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Match Report: Fulham draw with Liverpool ~ LC_Semi ~ 2ndLeg ~ 23/24

last updated Thursday 25th January 2024, 10:00 AM

Match Report

Fulham (0) 1-1 (1) Liverpool

League Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg at Craven Cottage

Wednesday, 24th January 2024    KO: 20:00

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Live on SkySports

Fulham defender Issa Diop
Fulham defender
Issa Diop
Issa Diop
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Fulham’s Carabao Cup hopes came to an end on Wednesday night, as Liverpool squeezed their way into next month’s Wembley Final.

Trailing 2-1 from the First Leg, we were up against it when Luis Diaz saw his deflected effort find its way inside the near post after just 11 minutes.

But the Whites continued to fight, and after Andreas Pereira had hit a post, Issa Diop diverted a cross from substitute Harry Wilson to make things interesting.

Wilson himself then nearly restored parity on aggregate, but visiting goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher just about got enough on his strike to turn it behind and preserve Liverpool’s place in the Final.

It had been 11 days since Fulham were previously in action, with Marco Silva making two changes to the side that was narrowly defeated by Chelsea that afternoon. Timothy Castagne and Bobby De Cordova-Reid were the preferred options on the right-hand side, with Kenny Tete and Wilson dropping to the bench.

After the players walked out to a fervent Cottage atmosphere, it was the away side who started the stronger, with Diaz heading wide and Darwin Nunez shooting into the arms of Bernd Leno.

Match Stats Fulham Liverpool
Goals (0)1 1 (1)
Scorers Diop 76 Diaz 11
Goal attempts 11 14
On target 5 5
Shooting Accuracy 45% 36%
Possession 49% 51%
Passes Success 77% 82%
Corners 4 2
Tackles Success 58% 33%
Saves 4 4
Fouls 8 13
Offsides 2 5
Yellows 3 1
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
Fulham had the best early opening, though. After Castagne did well to win a corner, Andreas sent a peach of a delivery into João Palhinha, who volleyed a yard over the bar.

A slick move down the left then ended with a wicked Antonee Robinson cross that would have been a tap-in for De Cordova-Reid, but Kelleher got a crucial fist on the ball to divert it out of the Fulham man’s path.

Liverpool’s equaliser in the first leg came via a cruel deflection, and there was déjà vu when they took control of this tie in the 11th minute. Diaz managed to beat Castagne to get into a shooting position, but then his effort only beat Leno courtesy of a whopping ricochet off Palhinha.

Raúl Jiménez went close to drawing us level on the night when he drove forward and prodded an effort towards the far post from the edge of the box, but Kelleher got across well to palm away the danger.

That buoyed the home crowd, with their team responding with a Raúl penalty shout waved away, and Willian bringing another stop from Kelleher.

After De Cordova-Reid had a shot blocked early in the second half, Andreas could have got his side back in the tie when Tosin beat Kelleher to a high ball, but the Brazilian could only rattle the upright – though it was from an acute angle.

Liverpool threatened to make us pay, as the power on that Andreas strike inadvertently launched a counter-attack, one which ended with Leno making a good save to deny Harvey Elliott.

Our goalkeeper made an even more impressive stop soon after, turning Nunez’s curler around the post at full stretch.

But it was at the other end where the next goal arrived, with Diop giving the majority inside Craven Cottage hope. Wilson had been a livewire since his introduction and skipped beyond Conor Bradley before putting a ball across the face. A deflection saw it spin up in the air, making Diop’s reactionary finish all the more impressive as he guided home with his thigh.

Wilson was really enjoying himself and had Kelleher worried when he opened up his body and placed one from distance. It wasn’t quite in the corner but it had plenty of zip, with the Reds ‘keeper almost pushing it into his own net. He will have been very relieved to see the ball end up just the other side of the post.

The Whites continued to probe for the strike which would force extra-time, with the Hammy End trying to suck the ball into the goal, but unfortunately we could not find our way past a Liverpool backline which was now five strong as Jurgen Klopp looked to see the game out.

A sad end to a fantastic League Cup campaign.

Silva: 'The players gave everything'
"It was a difficult match like we expected really," said Silva.

"They were leading 2-1 so of course we need to score to go through to play the final. Performance-wise, overall, the game wasn't our best performance but I prefer to start with the desire and the attitude from the players."

"They gave everything from the first to the last minute. To keep the semi-final open to the last minute shows the attitude and the commitment."

It was an emotional occasion for Fulham and that showed. "Probably too emotional, more nervous than Liverpool," added Silva. "We couldn't keep possession like we normally do. We lost many balls when building and on the counter-attack.

"They score and it makes it a more difficult scenario for us. The second half, they start better than us but we start to grow into the game and we need a goal to lift the crowd. After we score, the game becomes even more emotional.

"The players gave everything but it was not enough. We were not ruthless enough and Liverpool are in the final."

Fulham : Leno, Castagne (Tete 83), Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson, Palhinha, Cairney (Reed 83), De Cordova-Reid (Wilson 67), Pereira (Muniz 83), Willian, Jimenez

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Ream, Lukic, Vinicius, Francois

Diop 77 (Craven Cottage is alive again. Wilson does brilliantly. He bursts past Bradley before firing a low cross into the box. Diop is there to finish and Fulham are well and truly back in this tie.)

Cairney (42,f), Diop (78,f), Wilson (95,dis)

Liverpool: Kelleher, Bradley, Quansah, van Dijk, Gomez, Elliott, Mac Allister (Jones 67), Gravenberch (Clark 84), Gakpo (Konate 83), Nunez (Jota 67), Díaz

Unused substitutes: Becker, Diogo Robertson, McConnell, Beck, Nyoni

Diaz 11 (Diaz initially does brilliantly to take the ball on his chest ahead Castagne from Quansah's long diagonal pass. He carries the ball into the penalty area before squeezing a shot through leno at his near post. Leno has to do better. Craven Cottage is silenced.)

Kelleher (93,tw)

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 24,320

Fulham now turn their attention to the FA Cup fourth round home tie with Newcastle on Saturday night, kick-off at 7pm.

Marco Silva's side are then back in Premier League action with a home game against Everton on January 30, kick-off at 7.30pm.

Source Fulham FC
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