A disappointed Jurgen Klopp said “the most positive thing was the result” after Liverpool were only able to draw 2-2 at newly promoted Fulham. Despite the £85million that Darwin Núñez contributed as a goal scorer, the Liverpool manager felt his team had escaped Craven Cottage.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s two goals were canceled out by equalizing strikes from Nuñez and Mohamed Salah, but Klopp called himself a “12” on a 1-10 scale of disappointment. “The performance was a defeat,” Klopp said. “The result was not a defeat, but the performance was. That’s why we need to find out what happened. If we win today and don’t learn anything, that’s much worse than a point and not learning the right things. But it wasn’t us.
“We started exactly the other way around than we wanted. We’re used to more dominance and we couldn’t get that because we just weren’t playing well enough, not fast enough, not precise enough.”
Klopp was happy to thank Fulham for their part in a very entertaining match, saying: “Don’t take anything from Fulham, they have done a really good job.” He admitted Liverpool “couldn’t find their way around the game” and it “didn’t feel right because we’re used to more dominance.”
Fulham manager Marco Silva said his side deserved “more than a draw. I think we matched them from the first minute to the last.” While congratulating his team on a fine overall performance, with the new signings João Palhinha and Andreas Pereira impressed in midfield, Silva Mitrovic praised.
“It would have been enough even if he hadn’t scored,” Silva said. “I have to congratulate everyone from [goalkeeper] Marek [Rodak] to Mitro, but the work he did without the ball this afternoon was fantastic.”
Fulham captain Tim Ream echoed his manager’s thoughts when he said: “We knew if we could be aggressive and bring the game to them they would find it difficult.”
As well as losing points at the start of the season, an injury to Thiago Alcântara added to Liverpool’s problems, with Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones each missing the start of the season. Klopp suggested the Spaniard’s hamstring problem still wouldn’t be enough to push Liverpool into the transfer market.
“I said we don’t need a midfielder because we have enough,” Klopp said. “A transfer has to make sense now and in the long term. We have eight midfielders, it’s not that we’re missing midfielders, they just get injured. But this is not a good situation. I don’t like it all. We definitely need to think about how we react, but don’t panic.”
At least the impact of Núñez improved Klopp’s mood. “You need this extra, this difference,” said the Uruguayan attacker’s manager. “He makes it difficult for the opponents, [scored] a great goal and could have scored another. He’s involved in a lot of situations, which is very good.”