Liverpool’s dreadful run of form continued as they suffered their sixth straight Anfield defeat as relegation-threatened Fulham earned a 1-0 win on Merseyside.
Liverpool came into the game on the backdrop of a much-publicised woeful run of form, and with their Champions League last 16 second-leg against Leipzig to come, Jurgen Klopp opted to make a number of changes to his starting XI, with Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho all left on the bench, while Roberto Firmino was forced to miss out through injury.
It would be Fulham who looked the liveliest in the opening period of the game, with Ademola Lookman looking a particular bright spark down the left for Scott Parker’s side, the former Everton winger seeing an effort blocked by Neco Williams.
On the stroke of half time though, the Cottagers would take a lead that their positive play deserved, Andy Robertson only able to clear an Ivan Cavaleiro free kick to the edge of the box. Mario Lemina beat Mohamed Salah to the ball, before firing a fine strike across Alisson’s goal which nestled into the bottom corner to give the relegation-threatened side the lead.
Liverpool looked to have come out with a bit more intensity at the start of the second half, and they would have been level within three minutes of the restart if it weren’t for an excellent reaction save from Alphonse Areola, the Frenchman keeping out a rasping volley from the left-foot of Diogo Jota following a Williams cross from the right.
Jurgen Klopp called upon Sadio Mane from the bench, and in the 69th minute the Reds number 10 saw a looping header come back off the post, while Xherdhan Shaqiri curled an effort narrowly wide as the champions looked to get back on terms.
Liverpool continued to dominate the ball, but in truth, didn’t exactly put a seige on Areola’s goal, Fulham’s defence being well marshalled by Joachim Andersen as the visitors held on for a well-earned clean sheet and three points.
Speaking afterwards, Jurgen Klopp admitted have ‘never had momentum’ during this most difficult of seasons.
“Fulham will cause us problems – it’s clear,” he told Sky Sports. “They’re in a good moment, they’re a good team. We all agree a team like this should stay in the Premier League.
“There were moments we could have had more of an impact on the game. Conceding that goal before half-time was a massive blow. We tried to react and the boys showed that. In the end we don’t score goals and that’s a big problem.
“We never had a momentum in the season. You can see it’s still in the boys. They still have it all but at the moment can’t show it. It would be a masterpiece to find out how we change that overnight.”
Asked if Fulham ‘wanted it more’, Klopp didn’t feel that desire was the issue: “The winner is always right. My boys wanted it. It’s easy to judge they have won it so wanted it more. I don’t think that’s the problem.
“I don’t have to stand here and say we’re fighting for this or that.”
The result leaves Liverpool in eighth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who face Everton on Monday evening, the Reds having played at least one game more than all the sides around them.