Xenia Sports – London
Liverpool missed the chance to reclaim top spot in the Premier League after they came from behind late on to secure a 1-1 draw at Fulham.
Bobby Decordova-Reid struck the ball expertly past the recently returned Alisson to give the Cottagers the lead, but Scott Parker’s side was unable to hold off Liverpool’s second-half fightback to secure all three points.
Jurgen Klopp’s men came out after the break looking to make an impact on the game and eventually found the equalizer when Mohamed Salah converted from the spot in the 80th minute.
Following Tottenham’s draw at Crystal Palace, a win would have returned the Reds to the summit of the league, but after a lacklustre performance against a determined Fulham side they had to settle for a draw at Craven Cottage.
Fulham welcomed back 2,000 supporters to the stadium for the first time since a 2-0 win over Preston on February 29, as Liverpool’s 18-match winning streak against newly-promoted sides came to an end.
Fulham started quickly in contrast to their recent sluggish display against Manchester City and Ivan Cavaleiro forced Alisson into a sharp save inside the opening five minutes.
Just as Liverpool were looking to settle into the game, Fulham found space between their lines with Ademola Lookman playing in Cavaleiro, only for Alisson to deny the Portuguese player for a second time in the opening 15 minutes.
Fulham managed to break through the Liverpool lines for a third time and VAR was called in over a tackle from Fabinho on Cavaleiro, but referee Andre Marriner made a quick decision to award only a corner after consulting the on-field monitor.
In the 25th minute, Fulham were rewarded for their early dominance and attacking threat when Decordova-Reid fired the ball past Alisson and into the net.
The forward had been played in by Lookman, who had been running well between the Liverpool lines, before striking the ball past the Liverpool goalkeeped.
It took the Reds until late on in the first half to find their rhythm after being limited to just one shot in the opening 35 minutes.
The visitors’ first real chance of the game came with five minutes remaining of the first half when Sadio Mane, looking for his first league goal since October 17, headed Curtis Jones’ lofted cross over the bar, with Salah also firing wide minutes later.
Despite Klopp’s defensive problems taking a turn for the worse with Joel Matip being replaced at half-time, Liverpool started to enjoy the majority of possession in the second half.
Makeshift centre-back Jordan Henderson forced Alphonse Areola into a sprawling close-range save after finding space behind the Fulham defensive line as the Reds pushed for an equaliser.
Liverpool were given a way back into the match with just over 10 minutes left, when referee Marriner pointed to the spot after a handball in the wall following a Gini Wijnaldum free-kick.
Salah blasted the subsequent spot-kick low and down the centre, with Areola unable to keep the shot out despite getting a glove to it, to record his 13th goal of the season and secure a late point.