Trent’s prompt comeback helps the Reds finish the job; five takeaways from Fulham 1-3 Liverpool

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Sunday’s triumph over Fulham marked Liverpool’s return to Premier League competition, and after their recent performances, it may have been just what the doctor ordered.

A radical reversal of fortunes occurred in the middle, with Wataru Endo, Ryan Gravenberch, and Harvey Elliott replacing Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones, and Dominik Szoboszlai.

It alluded to the recent decline in motivation and output levels as well as the short turnaround time for this week’s games.

Elliott, the former football player for Fulham (or boy, at the time), was the target of the greatest attention and jeers, and to be honest, he didn’t do much to quiet the mob.

Another uncommon start for him, but another instance of misplaced passes, shoddy first touches, and a rolling free-kick straight into the wall prevented him from displaying his “impact sub” style.

Endo was somewhat stronger in the challenge, reasonable with the ball without being metronomic, and always ready for a pass out of the defensive line, but not much more than that. This was an improvement over his previous performance at the base.

But once again, Gravenberch was the main source of disappointment. He doesn’t commit guys out of position, pick up the pace, or maintain possession well enough.

Nevertheless, this midfield three gave the Reds about 70 percent of the possession; our No. 6 completed 93 percent of his passes with success, preventing Fulham from even getting a shot in the second half; and the two No. 8s combined to provide an assist and a goal.

A flawless performance, then?

Fourteen minutes and counting. Liverpool has had to wait that long between goals in open play, from Ryan Gravenberch’s long-range drive to Cody Gakpo’s last-minute winner against Sheffield United.

Between, we managed a penalty against Atalanta in the second leg, drew blanks against Palace, then scored another penalty and a corner against Man United.

In certain of the games, the play had a slow tempo, and in others, the conclusion was much worse.

The most expensive part of our recent collapse, which saw the Reds lose three straight games for the first time since the end of our disastrous run last March and April when we didn’t win in five, was that it coincided to mean we dropped out of one competition and out of the running in another.

With Jota adding a goal from open play later in the game, let’s hope the Reds have moved past their uncertainty and bad luck.

Jurgen Klopp has all five of his senior forwards available for what is almost the first time this season. Since they are all hazardous, have quality, can score, and so on, it can be difficult to decide who should be chosen.

This time around, though, it seems more like a selection conundrum because none of them are in good form, have returned from an ailment, or seem overly light for the job at hand.

However, this time around, there were genuine benefits to be found among the typical annoyances.

Jota’s 100th goal in English football, including his time at Wolves, came from his first goal following an injury.

He was set up by Cody Gakpo, and the Dutchman had a respectable performance, if not particularly dangerous one. He shown his ability to turn and beat a man a few times and managed to pull off the occasional shot this time around.

Salah and Nunez, on the other hand, continued to look excellent off the bench in terms of their timing of runs and final finishes. Are they both eligible to start as substitutes in the midweek derby?

Let’s move on from discussing players who haven’t quite reached their full potential. Trent Alexander-Arnold was excellent at the Cottage and scored a wonderful free kick.

It’s true that Fulham was a bit robotic, a bit passive, and all about awful, so the right-back wasn’t put to the test in their toughest defensive match of the season. Additionally, Trent left before Adama Traore entered the game, which may have been a harder test as he grew weary.

However, he performed admirably for the most part for the task assigned to him, possibly with the exception of failing to close down the original cross, which allowed them to equalize.

However, going forward, this was a lot more like the No. 66 we’ve missed, who played a lot of raking passes from left to right, some zipping ground balls through the Fulham defense when he was in his center position, and a few lovely set-piece crosses into the box.

There’s still more to come; this was a fairly solid comeback from his injury more than an outstanding performance, despite several of his passes falling into that area.

goals both at home and road versus Fulham this season; naturally, his absence has contributed to the team’s lone league assist in 2024. I hope more arrive throughout the course of the following week.

With just a few games remaining, this victory has placed Liverpool equal atop the table, therefore we should be thrilled, excited, hopeful, and bold about our future.

And maybe that’s what will happen if things go well for us in midweek: we’ll go back to focusing on where other people can score points and just hoping that the Reds will contribute what they can.

However, following the last few games, that is clearly not the case—at least not for most supporters, it appears.

If points are all that matter, though, Craven Cottage did a good job. The boss has discovered the magic formula once more, if the primary responsibility is to simply figure out how to win.

Even with little fanfare and little any discernible effect on Liverpool’s chances of winning trophies, the Reds have won two straight games.

Now for the Merseyside derby, where winning is always necessary regardless of the situation. Given their own Sunday afternoon breathing-space-earning success, we will treasure this one considerably more than theirs.

If the Kop wins that, all of their title-chasing optimism might explode again.

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