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Matt Ladson

Liverpool 4-3 Fulham: Trent Alexander-Arnold channels Steven Gerrard on afternoon of emotional football at Anfield

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates with his Liverpool team-mates after scoring a late winner against Fulham in December 2023.

Liverpool's 4-3 thriller against Fulham had it all. Every cliche you hear in football, it could be applied here.

At 2-2, it was a game that would be another costly draw. A game you must be winning if you are to have any title credentials. 

At 3-2 and staring defeat in the face, it was evidence that 'Liverpool 2.0' were still fragile and had a lot to learn. Complacent, lacklustre defending proving costly.

At full time and 4-3, it was a sign of a team who can challenge for the title, showing they can win when not playing well, showing that they are mentality monsters.

Inspired by their vice-captain, Trent Alexander-Arnold lapped up the applause from the Kop post-match as they sung about the man who fired the winner in Steve Gerrard-like fashion. 

"We deserved more," said Fulham boss Marco Silva post-match and he was probably right. The Londoners equalised twice and then took the lead, becoming the first Premier League team to score three vs. Liverpool this season.

Indeed, this was the first time Fulham had scored more than one goal at Anfield since October 1966. No wonder their fans were shell-shocked to be ahead.

Trent channels Gerrard

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Moving Trent into midfield for the final half an hour, as Liverpool switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation, ultimately paid dividends as the Liverpool right-back / midfielder channeled his inner Gerrard to strike from the edge of the box.

"Nobody's in doubt how highly I think about Trent," said Klopp post-match, as the debate around whether the No. 66 should be moved into midfield permanently or not.

“His development is crazy. Today he was really on the pitch,” praised Klopp.

Alexander-Arnold’s winner, a minute after Wataru Endo’s equaliser, got Liverpool out of jail after some complacent defending had looked to have cost them. At 2-2 at half time, Klopp told his players they deserved to be on level terms.

With two more games now in quick succession that are very ‘winnable’ - away to both Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, Liverpool need to learn from this outing and cut out the lapses in concentration at the back.

The first goal conceded against Fulham arrived after Virgil van Dijk had gone on a foray forward and remained up front. At that moment it looked like Liverpool, cruising and in control at 1-0, were going full Dutch Total Football.

But a misplaced Joel Matip pass and Van Dijk still not back in position meant Alexander-Arnold was at centre-back and Fulham had equalised despite having made just one successful pass in the Liverpool half before it.

Poor defending off two corners, one which was ruled out for offside and the other that made it 2-2, showed Liverpool again need to be stronger in defensive concentration. And the third goal saw far too passive defending all around.

The next two away games should be comfortable, but on the evidence of Sunday they could be trickier than they need to be.

But then, the manner of victory made this feel like a bigger win than if Liverpool had just had a customary 2-0 home win. Late winners always feel bigger, drive more emotion.

Klopp’s task now is to take that emotion as fuel for the future, but also to analyse the lapses in concentration to cut them out.

More Liverpool stories

On his return to the first team for Liverpool, Luis Diaz was the hero with a late leveller against Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Manager Jurgen Klopp called it a "wonderful moment", but said his father's freedom was the most important thing.

The winger's father was eventually released after 12 days and has revealed details of his ordeal for the first time.

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