Liverpool did not look like a team expected to challenge for the Premier League title yesterday. They were disjointed and outplayed for the first 50 minutes against Fulham at Craven Cottage, but they turned things around with the introduction of Darwin Núñez. Unfortunately, a soft penalty kick in Fulham's favor kept the Reds from completing a comeback victory, and they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
While Fulham certainly played well enough that it's hard to argue they didn't deserve a point, most would not argue they deserved all three. Fulham manager Marco Silva is not most though, and he expressed his belief they did deserve three points when asked if he felt earning a draw against Liverpool felt like a victory.
“No, it didn’t feel like a victory. It felt like a draw. But I think we deserved more from the game than a point,” Silva said after the match.
“Liverpool had more control in the second half but I think that our organization and our great, great first half – they have the individual quality to create chances – was almost perfect. The way we started and the intensity we had was really good and I have to congratulate our fans and our players, it was a great atmosphere.
“We know how Liverpool are aggressive when they attack the space behind and we controlled those moments in the first half. They are not just really good with the ball, they are really aggressive in the right way without the ball and we matched them from the first to the last minute of the game.”
Fulham certainly executed their game plan extremely well. They frustrated Liverpool for the entire first half and went into the break with a lead. They continued to create chances even after Liverpool reasserted control over the last 40 minutes, and they did an excellent job killing the clock for the last 15 minutes or so.
However, it's hard to see how anyone without a severe bias towards the Cottagers could truly believe they deserved a victory. At 1-1, Liverpool looked certain to find a second before an incredibly soft penalty call in Fulham's favor put the home side ahead again with just 18 minutes to play.
In the end, Liverpool found another equalizer and nearly got the winner when Jordan Henderson hit the crossbar in stoppage time. Fulham likely did deserve a point for their efforts, but Reds had the better of the chances overall. Without a penalty that isn't given 9 times out of 10 they almost certainly would have gone on to win.
So, while one can understand Silva talking up his side after a strong showing, it's hard to take his claims that Fulham deserved a victory too seriously.