Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri Lead Dominant Liverpool Past Fulham

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2018

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11:  Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield on November 11, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool eased to a 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday to extend their unbeaten start in the Premier League.

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead in the 41st minute, mere seconds after Aleksandar Mitrovic had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside at the other end.

Alisson took a quick free-kick before Fulham could react, and Trent Alexander-Arnold sent Salah racing away before the Egyptian coolly finished past Sergio Rico, who had made several stops to deny the Reds in the early stages.

Xherdan Shaqiri doubled the hosts' tally in the 53rd minute when he cushioned a volley past Rico after Andy Robertson picked him out in space at the back post.


Lack of VAR Robs Fulham with Disallowed Goal

In a weekend filled with refereeing controversies, Mitrovic's disallowed goal will stand out as yet another reason why the Premier League cannot adopt the video assistant referee system soon enough.

Despite Liverpool's dominance in the first half, Fulham had still managed to threaten, and Ryan Sessegnon should have scored when he raced onto a flick-on from Mitrovic but dragged his shot wide.

The visitors threatened again late in the half, and this time they made no mistake as Mitrovic headed past Alisson, but the goal was disallowed as a questionable offside call went against him:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Mitrovic (second from the end) was flagged for offside after thinking he put Fulham ahead. One minute later, Liverpool score through Salah... Announce VAR? What are your thoughts? https://t.co/CMiBGRvQG8

Sports reporter Ian Abrahams thought Mitrovic and Fulham were hard done by:

Ian Abrahams (Moose) @BroadcastMoose

Liverpool score after Mitrovic effort ruled out for offside (I think wrongly) really is time we had VAR, really tough on Fulham

To make matters worse, the Reds were ahead just 12 seconds later after racing up the other end.

What's more, when Alisson took his quick free-kick, the ball wasn't stationary and so—even if it had been the correct decision to deny Mitrovic his goal—Liverpool's goal should not have stood.

There's no guarantee Fulham would have taken anything from the game even if they had gone ahead, but a team battling for every point at the bottom of the table can ill afford for such decisions to go against them.

VAR will reduce such instances, so its introduction is sorely needed.


Shaqiri a Crucial Playmaking Force in Attack for Reds

After Liverpool sold chief creator Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January for £142 million, many would have been expecting a marquee replacement for him in the summer.

Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir looked close to becoming that before a deal between the two clubs broke down, but Shaqiri, a £13 million acquisition from relegated Stoke City, has taken on Coutinho's mantle admirably.

On Sunday, the Switzerland international adopted a playmaking position behind the front three, and from there he impressed throughout.

Shaqiri twice came close from distance in the first half—something Coutinho also specialised in—and along with Salah, he was the Reds' most effective tool in unlocking Fulham's defence.

Indeed, he provided a sumptuous ball over the top for Salah to run onto, but Rico was equal to the forward's resulting effort.

Early in the second half, Shaqiri deservedly found the net himself, and football writer Joel Rabinowitz was impressed with his volley:

Joel Rabinowitz @joel_archie

Pure brilliance from Shaqiri. Beautiful finish.

The 27-year-old has been an incisive contributor for Liverpool in recent weeks:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Xherdan Shaqiri's last six games for Liverpool in all competitions: 🅰️ 🅰️ 🅰️ ⚽️❌⚽️ 😛 https://t.co/JMMlR6y085

For his efforts, he was treated to a standing ovation when he was withdrawn shortly before the end.

Shaqiri may not be quite at the same level as Coutinho, but he can nevertheless hit some impressive heights himself when he's on form.

In a team that has lacked some creativity since the Brazilian's departure, Shaqiri's presence behind the front three is crucial.


What's Next

Liverpool travel to Watford on November 24 after the international break, while Fulham host Southampton the same day.


This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

Get the best sports content from the web and social in the new B/R app. Get the app and get the game.