Fulham 1 – 1 Liverpool

Fulham 1 – 1 Liverpool

Liverpool are through to the Carabao Cup final after a 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage was enough to give them a 3-2 aggregate win.

Holding a one-goal advantage from the first leg at Anfield, Liverpool took the game further away from Fulham early on through Luis Diaz’s deflected strike and looked set for a comfortable evening until Issa Diop ensured a tense finale late in the game.

But there were no further scares for Liverpool who held on for a deserved aggregate victory. Jurgen Klopp’s team will now contest the Carabao Cup trophy at Wembley against Chelsea next month in what will be a repeat of the 2022 final between the sides.

Player ratings

Fulham:Leno (5), Castagne (5), Tosin (7), Diop (7), Robinson (7), Palhinha (6), Cairney (7), De-Cordova Reid (6), Pereira (5), Willian (7), Jimenez (5).

Subs:Wilson (7), Tete (n/a), Reed (n/a), Muniz (n/a).

Liverpool: Kelleher (6), Bradley (7), Quansah (7), Van Dijk (7), Gomez (6), Mac Allister (6), Gravenberch (6), Elliott (6), Diaz (8), Nunez (6), Gakpo (6).

Subs: Jones (6), Jota (6), Konate (n/a), Clark (n/a).

Player of the match: Luis Diaz.

How Liverpool reached the final

Fulham did all they could to create an atmosphere, black and white flags waving from all four sides of Craven Cottage long before kick-off as they targeted a first domestic cup final since 1975. But it was Liverpool who started stronger, extending their lead.

Diaz won an aerial challenge with Timothy Castagne on the left before firing off a shot that caught a slight deflection but still should have been stopped by Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal. Instead, the German could only push the ball into the corner of the net.

Marco Silva’s side struggled to settle and there were more chances for Liverpool before they did. Leno punched the ball into Cody Gakpo, the ball looping over the bar. Diaz then had the ball in the net after Darwin Nunez had hit the post. The offside flag went up each time.

Fulham improved later in the half, Raul Jimenez forcing a save from Caoimhin Kelleher before going down in the box only to see the penalty appeals waved away. Willian was busy and Antonee Robinson caused some problems for Conor Bradley on the overlap.

Team news

  • Fulham made two changes from the defeat to Chelsea with Bobby De-Cordova Reid and Timothy Castagne coming in for Harry Wilson and Kenny Tete.
  • Jurgen Klopp made four changes to the Liverpool team that beat Bournemouth. In came Caoimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah, Ryan Gravenberch and Cody Gakpo.

The reward almost came early in the second half but Andreas Pereira could not seize the chance, striking the post with the goal gaping after Kelleher had failed to claim the initial cross. Liverpool almost scored on the subsequent break with the game opening up.

Nunez twice went close to ending any hope of a Fulham comeback and Liverpool had cause to regret those misses when Diop turned the ball home from close range after superb work by Harry Wilson on the left. The mood changed, the home crowd roaring them on.

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Issa Diop diverted the ball in to score for Fulham against Liverpool

Wilson almost beat Kelleher from distance and Liverpool, who had controlled the second half impressively, were suddenly on the back foot as the Cottage sensed a night to remember. ‘Stand up if you still believe,’ reverberated around the stadium.

It was not enough. Liverpool held on without further incident to send the away support home happy. Fulham hopes dashed. Liverpool’s hopes of an unlikely quadruple alive and well as their form shows no sign of slumping even without Mohamed Salah.

Van Dijk proud of Liverpool players

“We wanted to make sure we did the right things, Fulham played at home with a good atmosphere,” Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports afterwards.

“We had to be ready to fight, we started the game very well and scored a good goal. We found a way and go to Wembley.

“I am proud of these guys. It is only the beginning for them. To go into a final with this performance is very good.”

Liverpool’s win in stats

  • Liverpool have qualified for their 14th League Cup final, four more than any other side. It is the third time they have done so under Jurgen Klopp, with only Bob Paisley doing so more often as Reds boss.
  • In the 2023-24 League Cup, Liverpool and Chelsea are set to contest a domestic cup final for a third time in the last three seasons – they faced in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals in 2021-22, with both games ending 0-0 and won on penalties by Liverpool.
  • Luis Diaz scored his seventh goal of the season in all competitions for Liverpool, making 2023-24 now his best scoring season for the Reds. He has more away goals this season (5) than he managed in his previous two seasons combined (4).
  • Liverpool have now eliminated Fulham in all six of their League Cup ties. In League Cup history, the only instances of one team knocking another out more often is Walsall vs Shrewsbury (7) and Liverpool vs Arsenal (7).
  • Liverpool have scored 13 goals in the League Cup this season – on the last four occasions they have netted that many in a season, they have won the trophy: 16 in 1994-95, 20 in 2000-01, 13 in 2002-03 and 14 in 2011-12.

What’s next?

Fulham 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.

Liverpool are also in FA Cup fourth round action with a home game against Norwich on Sunday, kick-off at 2.30pm.

The Reds then return to Premier League action with a home game against Chelsea on Janaury 31, kick-off at 8.15pm.

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