Liverpool 1-0 Fulham: Mohamed Salah penalty enough for fifth straight Premier League win
Liverpool closed the gap to the Champions League places to four points as they edged past Fulham with a 1-0 win at Anfield.
Four wins in a row had kept the Reds’ incredibly slim top-four hopes alive, and that became five on the bounce for the first time this season as Mohamed Salah’s first-half penalty proved enough to continue the strong run and pick up three more points.
Manchester United in fourth do have two games in hand, and both they and Newcastle remain firmly in control of their own fate, but Liverpool’s charge has at least lifted the mood at the club in the final weeks of a frustrating campaign.
Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the side that edged past Tottenham in a thrilling encounter, with Darwin Nunez among those to come in and Andy Robertson dropping to the bench. Fulham meanwhile had Willian back from injury.
It was a superb start from the hosts, led by Trent Alexander-Arnold who drifted around the pitch. He had three efforts on goal inside the opening ten minutes, each getting closer as the third was whipped just wide of the far post.
Fulham had their moments on the counter, with Carlos Vinicius denied by a strong save from Alisson, but Liverpool were much the better side and got their reward as they took a slender lead into the break.
Issa Diop took far too long to clear the ball away from inside in his box and by the time he did take a swing, Nunez had poked the ball away and gratefully took the contact. The referee pointed to the spot, and Salah duly stepped up and hammered the penalty straight down the middle.
There was the occasional groan of frustration from the Anfield crowd after the break, as Fulham continued to pose a threat while the deficit remained only one goal. Willian had a shot blocked, before Kostas Tsimikas shanked a dangerous cross just about away from his own goal.
The biggest chance fell to Vinicius with just under 15 minutes remaining, as Willian found the striker in the box. His first touch took him away from the red shirts, but his second was a shot that Alisson was able to brilliantly save with an outstretched right hand.
It proved to be a decisive moment, with Liverpool holding on to extend their winning run and keep a rare clean sheet, their first since a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge a month ago.