Report and free match highlights as Mohamed Salah condemns Fulham to third-straight defeat as Liverpool move to within four points of top four; fifth-consecutive victory for first time since April 2022 sees Reds close gap on fourth-place Man Utd, who have played two games fewer
Liverpool kept their outside chances of claiming a Champions League place alive as a contentious 1-0 win over Fulham moved them to within four points of fourth-placed Manchester United.
Mohamed Salah was Liverpool’s match-winner as he smashed in his 17th Premier League goal of the season from the penalty spot after Issa Diop was adjudged to have fouled Darwin Nunez. Fulham boss Marco Silva described referee Stuart Atwell’s decision to award the penalty “embarrassing”.
Liverpool were indebted to a smothering save from Alisson as he prevented Carlos Vinicius earning Fulham a point towards the end of the second period, before substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid fired the visitors’ best chance over in stoppage-time.
But Salah’s strike proved enough for Liverpool to secure a fifth successive Premier League victory which lifts them up to fifth. Silva was left seething after a third straight defeat left Fulham in 10th position.
Liverpool: Alisson (8), Alexander-Arnold (7), Konate (7), Van Dijk (7), Tsimikas (6), Fabinho (6), Jones (6), Henderson (6), Salah (8), Nunez (6), Diaz (7)
Subs: Gakpo (5), Robertson (5), Jota (n/a), Milner (n/a), Elliott (n/a)
Fulham: Leno (6), Soares (6), Tosin (6), Diop (4), Robinson (6), Palhinha (6), Lukic (6), Wilson (6), Cairney (5), Willian (5), Vinicius (5)
Subs: Kebano (5), Solomon (5), Decordova-Reid (5), Reed (5), James (n/a
Man of the match: Alisson Becker
“The way they scored the goal, I have to say that is embarrassing,” Silva said. “Today in football to give a penalty like that, after the VAR didn’t take that penalty (away) it is difficult to understand.
“I will not say nothing more because after it will be difficult for me, and I don’t want to create more problems for me. It is difficult to understand that penalty. When Darwin touched the ball, he started to dive himself but after he touched his left leg with Issa.
“Issa told me that it is clear not penalty. The referee made a mistake and the VAR is there to take that decision and not allow the penalty to go on. That’s clear for me.”
Liverpool keep pressure on top-four rivals
While London rivals Tottenham could not withstand the early Anfield onslaught on Sunday, Fulham started well and had the first glimpse of an opener as Harry Wilson’s cross was hacked out of the goalmouth by Virgil van Dijk inside four minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, flourishing in the freedom of his new hybrid role, registered Liverpool first attempt soon after, firing inches wide after neat link-up play with Salah, but the first attempt on target would fall to the visitors, with Carlos Vinicius stinging the palms of Alisson just shy of the quarter hour.
- Darwin Nunez made his first start in six matches and Jordan Henderson and Kostas Tsimikas returned as manager Jurgen Klopp made three changes following Liverpool’s thrilling victory over Tottenham.
- Fulham made five changes from the home defeat to Manchester City as Cedric Soares, Issa Diop, Sasa Lukic, Tom Cairney and Willian started at Anfield.
Thirty-seven minutes of Fulham resistance were ended by a moment of madness from Diop. Having dithered in possession and invited pressure from Nunez, the centre-back compounded his error by recklessly hacking the Liverpool forward down.
Referee Stuart Atwell showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and neither did Salah as he lashed Liverpool in front with an emphatic penalty straight down the middle.
Fulham grew in confidence as Liverpool’s inability to find a second stretched into the second half, but Alisson produced an inspired save at the feet of Vinicius to deny the visitors a share of the spoils as they pressed for an equaliser.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson missed the chance to rubberstamp the victory when he dragged wide late on, and it very nearly proved a costly miss, with Decordova-Reid firing Fulham’s last chance over with virtually the final play.
Klopp salutes five-game winning streak
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “Really pleased with big parts of the game: first half controlling, creating not finishing situations off. The penalty I like a lot because it a counter-pressing situation; Darwin is fully in the situation and gets a pen and Mo finishes it off.
“We then don’t close the game early and we have to fight to the end and we needed Ali (Alisson Becker) obviously, the save from (Carlos) Vinicius was sensational and he was happy about the clean sheet more than anyone. Five wins in a row is super-difficult. It felt it was ages ago we did it and the more I like it.”