break. Signs of a more mature Jurgen Klopp side.
A word on some standout performances. Obviously, as mentioned above, Xherdan Shaqiri had a fantastic game. Potentially his best of the season. Elsewhere, both fullbacks picked up assists while constantly providing an attacking outlet. Fabinho, who struggled massively midweek in the Champions League, had himself a tidy afternoon. There were three or four moments in the first half where his passing unlocked the attack for Liverpool to spring forward. A shame he won’t be able to see those contributions on the stat sheet after the match.
All in all, an easy 2-0 win at Anfield sees Liverpool go top of the league, at least for a few hours. It is a joy to be alive and a joy to support the Reds.
Up The Best Start Ever Reds.