It was presented as a simple start to the season for Liverpool, which however could only draw 2-2 at Fulham, this Saturday in a first day of the Premier League where Chelsea and Tottenham beat Everton respectively (1- 0) and Southampton (4-1).
Aleksandar Mitrovic put Fulham ahead on two occasions in a game that changed with the entry of Uruguayan Darwin Núñez, who came to Liverpool’s rescue.
The Serbian signed a brace (32 and 72 penalties), but the ‘Reds’ managed to recover thanks to Núñez (64, 1-1) and the Egyptian Mohamed Salah (2-2), assisted by the Uruguayan.
The first minutes of the match passed under the control of Fulham, who threatened the Brazilian Alisson Becker’s goal. A cross from the Dutchman Kenny Tete found Mitrovic, who beat his mark to open the scoring (1-0).
Before the break, Liverpool was able to equalize thanks to a shot from Colombian Luis Díaz (39), which crashed into the goal post defended by Slovakian Marek Rodak.
In the second half, the Spanish-Brazilian Thiago Alcántara demanded the assistance of the Liverpool medical team and was finally replaced by Harvey Elliot (51). Jurgen Klopp took the opportunity to also replace the Brazilian Roberto Firmino, starter in the ‘Red’ attack for the newcomer Darwin Núñez.
Less than fifteen minutes later, the Uruguayan had already made his debut in the Premier League. After a first shot was saved from point-blank range by Rodak, a filtered pass from James Milner connected with Núñez who this time did manage to pierce the local goal (1-1).
With Liverpool more concerned about the rival goal than their own, Mitrovic stood in the ‘Red’ area and was shot down by the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, an action that resulted in a penalty that the Serbian himself converted (72, 2 -1).
Again behind on the scoreboard but more incisive in attack, Núñez received a ball in the area that he gave to Salah to score the final tie (2-2). This is the sixth consecutive Premier League season in which the Egyptian has managed to score on matchday one.
Both Fulham’s Congolese Neeskens Kebano (57) and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (90+5) made powerful shots that hit the posts and could have tipped the game in one of the two sides.
“The result is fine, I don’t think we deserved more than that. The performance can be improved a lot,” Liverpool’s German coach Jürgen Klopp summed up.
– The ‘Spurs’, leaders –
Another great contender for the title, Chelsea, began the league season with a 1-0 victory at Everton, with a penalty converted by the Italian-Brazilian Jorginho at 45+8, just before half-time.
Despite two good chances at the start of the second half (Demarai Gray in the 48th minute, Abdoulaye Doucouré four minutes later), Everton hardly bothered the ‘Blues’, where the defense was very solid, with their new central defender Kalidou Koulibaly at side of Thiago Silva and César Azpilicueta.
“A win is a win, that’s the most important thing, but we have to improve,” said coach Thomas Tuchel.
In the provisional leadership, Tottenham was placed this Saturday by a better goal difference thanks to its 4-1 victory at home against Southampton.
Ryan Sessegnon (21), Eric Dier (31) and Dejan Kulusevski (63), in addition to a goal against Mohammed Salisu (61), allowed Tottenham to score, which however had started the duel losing, when Southampton advanced in the 12th through James Ward-Prowse.
In the rest of the matches, the historic Nottingham Forest returned 23 years later to the English first division and did so with a defeat, falling 2-0 in Newcastle
Bournemouth also won 2-0 against Aston Villa, in his case guided by an early goal from Colombian Jefferson Lerma in minute 2.
At Elland Road, Leeds won 2-1 at home against Wolverhampton, who had gone ahead on the scoreboard but ended up defeated on this first day.