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Men’s Football Reds respond to Arsenal victory with win at Craven Cottage

Fulham 1-3 Liverpool
by Gene Sylvester
at Craven Cottage

LIVERPOOL travelled to West London in the knowledge that anything other than a win could see them slip out of the title race following Arsenal’s victory at Wolves on Saturday evening, but Jurgen Klopp’s troops looked back to their clinical best as they ran out 3-1 winners against their hosts Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Liverpool team that took to the field on Sunday afternoon boasted no less than six changes to the lineup that started the game against Crystal Palace at Anfield a week earlier and three of those drafted into the starting lineup made it onto the scoresheet.

“We made these changes because we were 100% convinced we had to before the players gave me the obvious sign that they were done.” expressed Klopp following his team’s victory.

Following Liverpool’s opener, Fulham had pegged Liverpool back in first half stoppage time through an unlikely source in Timothy Castagne. 

It was another full-back, Jack Robinson, that started the move down Fulham’s left, swinging a cross into the box that made its way to Alex Iwobi at the far post. 

The Nigerian international recycled the ball back into the penalty area for Rodrigo Muniz whose header cannoned off Jarel Quansah’s head away from goal but the Belgian international was first to the loose ball, firing home past Allison Becker from 15 yards to draw the home side level before the break.

Liverpool had gone ahead in the 31st minute of the game courtesy of a trademark Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick on his return to the starting lineup following a lengthy spell out and a couple of substitute appearances during his return to fitness.

An earlier free-kick in a similar position had seen Harvey Elliott’s effort come to nothing as Alexander-Arnold stepped aside for the ex-Fulham man to stake a claim for a goal against his former club.

The Liverpool vice captain pulled rank for the second free-kick and promptly planted his effort high into the top left hand corner of Bernd Leno’s net.

“Yes, great free-kick from Trent (Alexander-Arnold). He can do this from time to time.” beamed the Liverpool coach.

The second half was much more convincing from the visitors as they added two more goals to their tally without reply.

Ryan Gravenberch was named in the starting lineup for the first time in five matches and repaid the manager’s faith with a 53rd minute strike from just inside the box that curled around Leno’s dive and into the net via the upright.

The opportunity came about following a misplaced cross field pass from Iwobi that was intercepted by ex Fulham man Harvey Elliott who then fed his dutch teammate to put Liverpool back in front.

“Their right hand-side was open for the counter attack and it was something that we had planned to explore, but we gave the ball away and they scored.” bemoaned Fulham boss Marco Silva.

The game was wrapped up in the 72nd minute when another returnee to the starting lineup, Diogo Jota, ran clear of the Fulham defence, latching onto a Cody Gakpo pass and slotting the ball under the dive of Leno to make it 3-1.

The Liverpool boss was pleased to see his players returning to the starting lineup as well as others returning to form.

“It’s super cool to have Diogo back not only because of the goal but also his overall performance. It is as important to have Cody Gakpo back. He wasn’t injured but he has struggled recently but he is now physically there and holds up the ball so well.”

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