5 talking points from Liverpool 2-1 Fulham

Here are the five major talking points after Liverpool beat Fulham 2-1 at Anfield in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. The Reds turned this one around.

The injuries

You can't talk about this one without mentioning how Liverpool had to face Fulham without several important players. Mohamed Salah is at AFCON, Trent Alexander-Arnold has a knee issue, Dominik Szoboszlai pulled his hamstring and Andy Robertson is of course recovering from shoulder surgery. Just like that, the team is without the four most creative players in the squad.

And that's before mentioning how Wataru Endo is at the Asian Cup, leaving the squad without a holding midfielder. Or how Kostas Tsimikas being missing through injury leaves zero natural, senior left-backs.

All in all, the Reds are up against it right now - this is a tricky period.

First-half energy

Liverpool just couldn't get going in the first 45, struggling badly to overrun Fulham. The Cottagers really didn't have to defend too hard to keep the Reds out, in all honesty.

And perhaps that's a sign of the missing players. It felt as though Liverpool didn't know who to turn to for a breakthrough - something you can just about excuse when Salah and Alexander-Arnold are both missing.

But it shows the problem over the coming weeks. Liverpool have to start faster than this - they can't be relying on subsitutions and second-half turnarounds.

The substitutions

But here, Liverpool could rely on substitutions. Jurgen Klopp changed things on 56 minutes with his only substitutions of the game - Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch off, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez on. It was inspired.

Liverpool immediately had more zip about them, largely because of Nunez's energy. He technically got the assist for Curtis Jones's heavily deflected equaliser, though Diogo Jota deserves most of the credit.

But the winner was all down to Nunez and Gakpo. The Uruguayan worked a superb cross from the left that Gakpo met first-time to send home.

The difference in Liverpool before and after the substitutions was massive. Maybe Nunez is just the answer.

Gravenberch struggles

A start for Ryan Gravenberch here but not a good one. The Dutchman failed to exert himself on the game, particularly when it came to the midfield battle.

In all, he lost 10 of his 11 duels in the first 45 minutes. That was coupled with a constant inability to create anything going forward, making Gravenberch a bit of a negative asset in midfield.

It's particularly frustrating as he's a 6'3 midfielder with fantastic technical ability. There's no good reason he shouldn't be winning the physical midfield battle and turning it into a real strength for Liverpool.

But perhaps this is just another sign of Gravenberch being a very young player. The raw talent and tools are all there. Liverpool just need to find a way for him to put it all together.

Massive favourites

And with that, Liverpool are overwhelming favourites to win the Carabao Cup. They'll head to Fulham with essentially a one-goal lead and just need to avoid a terrible display to make the final.

Chelsea's loss to Middleborough opens the door for a Championship side in the final, too, if they can hold on. What was supposed to be a bit of a transitional season suddenly has an awful lot of silverware waiting in sight.

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