Liverpool vs Fulham. Premier League.
Report and highlights as Liverpool secure dramatic last-gasp win against Fulham; Reds score two goals in as many minutes late on as strikes from Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold earn thrilling win at Anfield; Jurgen Kloop's men stay two points behind league leaders Arsenal
Sunday 3 December 2023 17:57, UK
Trent Alexander-Arnold was Liverpool's hero as his 88th-minute strike secured Jurgen Klopp's side a dramatic 4-3 victory against Fulham at Anfield.
Liverpool twice took the lead in a thrilling first half, but Fulham responded on both occasions. Alexander-Arnold's stunning free-kick went in off Bernd Leno (20) but Harry Wilson (24) brought the visitors level.
Alexis Mac Allister's spectacular strike (38) restored the Reds' advantage, but Fulham hit back again as VAR awarded Kenny Tete's equaliser (45+3).
Liverpool pushed for a winner in the second half, Darwin Nunez denied by the crossbar, but they were hit by a sucker punch in the 80th minute as substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid headed home Tom Cairney's cross.
However, it was Liverpool's turn to respond as two goals in as many minutes from Wataru Endo (87) and Alexander-Arnold (88), who scored his side's equaliser last week against Manchester City, completed a late turnaround.
The last-gasp win sees Klopp's side keep pace in the Premier League title race. They move up to second ahead of Man City's clash with Tottenham and stay two points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Meanwhile, a deflated Fulham sit 14th after a seventh defeat of the season.
Liverpool match-winner Trent Alexander Arnold:
"I anticipated where the ball was going to drop and thought just get it down, get a shot off and try to hit the target.
"I had one a bit earlier where I was disappointed with a volley in a similar area.
"I just wanted to hit the target and use the bodies in the box as an advantage.
"It found a way into the back of the net, and you can see by the celebration how much it meant."
There was action at Anfield from the very first whistle. Bernd Leno spilled Dominik Szoboszlai's powerful drive from the edge of the box and Luis Diaz pounced on the ball before being brought down by the Fulham goalkeeper, allowing Mohamed Salah to tap into the empty net. However, the flag went up against Diaz and a VAR check confirmed the decision.
The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute in stunning style. A week after scoring against Manchester City, Alexander-Arnold produced an exquisite free-kick, whipping a brilliant free-kick over the wall, off the bar and into the net from 25 yards.
Liverpool: Kelleher (6), Alexander-Arnold (9), Matip (6), Van Dijk (6), Tsimikas (6), Gravenberch (6), Mac Allister (7), Szoboszlai (6) Salah (6), Nunez (6), Diaz (7).
Subs used: Gakpo (6), Gomez (6), Konate (6), Endo (7).
Fulham: Leno (7), Tete (7), Bassey (6), Ream (7), Robinson (7); Reed (6), Palhinha (7), Wilson (7), Pereira (6), Iwobi (7), Jimenez (7).
Subs used: Cairney (7), Willian (6), Reid (7), Castagne (6), Vinicius (n/a).
Player of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It was a moment of magic which Liverpool would have expected to have kicked on from, but Fulham responded brilliantly with Antonee Robinson teeing up Wilson to bring the scores level from close range.
It was going to take something special to overshadow Alexander-Arnold's goal, but Mac Allister pulled it off, smashing a powerful half-volley into the top corner from 30 yards to restore Liverpool's advantage.
But Fulham hit back again with Tete latching onto Raul Jimenez's flick and poking it past Caoimhin Kelleher. The flag went up for offside but VAR overturned the decision with Nunez playing Tete onside to bring Fulham level again.
There were chances at both end before the break as Ream, who converted from close range, was correctly denied by the offside flag before Leno smartly kept out Salah's volley at his near post to end a thrilling first half.
Fulham continued to be aggressive after the interval as they continued to send white shirts forward, but that left plenty of space for Liverpool to break into. Salah burst into the Fulham half before playing in Nunez, who sent a strike crashing into the crossbar.
It was yet another game where Nunez's contribution was minimal as he bundled the ball wide after being set up by Salah again.
Then came the sucker punch as substitute De Cordova-Reid out-jumped Kostas Tsimikas at the far post.
Endo then had a header saved and Salah fired over the rebound before the Japan international stroked home the equaliser, setting up Alexander-Arnold to deliver the final blow.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to Sky Sports:
"I don't think I ever saw a game with this amount of beautiful goals. But because we were a bit dumb we almost gave it away. In the first half when we gave the goals away the defending was awful.
"Football is decided in details. We were really good in the game and played a lot of good stuff but it was 2-2 at half time and deserved.
"They were there and scored a wonderful goal and it was 3-2 and everyone in a Fulham shirt thought that was it maybe and then we throw back with two worldies.
"We changed system a couple of times. There were tight moments, a lot of credit to Fulham, they had a really good idea, when we lost momentum they were there to cause us problems."
Fulham boss Marco Silva:
"A great Premier League match. It's clear we deserved much more.
"We showed the character and personality to come back twice at Anfield, and to be able to score the third goal in a very good style.
"I'm really proud of them, definitely. The way we played, the way we matched Liverpool. The way we showed the spirit.
"It was great, great goals every time. Normally that doesn't happen. They scored four great goals from long distance. But the way we reacted every time from those situations. Even we were able to lead the score 3-2 for part of the second half.
"Of course I am proud. We didn't deserve the result, definitely in my opinion. We are taking many [positives] but unfortunately not points. But this is something we will take into the future."
Analysis from former Norwich and West Ham striker Dean Ashton on Sky Sports News
"It's all smiles for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp, Trent Alexander-Arnold and the players now, but they got away with one.
"Fulham were excellent in their approach at Anfield. They were really dangerous on the counter and will be wondering how they haven't come away with anything.
"Liverpool struggled for large parts and it has taken four unbelievable goals for them to win the game.
"Alexander-Arnold's free-kick, Mac Allister's stunning strike, Endo's fabulous finish and then the unbelievable volley at the end from Trent have got Liverpool over the line.
"They were fortunate and they will know that, but it is what top teams do. They found a way to win when not at their best and that is definitely what teams who challenge for the title do.
"You could see by the reaction at the end of the game as to how big that result could be for Liverpool."
Former Norwich and West Ham striker Dean Ashton on Sky Sports News
"This feels like the start of the transition of Alexander-Arnold going from a right-back to a midfielder.
"Not only a midfield player who just drops deep and helps dictate play with a wide variety of passes, but a midfielder who gets in the box and scores goals.
"It's unfair to compare him to Steven Gerrard but Gerrard to did start deep and got further and further up the pitch as his career went on.
"I don't see why Trent can't have a similar influence in terms of goals. The technique he has and the way he can finish, there's no reason why he shouldn't play further forward and get more goals.
"Especially as Liverpool have Joe Gomez, who can play right-back. That could free Alexander-Arnold up to get up the pitch and influence games even more."
Liverpool match-winner Trent Alexander-Arnold:
“It was a game of massive ups and downs.
"Leading and then we were clawed back twice. We were losing with five minutes to go but got the equaliser and then the winner.
"It was an unbelievable game filled with emotion and we are just really happy to get the win."
Analysis from Sky Sports' Joe Shread:
With Liverpool chasing a late winner, Jurgen Klopp raised eyebrows with his decision to bring Wataru Endo on for Ryan Gravenberch.
But the idea behind replacing a No 8 with a holding midfielder was clear. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had already been moved into that holding role, was now free to play as an advanced midfielder.
That Klopp sought to free Alexander-Arnold from his defensive responsibilities when Liverpool needed a goal was telling. It's now clear that, along with Mohamed Salah, the right-back is the one that makes their attack tick.
Dean Ashton, speaking on Sky Sports News, said: "It's unfair to compare him to Steven Gerrard but Gerrard did start deep and got further up the pitch as his career went on.
"I don't see why Trent can't have a similar influence."
Alexander-Arnold was unlucky to see his free-kick recorded as a Bernd Leno own goal but he ensured his name appeared on the scoresheet with a Gerrard-esque finish that secured the points as the seconds ticked down.
Klopp's substitutions paid off. It may not be long before Alexander-Arnold's midfield forays become a full-time assignment.
Fulham went 3-2 ahead through Bobby De Cordova-Reid in the 80th minute - the latest Liverpool have ever fallen behind in a Premier League match that they went on to win.
Liverpool have won each of their opening seven home matches of a top-flight season for a seventh time, and third of the Premier League era, after 2019-20 (first 17) and 2020-21 (seven).
This was the first time Liverpool both scored and conceded 2+ goals in the first half of a Premier League game at Anfield since September 2020 v Leeds, and the first time Fulham did so home or away in the division since October 2018 at Cardiff.
Fulham are winless in seven away Premier League games (drawing three and losing four), losing back-to-back games on the road in the league for the first time since April/May last season.
It's a trip to Sheffield United next for Liverpool on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm, before they fill the 12.30pm kick-off slot again when facing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Fulham host Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, kick-off 7.30pm. It's then a home clash with West Ham on Sunday, kick-off 2pm.