Fulham fall victim to fortress Anfield as Liverpool underline title credentials

Stunning: Liverpool struck late to beat Fulham on Sunday (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Stunning: Liverpool struck late to beat Fulham on Sunday (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

To doubt Liverpool’s pedigree at Anfield is to make a major miscalculation.

Flawless at home this season and with one Premier League defeat in their last 48 there, they trailed Fulham 3-2 with three minutes to go but then scored two in as many minutes to win 4-3 and leapfrog Manchester City into second.

As good as Fulham were at pressing and counter-attacking with intent, Liverpool were better — Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister particularly dangerous for a side whose title charge is alive because of comebacks like this.

Home comforts: Klopp's side are almost unbeatable at home (PA)
Home comforts: Klopp's side are almost unbeatable at home (PA)

Jurgen Klopp’s side made the breakthrough when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s outstanding free-kick crashed off the crossbar and into the net via the back of an unfortunate Bernd Leno, who had already been clattered by Luis Diaz and had a bandage round his head to show for it.

Fulham were hurt now — hurt by an own goal that had them behind — but self-medicated by scoring through Harry Wilson, who struck against his former club from Antonee Robinson’s sumptuous through-ball.

Liverpool came into this encounter having scored eight goals in their last three games, and they weren’t about to stop there. Mac Allister picked up a loose ball, took once glance up up, and thundered a magnificent volley into the net from range, which bent away from Leno and had the German goalkeeper sprawling but nowhere close to preventing it. It was audacious to take it on, and outrageous to pull it off.

But Fulham pulled themselves back level again when Raul Jimenez knocked on and Kenny Tete — returning from injury — lurked to stab past Caoimhin Kelleher, who should have done better.

2-2 at the break, this encounter at Anfield took 35 second-half minutes to spring back into life, but what a finale there was when it did.

Substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid stooped at the back post to head Fulham into the lead from Willian’s cross. Liverpool, for seven minutes at least, looked at though they were about to lose at home in the Premier League for the first time since Leeds beat them 2-1 in October last year.

Fulham fell victim to fortress Anfield on Sunday (AP)
Fulham fell victim to fortress Anfield on Sunday (AP)

But Klopp has instilled in Liverpool a never-say-die attitude, particularly at their fortress, Anfield, which serves them well time and time again. They found something from nothing once more.

Substitute Wataru Endo, the summer signing from Stuttgart, received Mohamed Salah’s lay-off and curled an exquisite shot into the top corner for an 87th-minute equaliser. Liverpool had their reprieve and from an unlikely source.

And within a minute, it got even sweeter for the hosts and more bitter for the visitors as Alexander-Arnold — a man possessed in an incredible all-round performance — took a loose bouncing ball and cannoned a stinging volley which flew into the bottom corner with peerless precision. It was another belter from Liverpool. Leno, again, could do nothing.

For a brief time, Fulham had dreamt of pulling off the remarkable. But then Liverpool woke up, produced the spectacular, and ensured they did not. What mentality they have. You start to wonder whether it could deliver them the title.