Klopp, Jokanovic on wild Liverpool opener: ‘Absurd situation’

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It wouldn’t be a surprise if Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had differing opinions on the offside call that denied the Cottagers a goal and allowed Liverpool a quick restart goal against the celebrating visitors at Anfield on Sunday.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 2-0 Fulham ]

But Klopp’s reaction to the offside call against Aleksandar Mitrovic wasn’t too strong, and Jokanovic was raging after the match.

The Fulham manager labeled the call “disrespectful” to Fulham and its supporters. From The Liverpool Echo:

“The damage is done,” Jokanovic said. “I don’t want to say Liverpool didn’t deserve to win the game. We did not defend well against the counter-attack but it shouldn’t have happened. It is an absurd situation.”

The margin was very thin, with Mitrovic perhaps a hair off. And Alisson Becker quickly pulled the ball out of the goal and got it moving (or kept it moving, as NBC studio analyst Kyle Martino pointed out that it never stopped).

Thirteen seconds later, Mohamed Salah had it in the back of the Fulham net.

Klopp was nonchalant about the call, ironic given the froth expected should the call have gone against him. Such is football.

“I saw the Fulham goal once,” Klopp said. “Was it offside? Against Arsenal we scored a clearer goal and didn’t get it. We cannot change it. The reaction was brilliant from us.”

It’s the quick restart that should probably be under more scrutiny than the offside call, as there aren’t too many offside restarts played that quickly at any spot on the field (let alone the matter of whether the ball moved).

Liverpool will be atop the Premier League table should Chelsea fail to beat Everton and Manchester City lose to United.

Liverpool eases past Fulham after controversial goal

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  • Mitrovic goal ruled offside, Salah quickly answers [ VIDEO ]
  • Shaqiri makes it 2-0

Liverpool went atop the Premier League table for the moment following a 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah scored 13 seconds after a Fulham goal was ruled offside, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds moved to 30 points.

That’s one point more than Man City, who hosts Manchester United at 11:30 a.m. ET, and three ahead of Chelsea ahead of the Blues 9:15 a.m. ET meeting with Everton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first dozen minutes went as expected, as Liverpool mostly did what it wanted in attack. Xherdan Shaqiri was the closest to finding a finish with a 13th minute drive from the top of the box.

Mohamed Salah forced Sergio Rico into an in-tight save in the 16th, as the opener looked certain to arrive any moment. Rico stopped Salah again in the 22nd.

Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon turned Virgil Van Dijk inside out but blasted a shot inches wide of the far post for the Cottagers best chance of the half. Andre Schurrle was stymied by Alisson Becker before the half-hour mark.

Shaqiri missed with a 35th minute bid for the near post.

Then Fulham went from ahead to behind in a flash. Mitrovic headed a cross behind Alisson, and was quickly ruled offside (The margin was thin). Alisson restarted play, and Salah blazed down the right wing for a goal.

The change in fortunes was dramatic, and took 13 seconds.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Reds got a second goal in the 53rd minute when Shaqiri met a terrific back post cross from Andy Robertson with a composed finish across goal.

Liverpool was very much in control, but failed to add to its goal differential.

WATCH: Fulham has goal ruled offside, quickly concedes

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Script, flipped. And then flipped right back.

Underdog Fulham took a surprise 1-0 lead over Liverpool on Sunday when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a late first half cross past Alisson Becker.

[ STREAM: 1st half replay, Second half live ]

But the offside flag was up, probably incorrectly, and the quick-thinking Liverpool netminder made Fulham pay for its brief celebration.

Mitrovic’s header crossed the line at 40:33, and the whistle went at 40:35.

At 40:46, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah had the ball in the net at the other end of the pitch.

Wow.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Fulham

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Fulham’s leaky defense meets Liverpool’s firepower at Anfield on Sunday (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Xherdan Shaqiri starts in the midfield for Liverpool, who keeps James Milner, Jordan Henderson, and Naby Keita on the bench.

Sergio Rico starts in goal for Fulham, and should be quite busy.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Salah, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Henderson, Sturridge, Moreno.

Fulham: Rico, Christie, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand, Anguissa, Chambers, Cairney, Schurrle, Mitrovic, Sessegnon. Subs: Bettinelli, Fosu-Mensah, Ream, Seri, Johansen, Kebano, Vietto.

Three things we learned: Arsenal v. Liverpool

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Arsenal and Liverpool clashed in north London on Saturday with a 1-1 draw enough to see Jurgen Klopp‘s men momentarily go top of the Premier League table as they remain unbeaten this season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Unai Emery‘s side huffed and puffed and gave a good account of themselves against a fellow top six team with Alexandre Lacazette‘s equalizer a thing of beauty. There is still plenty of work for the Spanish coach to do in the weeks and months ahead but this will be another positive step forward.

What did we learn from an end-to-end encounter at the Emirates?


ANOTHER BIG STEP FORWARD FOR ARSENAL

The Gunners deservedly grabbed a point on Saturday and the progression under Emery is clear for all to see when you compare this game against Liverpool to their opening two games of the season against Manchester City and Chelsea. Emery has now made Arsenal more solid defensively and they always carried a threat going forward against Liverpool. Overall there is now a better balance about the team. If you’d said to anyone connected with Arsenal at the start of the season that they would be unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions entering November and in fourth place in the Premier League, just four points off top spot, they would have snapped your hand off. Lucas Torreira epitomizes this new-look Arsenal with the diminutive Uruguayan midfielder shielding the back four, pressing Liverpool’s midfield and always looking to spring attacks with his slick passing. He gives them a solid base to launch their attacks.

Heading into games against Wolves and Bournemouth next up, Arsenal will hope to take care of business before back-to-back games against Manchester United and Tottenham in the space of four days in December. That will be the next big test to see how far Emery’s men have come. Right now, everything is heading in the right direction and their progress is clear.


DIRECT LIVERPOOL TRIED TO BYPASS ARSENAL PRESS

I’m not saying Liverpool are a long ball team every week, I’m just saying that on Saturday that’s how they played. The most joy Liverpool had going forward was when they went direct and got the ball up to Roberto Fimrino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as quickly as possible. A clipped ball over the top found Fimrino who hit the bar in the first half, with Mane finishing off the rebound which was incorrectly given offisde. If there was ever a decision which showcased why VAR most arrive in the Premier League next season, it was this one. Anyway, with the pace of Mane and Salah on the break, the key from Klopp was to bypass the likes of Mesut Ozil and Torreira, especially with Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita out injured and Fabinho looking a little shaky in midfield. It was a composed away display and although Liverpool will be upset to let in a goal late on after taking the lead, Klopp will be happy to leave the Emirates with a point.

Liverpool have now drawn against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea and won away at Tottenham in their opening 11 games of the Premier League season. They’re top of the table and Klopp’s men look composed, as they have done for much of this season as they’ve contended with injuries and look much better defensively than in previous campaigns. Against Arsenal they hit the post, had a good goal disallowed and Virgil Van Dijk went close on several occasions and although Arsenal did threaten at times, Liverpool who were in second gear for most of the game. Klopp’s record against the rest of the top six has always been good since he arrived in England, with dropped points against the so-called smaller teams causing problems in the pursuit of the Premier League title. Liverpool’s status as one of the Premier League’s title favorites remains intact.


GOALKEEPING BLUNDERS COSTLY

At both ends of the pitch Alisson and Bernd Leno will be disappointed with the goals they conceded. Both came and flapped at crosses during the game which almost saw them concede, but on Liverpool’s goal Leno was caught pushing a harmless cross back into danger when he probably should have stood back and let one of his defenders clear. Instead he knocked it into James Milner‘s path and Liverpool led.

In the first half Alisson did something similar but Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t make him pay, while he was then caught out a little on Lacazette’s brilliant equalizer. It’s true that Lacazette finished superbly from a tight angle when everyone expected him to cross, but did Alisson need to rush off his line and try to get to that ball? Probably not. Leno and Alisson are new to the Premier League and they showed that on Saturday.