A disappointed Jürgen Klopp said “the most positive thing was the result” after Liverpool could only draw 2-2 at newly-promoted Fulham. Despite the £85m signing Darwin Núñez’s contribution as a goalscoring substitute, the Liverpool manager felt his team had made an escape from Craven Cottage.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s two goals were canceled out by equalizing strikes from Núñez and Mohamed Salah, but Klopp pronounced himself as a “12” on a 1-10 scale of disappointment. “The performance was a defeat,” Klopp said. “The result wasn’t a defeat but the performance was. That’s why we have to figure out what happened. If we win today and not learn anything it’s much worse than a point and not learning the right things. But it wasn’t us.
“We started exactly the opposite way than we wanted. We are used to more dominance and we couldn’t get that because we played just not good enough, not quick enough, not precise enough.”
Klopp was happy to credit Fulham for their part in a highly entertaining match, saying: “Don’t take anything away from Fulham, they did really well.” He admitted that Liverpool “couldn’t find a way into the game” and it “didn’t feel good because we are used to more dominance.”
The Fulham manager, Marco Silva, said his side “deserved more than a draw. “I think we matched them from the first minute until the last.” While congratulating his team on a fine overall performance, in which new signings João Palhinha and Andreas Pereira impressed in midfield, Silva singled out Mitrovic for praise.
“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.”
The Fulham captain, Tim Ream, echoed his manager’s thoughts when saying: “We knew that if we could be aggressive and take the game to them, they would find it difficult.”
Beyond dropping early-season points, an injury to Thiago Alcântara added to Liverpool’s problems with Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones having each missed the start of the season. Klopp suggested that the Spaniard’s hamstring issue would still not be enough to push Liverpool into the transfer market.
“I have said that we don’t need a midfielder because we have enough,” said Klopp. “A transfer must make sense now and in the long term. We have eight midfielders, it’s not that we lack midfielders, they are just getting injured. But this is not a good situation. I don’t like it all. For sure we have to think how we react but not panic.”
Núñez’s impact at least lifted Klopp’s mood. “You need this extra, this difference,” said the manager of the Uruguayan forward. “He makes it difficult for opponents, [scored] a great goal and could have scored another one. He is involved in a lot of situations which is really good.”