LONDON — Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Fulham was not a success for Jurgen Klopp’s men, but as they played half the game without a recognized center-back on the field, it was again clear that the Premier League champions had to find reinforcements in January.
Liverpool was bad in the first half and Fulham could have scored well three times, but for the perfection of Alisson’s comeback. He missed two attempts of Ivan Cavalero, but could not prevent the beautiful goal of Bobby Decordow-Reid. Liverpool dominated the second 45, but their chances were obvious and it took Mohammed Salah a penalty to break Fulham’s resolve.
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Klopp would have been happy to have Liverpool in the game, but his performance for the first half would have been disturbing because Fulham was unable to get into the box in the first 30 minutes of the game. We could have lost it in the first half hour, we could have won it in the last 60 minutes, that was Klopp’s catch. Liverpool looked rusted, but took nothing from Fulham. They were big and scared of Liverpool, much to the delight of the 1,000 fans who saw their team live for the first time this season.
But on the other hand, it was a match where injuries hung over this match in Liverpool. The weather was depressing, and Klopp’s mood could hardly have been better after seeing Joel Matip walking away with a back injury at rest. Klopp repeated the seriousness of the injury after the match, but Matip felt visible discomfort on the final pitches of the first half, moved clumsily and immediately sought physiotherapy when the team returned to the dressing room. Klopp Sprinter; a man desperate for answers to a first-half performance that should have been one of the worst of his term, and he had to plug a hole the size of Matip’s for his defense.
He chased his captain Jordan Henderson – who had a good chance from 10 meters in the second half, but saw that he was well rescued by Alphonse Areola Fulham – up to his partner Fabinho and attracted Takumi Minamino, who helped them through the difficult transition of the first half. But with Nath Phillips, the only other recognized central defender on the bench, Liverpool’s resources became clear in this position.
With Virgil van Dyck and Joe Gomez excluded from the season and Dejan Lovren’s departure for St. Petersburg Zenit this summer, Klopp’s team is in fact the three protagonists who reached the last Premier League tournament.
It’s hard to get injured as a player when you see your teammates get injured, it’s not good, said Liverpool Captain Henderson. What happened to Joe Gomez was hard for me. It’s hard for the players. That makes us stronger in the locker room to keep fighting, to keep moving forward.
Liverpool now focuses on Matip, as the midback has already missed six of his top 12 games due to an injury, but that means Liverpool will have to buy in January if they want to save their multi-frontal attack from the trophy. The fatigue of the Champions League is very real – none of the English participants won the weekend after the last round.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Sunday at Fulham, Liverpool drew 1-1 on injury. Andrew Powell/Liverpool on Getty Images.
While Fabinho did an admirable job in midfield and also helped Henderson cancel all of Fulham’s second half darts, Liverpool missed a midfield presence by spinning the ball around. Mario Lemina and Andre-Frank Zambo Angissa were very angry in Liverpool, and the guests lacked their own constant scanners, which destroyed the midfielders in an attempt to stop the looters Ademola Lookman and Cavallero.
The brightest spark for Liverpool was the remarkable 19-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones, who walked through the centre of the Fulham defence and won the penalty, which was taken when Giorginio Viinalduma’s free kick hit Abubakar Kamara’s wall. Jones is the one who took the risk in the aftermath of the trauma that hit this team.
It seems that Liverpool’s problems were alleviated two weeks ago with the return of Trent Alexander Arnold, Alex Oxlad-Camberlen and Henderson, but even Liverpool and Klopp cannot navigate comfortably in the crazy work schedule with their current list of injuries. Klopp has confirmed that Diogo Jota was injured for two months in the preliminary round match against Midtjillland FC in the middle of the week, while the new left back Kostas Zimikas was also injured. Matip joins the list of wounded, which consists of Thiago, Van Dijk, Gomez, James Milner and Kherdan Shakiri.
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Although Liverpool secured the green of the VAR with a penalty for the first half of Fabinho after Cavalliero’s tackle (although Clopp claimed that Fulham’s goal shouldn’t have survived because of Anthony Robinson’s kick against Salah), Fulham opted for the best of the game. They are improving the game because Parker participates in the second iteration of this team.
Fulham’s last game against Liverpool before the return of the fans in February against Preston North End, when the club was in the league. Only two players started playing against Liverpool that day (Cavallero and Decordova Reed) and their late loan window, signed by Joachim Andersen, did not solve Fulham’s problems. The custodian is also brilliant and constantly finds a gap between Alexander Arnold and Matip in the first half to keep Liverpool’s defence intact. They also seem more balanced as a team. The return of four points after a victory over Lester, a defeat over Manchester City and a tie against Liverpool is a great comeback for Scott Parker’s team. This early season performance seems to have lasted a lifetime, and they can draw the real heart from their last three performances.
The task won’t be any easier for Liverpool, where Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane and Seon Heung Min will play a duel between the top two on Wednesday. Klopp will have to reorganize his herd, and although his teens have fortunately stepped forward to fill the huge void left by the injured contingent, it’s time for Liverpool to increase their resources in January.
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