Salah salvages draw for off-key Liverpool at Fulham
A below-par Liverpool needed a late Mohamed Salah penalty to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw at Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday - squandering the chance to return to the top. Fulham led through Bobby Decordova-Reid’s superb 25th-minute effort and Liverpool needed returning keeper Alisson Becker and some luck to avoid being further behind at the break.
Whatever manager Juergen Klopp said to his champions at halftime had the desired effect as Liverpool were more like their old selves in the second half. There was still little of the attacking quality which propelled them to the title last season, however, and required Salah’s 79th-minute penalty, awarded for a harsh handball against Aboubakar Kamara, to earn a point.
Liverpool joined leaders Tottenham on 25 points from 12 games after Jose Mourinho’s side also drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace in an earlier kickoff. Fulham stay fourth from bottom with eight points but offered a display to hearten the 2,000 fans who were allowed to watch at Craven Cottage.
Klopp’s side have dropped 11 points this season compared to the 15 from the whole of their title-winning campaign. Skipper Jordan Henderson said Liverpool had been off the pace in the first half.
“We didn’t really get going in the first 25 minutes which in the Premier League you can’t do, you get punished, he said. “The good thing was we reacted well. We will look at it, but it’s not like us.”
Alisson, back after a hamstring injury, was required twice in the opening 15 minutes to deny Ivan Cavaleiro as Fulham dominated the opening exchanges with some slick football. Liverpool got a lucky break when Cavaleiro appeared to have his standing leg clipped by Fabinho in the area but referee Andre Marriner declined to give a penalty after going to check a pitchside VAR monitor.
Fulham shrugged off that disappointment though and took the lead when Decordova-Reid dispatched an arrow-like right-foot shot that gave Alisson no chance. Forced to defend deep after the break Fulham were edging towards an unlikely win but Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Kamara was adjudged to have used his arm after jumping in the wall to stop Georginio Wijnaldum’s free kick.
It would have been harsh on Fulham had they been beaten late on but they dug in to end a run of six successive Premier League defeats against Liverpool.
“I thought in the first half there was some real quality about us,” Fulham manager Scott Parker said. “The fans played a big part today, we felt the atmosphere before the game and the players showed real spirit.”