Fulham 2-2 Liverpool: Nunez and Salah spare Reds after Mitrovic double
Darwin Nunez scored one goal and set up an equaliser for Mohamed Salah as Liverpool twice came from behind draw 2-2 at Fulham in their first Premier League game of the season.
Aleksandar Mitrovic headed top-flight new boys Fulham into a deserved first-half lead, but Nunez came off the bench to equalise at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Mitrovic restored the Cottagers' lead with a penalty after he was upended by Virgil van Dijk with 18 minutes remaining, but Salah poked in from close range after Nunez laid the ball into his path to salvage a point before Jordan Henderson hit the woodwork in stoppage time.
It is a record six consecutive seasons Salah has scored in Liverpool's opening match of a Premier League season, but they did not do enough to win it and also lost Thiago Alcantara to a hamstring injury.
Fulham were much better side in the first half and deservedly took a 32nd-minute lead, when Mitrovic rounded off a slick move by rising above Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back post to powerfully head home Kenny Tete's inviting cross.
Liverpool looked flat, but Luis Diaz came close to equalising before half-time when he rattled the far post with his left foot from inside the penalty area.
Nunez and Harvey Elliott replaced the ineffective Roberto Firmino and an injured Thiago six minutes into the second half.
Things almost went from bad to worse for Jurgen Klopp's side when Neeskens Kebano's venomous drive struck the post, before Marek Rodak denied Nunez from close range as the game opened up.
Nunez levelled 64 minutes in, though, benefiting from a stroke of luck as he failed to make contact with Salah's cross attempting a flicked finish, but the ball struck Tosin Adarabioyo before going in off the striker's foot.
Diaz and Nunez had opportunities to put Liverpool in front, but Mitrovic restored Fulham's lead from the spot against the run of play.
Salah spared Liverpool's blushes with 10 minutes go, when he was left with a simple finish after Nunez had the awareness to set him up following an Alexander-Arnold pass and Henderson almost snatched all three points when he hit the crossbar.
What does it mean? Nunez rescues rusty Reds
This looked like being a tough start for Fulham back in the big time, but Liverpool could have had no complaints if Marco Silva's impressive side had pulled off a shock win.
Last season's runners-up raised their game in the second half, though, lifted by the introduction of big-money signing Nunez.
The Merseyside club have gained 115 Premier League points from losing positions under Klopp, the most of any team since the German took charge in October 2015.
Livewire Nunez makes instant impact
Nunez had to be patient as Firmino was given the nod to start, but the Uruguay striker wasted no time in making an impact in London after also scoring in a substitute appearance in the Community Shield win over Manchester City.
He showed why the Reds splashed out to sign him from Benfica following Sadio Mane's departure, hitting the target with three of his four shots and providing an assist from one of his two key passes.
Nunez is the first player to both score and assist on his Premier League debut for Liverpool.
Mitrovic shows Premier quality
Serbia international Mitrovic has had to contend with talk that he cannot cut in the Premier League, having only scored three times when Fulham were relegated in the 2020-21 season.
Mitrovic scored a staggering 43 goals as the Cottagers won the Championship last year and he was a real handful against the Reds, helping himself to a double.
Key Opta Stats: Liverpool tough to beat
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League games (W16 D4), since a 1-0 loss at Leicester City in December 2021, while they are now unbeaten in 10 opening day matches (W8 D2).
- Fulham have avoided defeat in their first game back in the top-flight after promotion for the first time ever, losing on each of the previous five occasions.
- Liverpool gave away a penalty for the first time in their last 52 Premier League games, thus ending the longest ongoing run in the competition, while Van Dijk conceded a top-flight penalty for the first time since October 2018 against Manchester City
- The Reds have gained 115 points from losing positions under Klopp in the Premier League, the most of any side since the German took over in October 2015.
- Salah has scored eight goals on the opening day of the Premier League, the joint-most along with Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney.
Liverpool's first home game of the campaign is against Crystal Palace a week on Monday, while Fulham travel to Wolves next Saturday.