Mohamed Salah needed to equal Premier League record to stop new and improved Fulham

Marco Silva’s biggest challenge this season is to make sure Craven Cottage doesn’t once again become everybody’s favourite away-day.

The sight of Alexander Mitrovic bullying Trent Alexander-Arnold like a schoolboy bruiser demanding lunch money with menaces suggests that the Fulham manager has put a bit of devil into his team.

Mitrovic’s meaty far-post header secured a first-half lead the Londoners’ in-your-face approach deserved. And the battering ram Serbian gave his team an advantage for a second time from the penalty spot 17 minutes from time when he took a tumble after mugging Virgil van Dijk.

In the end, Silva’s team had to settle for a point after Darwin Nunez came off the bench to conjure up an £85million finish before setting up Mo Salah for his annual opening-day goal. But you can be sure that the Fulham manager was a lot happier than Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool took their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 20 matches – and almost won it when Jordan Henderson shivered the crossbar in injury-time.

Klopp spent most of the game simmering. Referee Andy Madley won’t be getting a Christmas card, that’s for sure.

But most of Klopp’s fury will have been generated by his team’s failure to meet Fulham on the front foot until they were behind. The Liverpool boss made three substitutions before the hour – one forced by Thiago Alcantara’s hamstring strain.

Luis Diaz hit the post in the first half, but when Nunez brilliantly backheeled Salah’s cross into the top corner, it was the Merseysiders’ first effort on target.

Jurgen Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the Craven Cottage touchline

Fulham have been in and out of the top-flight like the tide. Two years ago, they managed to win just two games in front of their own fans. Two seasons earlier, it was a paltry six. Away fans can take a cruise to the game. A walk from Putney Bridge takes them through the splendour of Bishops Park and past the imposing Victorian and Edwardian piles for a swift half in the Eight Bells or Golden Lion.

It’s a great day out – more often than not capped with three points. Yet even with the top tier of the impressive new Riverside Stand left empty while the building work continues, there was an air of defiance amongst fans who had paid up to £100 for a ticket.

It appears that this time, Fulham won’t be going down without a fight. Harrison Reed and skipper Tim Ream tackled anything in red. Kenny Tete was booked for cartwheeling Diaz. The tempo was set.

Liverpool were rattled – and when Neeskens Kabano dug out a wicked cross from wide on the right, they were behind.

Mitrovic scored 43 times when Fulham topped the Championship. But only found the back of the net on three occasions the last time Fulham were in the top-flight.

He treated Alexander-Arnold like a rag-doll before sending a fierce header past the flapping Alisson Becker and into the top corner.

Klopp complained on the touchline. Although whether his issue was with a tackle on Henderson that had gone unpunished or Mitrovic’s brutal treatment of his right-back was unclear.

Kabano thought he had given Klopp something else to moan about early in the second half, but his shot from 20 yards hit the inside of the post and bounced to safety. But Liverpool broke the bank to sign Nunez and the Urugyayan’s finish to bring his team level was sheer class.

It took a Premier League record-equalling goal to deny Fulham on an impressive return to the Premier League

He almost scored again soon afterwards before Mitrovic made a fool out of Van Dijk and then scored from the spot despite TV replays suggesting the Dutchman had made no contact.

But Salah always scores on these occasions. And when Alexander-Arnold’s cross flicked off Ream’s head and rolled off the shins of Nunez, the Egyptian stroked home the equaliser.

Salah has scored on the opening day for the last six seasons – equalling a record shared by stellar names like Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.

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