Luis Diaz was Liverpool's hero, as his goal, and 'man of the match' performance, helped the Reds secure a one all draw with Fulham, sending them to Wembley for the Carabao Cup Final next month.
With Liverpool holding a slender 2 - 1 lead from the Semi Final First Leg, both teams knew they would need to produce a good performance to progress. Liverpool had the best of the opening minutes, pressing high up the pitch, and forcing Fulham into errors. However, it was Fulham who created the best chance early on, with Joao Paulhinha firing over from a corner, when he was unmarked on the penalty spot. Fulham would come to regret that miss a few minutes later, when Luis Diaz expertly controlled a long diagonal ball on his chest, before cutting inside, and beating Fulham keeper Leno at his near post. Leno was obviously disappointed with his effort, and probably should have done better, having got a hand to the ball. In his defence, the ball did take a double deflection on its way to goal, which changed its trajectory enough to go under the Leno's hand.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Fulham, and Liverpool could - and should - have scored more in the 25 minutes after the goal, when they were totally in control, and playing lovely pass and move football. As is often the way though, when a team fails to capitalise on their superiority, the other team finds a way to get back into the game. And so it was with Fulham, who finished the first half much stronger, and began to create decent chances, without actually scoring.
Into the second half and Liverpool continued to dominate position and territory, though Fulham were beginning to throw men forward in search of a goal. It took the introduction of former Liverpool player, Harry Wilson, to finally give Fulham a creative spark, and his tempting cross into the box was brilliantly finished by Diop, who had ventured forward from defence in an earlier attack. The goal lifted both the Fulham players, and the crowd, as the game entered a frenetic final 15 minutes. As Fulham pushed further forward, Liverpool had several good opportunities to kill the game on the break, but a combination of poor passing, and good goalkeeping, kept Liverpool out.
In the end, Liverpool had enough to see the game out, with Klopp and his players celebrating wildly at the full time whistle.
A meeting with Chelsea now awaits Liverpool in the Final, on Sunday 25th February 2024.
Sky Sports Player of the Match : Luis Diaz
BBC Player of the Match : Luis Diaz
LiverpoolFC.com Player of the Match : Luis Diaz
Liverpool Starting XI : Kelleher, Bradley, Gomez, Quansah, Van Dijk (C), Mac allister, Gakpo, Gravenberch, Elliott, Diaz, Nunez
Fulham Starting XI : Leno, Castagne, Tosin, Diop, Robinson, Palhinho, Cairney, De Cordova-Reid, Periera, Willian, Jimenez
Fulham 49% - 51% Liverpool
Fulham 11 - 14 Liverpool
Shots on Target
Fulham 5 - 5 Liverpool
Fulham 4 - 2 Liverpool
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... About The Author ...
Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 353
Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.
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