Liverpool saw off a dejected Fulham side at Anfield to go top of the Premier League table with current leaders Manchester City in action later on Sunday. Fulham frustrated the hosts for large periods of the first half and created a few openings of their own with Jurgen Klopp's side again lacking energy and precision to their play.
Fulham find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, with their defensive woes well documented this season. Despite their winless run, the visitors should have gone into the interval with the lead, Aleksandar Mitrovic's powerful header incorrectly ruled out for offside before Allison's quick thinking released Mohamed Salah seconds later, who slid the ball beyond the reach of the impressive Sergio Rico to lift a subdued Anfield.
The Reds looked invigorated after the break and dominated possession in a one-sided second half. Andrew Robertson's cross from deep was converted on the volley by an unmarked Xherdan Shaqiri to double Liverpool's lead.
Klopp's side went in search of further goals but lacked their ruthless edge as Rico prevented the hosts inflicting any further damage.
Key Talking Point
Following a dismal midweek performance against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, Liverpool again looked tired and lethargic in the opening exchanges. Build up play in midfield was again slow and lacked ambition, Fabinho in particular still looks a little off the pace as he continues his adjustment to the demands of a new league.
Klopp will surely be concerned by his side's recent slump and will hope his players come back from the international break refreshed with key Champions League fixtures against PSG and Napoli on the horizon. The Reds have used the German's renowned gegenpressing more conservatively this season in a bid to save legs towards the end of the season though, in truth, look more tired than ever under the German despite possessing greater squad depth.
Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (6), Robertson (7); Fabinho (5), Wijnaldum (6), Shaqiri (8); Salah (7), Firmino (6), Mané (6).
Substitutes: Henderson (5), Milner (N/A), Keita (N/A)
Shaqiri continues to make a case for a regular starting berth under Klopp. The Swiss midfielder's creativity posed problems to Fulham's backline throughout as he enjoyed a free role behind Liverpool's front three. The playmaker's volleyed finish from Robertson's deep cross was exquisite.
Fabinho's struggles to cement himself into Klopp's first team plans are well known and the Brazilian's inclusion as of late has largely been due to injuries to fellow midfielders Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.
The former Monaco man played safe far too often and lacked ambition in his play, finding himself caught out by the pace of a new league as he arrived late into the challenge on countless occasions.
Key Talking Point
Again Fulham's defensive issues reared their head. Jokanovic's side have the worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 30 goals this season. Jokanovic will lament another questionable refereeing decision in a week that has made yet another solid case for the inclusion of VAR next season. However his side's lapse of concentration in the first half and poor decision making from Dennis Odoi allowed Liverpool to take the lead, irrespective of a poor decision from the linesman.
Starting XI: Rico (7), Christie (5), Odoi (4), Chambers (5), Mawson (6), Le Marchand (5); Schurrle (5), Cairney (5), Anguissa (6), Sessegnon (4); Mitrovic (6).
Substitutes: Seri (5), Vietto (5)
André-Frank Anguissa put in a solid shift in the engine room for the visitors. The Cameroonian's athleticism has made his transition into the Premier League seamless. Tidy in possession and a powerful runner if given the space to stretch his legs, Fulham look to have signed a quality player in the 22-year-old and will expect to see more from their summer signing in weeks to come.
Ryan Sessegnon wasted a number of chances in the first half and was frustrated by Trent Alexander Arnold and Joe Gomez's incessant pressure. The 18-year-old elected to shoot from 30 yards out instead of playing in Mitrovic, and then skied an effort from a tight angle when a cross was surely the better option.
With the international break to follow, Premier League football returns in a fortnight. Liverpool take on Watford at Vicarage Road ahead of a crucial Champions League encounter with PSG as the Reds qualification to the knockout stages currently looks in doubt.
Fulham meanwhile face Southampton at home, and will be desperate to put an end to a run of six straight losses in the league.