Liverpool 4-3 Fulham
Premier League (14), Anfield
December 3, 2023
Goals: Leno OG 20′, Mac Allister 38′, Endo 87′, Alexander-Arnold 88′; Wilson 25′, Tete 45′, De Cordova-Reid 80′
Caoimhin Kelleher (out of 10) – 4
It was a big day for Kelleher, as he came in for the injured Alisson, but it’s fair to say that it was a concerning performance.
The Irishman could have done better for Harry Wilson‘s goal, and certainly needed to do more for Kenny Tete’s, and he seemed to unsettle the defence.
He is a huge step down from Alisson, but the hope is that he grows in confidence with more games under his belt.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 (Man of the Match)
Alexander-Arnold was the hero for Liverpool in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Man City, and his remarkable technique was out in force at Anfield.
The 25-year-old opened the scoring with an outrageous free-kick from 30 yards – officially an own goal for Bernd Leno – and he provided drive and quality in the midfield all game.
While his influence waned, including as an out-and-out No. 6 for the last quarter, the boyhood Liverpool fan fired home brilliantly to win it in the dying minutes.
Joel Matip – 6
Matip is enjoying an impressive resurgence this season, but this wasn’t his best showing, with the Reds’ defence looking shaky at times.
The veteran centre-back did make a key interception to thwart Wilson, which was a big contribution, but his lack of pace occasionally looked suspect when Fulham counter-attacked.
Had to go off injured, which is a big concern, given his history of fitness woes.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
While Van Dijk while physically dominant for much of proceedings at Anfield, it shouldn’t be ignored that he was also part of a defence that creaked.
The Liverpool skipper was strong in his all-round game, in fairness, but it could be argued that a little more organisation and focus was needed at times.
Perhaps we just expect too much sometimes, though.
Kostas Tsimikas – 6
Tsimikas has improved by the game recently, enjoying an extended run in the team, and he was solid again here.
The Greek tried to link with Luis Diaz down the left flank, providing overlapping runs, but more consistent end product was needed.
Allowed Bobby De Cordova-Reid to leap above him to head home what looked set to be the winner, but the positives outweighed the negatives for the full-back.
Alexis Mac Allister – 8
How about that for a first-ever Liverpool goal!
Mac Allister made it 2-1 with a stunning long-distance effort, and he was also understated in defensive midfield, providing one good turn of pace when Fulham broke in the first half.
Would still be at his best as a No. 8, in truth, but it looks as though Jurgen Klopp has made his mind up.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 6
After a scintillating start to the season, Szoboszlai’s form has just tailed off slightly recently – but we have high expectations now.
The Hungarian was still an efficient box-to-box presence, hitting the target before half-time, and he covered endless ground at usual.
Has one hell of a shot on him, and came close a number of times.
Ryan Gravenberch – 5
Gravenberch got the nod over Curtis Jones, which was arguably a surprising decision by Klopp, and he proved to be a long way from his best.
On the ball, he was silky, gliding past opponents and proving to be forward-thinking, but his ball retention and defensive efforts weren’t on Jones’ level.
A huge talent, but still adjusting to his manager’s tactics and looked shattered by the time he was substituted.
Mohamed Salah – 5
On a day when Salah was looking to join the 200-goal club at Liverpool, he was subdued for much of the game.
As has been the case a little too often this season, the Egyptian King was wasteful with his final ball, and he simply struggled to enjoy his usual influence.
Missed a sitter late on, which looked costly, but luckily it didn’t matter in the end.
Luis Diaz – 5
With his father sat watching him in the stands at Anfield, Diaz produced a disappointing showing – one that didn’t generate enough end product.
One lovely early touch and shot caught the eye as his best moment, and while he always tried to produce some magic in the attacking third, he was wasteful.
Better games will come – doesn’t quite look as explosive as before the knee injury.
Darwin Nunez – 4
It was Nunez who was preferred to Cody Gakpo in the centre of Liverpool’s attack, but this was a really frustrating performance from him.
When the Uruguayan wasn’t giving possession away cheaply, he was falling to ground too easily, and he blunted the influence of those around him.
Hit the bar when he needed to take less off the shot, but did keep working to be fair, and celebrated the winner joyously with Klopp.
Cody Gakpo (on for Szoboszlai, 64′) – 7
Linked play better than Nunez and was involved in Trent’s winner.
Joe Gomez (on for Mac Allister, 64′) – 6
Solid more than unspectacular, but nothing wrong.
Ibrahima Konate (on for Matip, 68′) – 7
Bit into tackles and used his pace well.
Wataru Endo (on for Gravenberch, 83′) – 8
What a finish to make it 3-3! Brought energy to the team.
Subs not used: Adrian, Quansah, Elliott, Jones, Doak
Jurgen Klopp – 7
This was a frustrating showing by Liverpool, however, and while the manager’s starting lineup looked good on paper, playing Gravenberch instead of Jones didn’t quite work.
Klopp’s substitutions were slightly odd, too – does he always have to bring off Szoboszlai? – but ultimately, he rallied his team and oversaw a priceless win.
That’s now 11 home victories on the bounce this season.