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Nunez saves Liverpool from opening day defeat at Fulham

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool deserved not more than a 2-2 draw in opposition to newly-promoted Fulham in a pulsating begin to their Premier League season on Saturday.

Aleksandar Mitrovic twice put the spectacular hosts forward, however Darwin Nunez got here off the bench to make a huge effect on his Premier League debut.

The Uruguayan, who arrived at Anfield in a deal that might rise to 100 million euros ($102 million) from Benfica, flicked home to degree at 1-1 after which teed up Mohamed Salah for an equaliser 10 minutes from time.

Liverpool’s season had bought off to a flying begin by getting the higher of Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the 2 title contenders.

However, the Reds have been punished for a sluggish efficiency within the first hour in what might show a pricey concession of two factors.

“The best thing about the game was the result,” mentioned Klopp. “We bought a degree from a very dangerous recreation.

“The result was fine, I don’t think we deserved more than that. The performance can be massively improved.”

Mitrovic scored 43 targets in as many video games final season as Fulham romped to the Championship title and gave Liverpool an early warning as he stabbed simply broad inside the primary minute.

Much to Klopp’s frustration on the touchline, the guests didn’t wake from their slumber and have been lastly punished on 32 minutes when Mitrovic outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold on the again publish to move in Kenny Tete’s cross.

“We have to respect Liverpool but of course do our job and trust ourselves,” mentioned Fulham boss Marco Silva. “We did a great first half, almost perfect the way we controlled and blocked. In the second half, we matched them.”

Liverpool flickered into life earlier than the break as Luis Diaz smashed in opposition to the publish from a narrow-angle.

However, it was not till the introduction of the towering presence of Nunez that the Champions League finalists started to pose a persistent menace.

Nunez was at fault when Fulham have been inches away from doubling their lead when he was caught in possession and the ball was fed to Neeskens Kebano, who drilled off the within of the publish.

At the opposite finish, Liverpool’s new striker rapidly made his presence felt as an audacious flick from Salah’s cross was saved by Marek Rodak.

Moments later a reproduction move did ship Nunez’s first Premier League objective as he backheeled in from Salah’s low cross 26 minutes from time.

At that time, there appeared just one winner, however Mitrovic confirmed a stunning fleetness of foot to show Virgil van Dijk, who clipped the Serbian striker contained in the field.

Mitrovic coolly slotted the ensuing penalty low previous Alisson Becker, however Fulham failed to carry out within the last 18 minutes for a well-known win.

Another lengthy ball into the field in direction of Nunez precipitated panic within the Fulham defence and the ball ultimately fell kindly to Salah to attain on the opening weekend of the Premier League for a sixth consecutive season.

Liverpool might even have snatched victory 5 minutes into stoppage time when Jordan Henderson’s long-range strike got here again off the crossbar.

But a degree was the least Fulham deserved as they made a robust begin of their bid to keep away from relegation for a fourth consecutive season when within the high flight.

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