Liverpool comeback falls short after surviving early Fulham blitz

Date published: Sunday 13th December 2020 6:23 - Steve Pearson

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Liverpool fought back from on early Fulham onslaught, but couldn’t break down stern resistance after being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Recalled to the team after a brief injury absence, Alisson Becker showed his worth with a fine early save from Ivan Cavaleiro who had broken free down Liverpool’s left flank.

The same duo were in the thick of the action moments later, with the Brazilian again producing a close-range stop from the Cottagers winger.

Fulham showed no signs of a lack of confidence despite their league position. Indeed, they were going toe-to-toe with the Premier League champions.

Their pressure nearly resulted in the awarding of a penalty, after Fabinho’s risky challenge on the dangerous Cavaleiro.

But after a several-minute long check, referee Andre Marriner ruled no foul had been comitted despite being advised to check the pitchside minitor.

Alisson produced a third stop, but the pressure finally told as the hosts took a deserved lead.

A corner broke down and fell to Ademola Lookman. The forward fed Reid who pulled the trigger quickly to catch Alisson off guard and fire his side into a 1-0 lead.

The goal failed to rouse Liverpool from their slumber, with the game’s next chance again falling to Fulham.

As half-time neared, Jurgen Klopp’s men finally crafted a chance of note through a familar creative avenue.

Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Mohamed Salah inside the box. The Egyptian swiveled quickly and unleashed a snap strike, though the effort flew harmlessly wide of Alphonse Areola’s near post.

Liverpool’s injury bug bit again as Takumi Minamino was brought on at half-time to replace Joel Matip who reportedly picked up a back complaint.

The tempo was visibly higher from the champions, and Salah found his shooting boots when stinging the palms of Areola from distance.

Tenacious work from Salah and Minamino then ensured Fulham couldn’t clear their lines. The ball fell to Roberto Firmino who in turn set Jordan Henderson away, but the Areola was equal to the Reds’ captain’s effort to preserve an increasingly nervy advantage.

Entering the last quarter of an hour, Liverpool were handed a lifeline when awarded a penalty for a handball in the wall from a free kick.

Salah stepped up to the spot and somehow squirmed his shot through Areola who would have expected to repel the central strike.

Sensing three points, Liverpool continued to push for a winner and came close through a superb run and strike from Curtis Jones.

Salah was surprisingly replaced by Divock Origi, and Liverpool’s levels of threat diminished as a result in the final moments.

Time eventually ran out as Fulham deservedly held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw.

 

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