Darwin Nunez dazzles on debut as Liverpool survive Fulham scare

Jurgen Klopp's team fight for draw at Craven Cottage after Nunez and Salah score

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Liverpool had to settle for a point on the opening day of their 2022-23 Premier League campaign after battling to a 2-2 draw at Fulham on Saturday.

New signing Darwin Nunez and the ever-reliable Mohamed Salah saved the day for Jurgen Klopp's team after Aleksandar Mitrovic gave the hosts the lead twice at Craven Cottage.

Liverpool, runners-up last season, had the unenviable task of beginning the new season against a newly-promoted side giving it their all in their first game back in the top flight.

Their season had got off to a flying start by getting the better of Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the two title contenders.

However, the Reds were punished for a sluggish performance in the first hour in what could prove a costly concession of two points.

As the Reds struggled early on, the Cottagers took the lead in the 32nd minute.

Kenny Tete sent in a deep cross to the far post where Mitrovic beat Trent Alexander-Arnold to head past Alisson.

Nunez had to wait for his chance to get on the field as he started on the bench. But he made an impact soon after he came on in the second half, levelling with a brilliant flicked finish just after the hour mark.

But Fulham soon took the lead again. Mitrovic went down under a challenge from Virgil van Dijk in the box and stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

Liverpool, however, were not ready to give up. They levelled again with less than 10 minutes remaining after Alexander-Arnold crossed from the right to the centre of the box where Nunez - rather unselfishly - tapped down for Salah to score the equaliser.

Klopp had backed Salah to deliver in the new season after signing a new long-term contract at Anfield. And the Egyptian star rose to the occasion to salvage a point for his team.

After the match, Klopp refused to hug his players after a disappointing performance.

"You can't always hug the boys - we do that usually when they deserve it," Klopp told broadcaster BT Sport. "You start the game in a specific way which was the opposite to how we wanted to start - really, completely opposite.

"We got a point for a really bad game by my side, and now it's a question of how did it happen. I said it to my colleagues, the attitude was not right in the beginning, then we wanted to fight back but you don't find it easy anymore."

Things had earlier gone from bad to worse for the Reds. Liverpool, already burdened by a big injury list going into the match with eight first-team squad players out, saw Thiago pull up early in the second half.

The midfielder went off after briefly receiving treatment and holding the back of his thigh.

The Reds' injury list includes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Diogo Jota (thigh), Curtis Jones (calf), goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher (groin) and Kostas Tsimikas (knock). Also, Ibrahima Konate injured a knee in the friendly against Strasbourg on Sunday.

Updated: August 06, 2022, 2:42 PM
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