Liverpool came out in dominant form, and an early free kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold had most thinking it would be a stroll in the park. Fulham refused to go away, and twice fought back to tie the match up before going ahead themselves in the 80th minute. While things looked bleak for the Reds, two dramatic goals in the span of a minute saw Liverpool nab all of the points as they look to keep apace with Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the table.
Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.
The vice-captain was immense for Liverpool against Fulham. He was influential on the ball, especially early in the match on top of causing the opening goal and scoring the winning goal. Trent’s free kick in the 20th minute was a thing of beauty, clipping the bottom of the crossbar on its way into the net. Replays showed it bounced off the back of Bernd Leno, and it was eventually changed to an own goal, though it seemed like the ball likely would have gone in on its own. The final goal was sweetly struck on the half volley by Trent from the edge of the box to win the match for the Reds.
In a match where Liverpool scored four goals, all of them were of the spectacular variety. Along with Trent’s goal contributions, holding midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endo each had a sensational strike.
Alexis Mac Allister saw a bouncing ball check up perfectly for him well outside the box, and he put his foot through it with exquisite technique. The ball sailed just over the diving Leno as it also faded away into the far corner. Endo also hit from outside the box, making a late run to meet the feed from Mohamed Salah. The Japanese international left no doubt, lifting the ball with a side footed effort into the top corner.
The Greek left back was yet again quietly impressive for the vast majority of the match as he continues to fill in for the injured Andy Robertson. Tsimikas showed great energy getting forward, and was very involved in the attack. He was credited with the assist to Trent for the winning goal, and finished with four key passes total for the match, second only to Mohamed Salah. He also led the team with tackles, and was second in both interceptions and clearances. The only real blip was getting beat on the header on Fulham’s third goal.
Refuse to Lose
For the fourth time this season, Liverpool managed to find their way back from a losing position to win the match. In fact, the Reds lead all teams with earning 15 points so far this season after going down at least one goal. That’s almost twice as many points as the next teams. Don’t look now, but the mentality monsters just might be back.
The Irish goalkeeper struggled against Fulham after playing well against LASK in midweek. It’s always tough having to be compared to the incomparable Alisson, but Kelleher was ultimately at fault for the second goal the Cottagers scored. He likely should have done better with the first goal as well, though that was certainly a more difficult save to make.
The Gravy Train
Ryan Gravenbach struggled on the day. He still exuded silky smoothness on the turn to progress the ball forward, but he had too many loose touches and poor passes that led to turnovers. An ill-advised pass that was easily cut out started the move capped off by Fulham’s third goal of the match. Gravenberch also struggled to have much impact defensively as the game got stretched, and was bypassed too easily at times.
Magic of the Chaos Himbo
Darwin Núñez was a handful as always, but the Uruguayan striker struggled with timing his run quite a few times, something he’d been much better about so far this year. He also had a couple of massive chances that he failed to put in the back of the net. He ripped a shot off the crossbar before mis-hitting a volley from close range. Núñez has failed to score in his last six appearances, though he did have an assist against Brentford.
Joel Matip has been quite good yet again this season, but the lanky defender had to be withdrawn with an injury after Willian backed into him as they went off the pitch. After the match, Jürgen Klopp said it will likely not be a short injury layoff for Matip.
From the Manager
“I don’t think before the game many people would have thought Liverpool v Fulham would be a game they would never forget, but.....you’re welcome!”
What Happens Next
The extremely busy December run of fixtures will see the Reds head to bottom dwellers Sheffield United on Wednesday. This is part of a key stretch of matches against bottom half sides.