LONDON – New-look Fulham and Liverpool lined up at Craven Cottage in an exhilarating upside-down clash on the opening weekend of the new season.
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Alexander Mitrovic gave Fulham the lead twice, but Liverpool resisted, as Darwin Nunez scored a goal and Mohamed Salah set up another.
This isn’t the start of the season Liverpool had been hoping for the Premier League title in, but Marco Silva and Fulham would be happy to get a point.
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What we learned from the Fulham-Liverpool match
Maybe Aleksandar Mitrovic can do it in the Premier League? He scored two goals in his first Premier League game, and scored two goals in his first game of the season. He had three times in 27 games the last time Fulham were in the First Division. After breaking the tournament record last season (43 goals) many thought Mitrovic was unable to play in PL. He still had some dribbling moments down the course of play (his error led to the attack as Liverpool made it 2-2) but in terms of putting the ball into the back of the net, Metro was already on fire again.
Darwin Nunez inspires filthy Liverpool
Early in the second half Darwin Nunez jumped off the bench and Liverpool’s attack came to life. He scored one goal and set up another because his presence in the penalty area caused a lot of problems for Fulham. Uruguay has had a huge impact and it seems Roberto Firmino’s days as a starter are certainly numbered.
New signings with Fulham make a big difference
Marco Silva bemoans Fulham’s lack of transfer activity so far this summer, and mistakes by Tossin and Tim Ream have proven his point about the need for a few defensive players. However, Andreas Pereira and Joao Balenha were excellent in midfield, with the former filling the gaps forward and the latter filling the gaps expertly. With Bernd Leno coming in too, if Fulham can add a real quality center back it would be a really good window with quality over quantity the main objective.
Fulham’s intensity in the first half completely stunned Liverpool and the Reds struggled to recover. They still created great chances but Luis Diaz hit the post in the first half and it was their final pass or final finish until Darwin Nunez came on. The advent of Nunez ignited Liverpool in attack and saved a point for them. For Fulham, Balinha was dominant in midfield and did not give Pereira Fabinho a moment of peace as he repeatedly rushed forward in support of Mitrovic. Fulham’s energy was incredible but they couldn’t keep up with the whole match. However, if they continue to play with that kind of intensity in the first 45 minutes of the season, few teams will be able to live with that.
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Joao BalenhaGreat energy in midfield and great positioning to break Liverpool’s rhythm. The new signing from Sporting Lisbon looks like a bargain.
Darwin Nunez: He jumped off the bench to score and assist and scare you. You know what from Fulham’s defence. He looks very hungry and will definitely start the next Liverpool game.
Fulham travel to Wolverhampton next Saturday 13 August, while Liverpool host Crystal Palace on Monday 15 August.
Fulham vs Liverpool: New boys with title hopes appear on NBCSports.com
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