Fulham 1-1 Liverpool (2-3 agg): Player ratings

Liverpool are through to the final of the Carabao Cup after a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Wednesday sealed a 3-2 aggregate win over Fulham.

Luis Diaz gave the Reds the lead inside just 11 minutes, expertly bringing down Jarell Quansah’s crossfield pass, before cutting inside and smashing the ball in at the near post.

The Colombian thought he had doubled his side’s lead in the 26th minute when his acrobatic volley went in off the far post. However, it was chalked off for Darwin Nunez’s offside in the build-up.

The game opened up in the second half for Liverpool and they ought to have scored while they were on top. Harvey Elliott failed to convert a one-on-while, while Nunez missed a string of chances.

As a result, the Reds were made to pay for their profligacy when Issa Diop levelled the scores in with 15 minutes left to go, kneeing Harry Wilson’s deflected cross past a hapless Caoimhin Kelleher.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 24, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This set up a tense finish for Jurgen Klopp’s side. However, they eventually weathered the storm to set up a clash with Chelsea at Wembley on 25 February.

Here are your player ratings…

Caoimhin Kelleher (GK): 7

Was sharp early on to prevent Timothy Castagne’s cross from sneaking in at his near post and getting a glove to Antonee Robinson’s dangerous cross from the left. Got down well 25 minutes later, to stop an awkward, bouncing strike by Raul Jimenez from creeping into the corner. However, he got caught in no man’s land early in the second half but got away with it as the ball came out off the post. Could do nothing to prevent the goal, with the final touch coming from such close range.

Conor Bradley (RB): 6

Showed good tenacity and energy but couldn’t quite strike up any chemistry with Cody Gakpo down the right in the first half. At the start of the second half, some excellent high pressing gifted Darwin an opportunity which he dragged just wide of the post. However, in a key moment of the game, Wilson skipped past him far too easily before laying on the assist for Diop.

Jarell Quansah (CB): 7

For the opening goal, his excellent cross-field switch of play expertly found Diaz on the left wing - and the Colombian did the rest, ensuring the young defender got yet another assist to his name (three in the Carabao Cup this season). Quansah was able to impose himself on the game in the first half, but looked increasingly nervous when Fulham turned the screw in the second half and his deflection laid the ball perfectly on a plate for Diop.

Virgil van Dijk (CB): 7

With Quansah and Bradley alongside him, the captain had to transmit maximum confidence - and he did with a solid performance.

Joe Gomez (LB): 7

Another accomplished low-key performance from Gomez, stepping into midfield with increasing ease. But with Andrew Robertson returning, will he hold on to his place?

Alexis Mac Allister (DM): 7

Showed some excellent anticipation and reading of the game to thwart some dangerous Fulham attacks, including when he found himself on the end of a bad challenge by Tom Cairney just before half-time. Taken off after 66 minutes to preserve his legs.

Harvey Elliott (CM): 6

As is often the case when he starts games, Elliott was lively in the middle of the park in terms of energy, but not much in terms of end product. Apart from an excellent cross to Ryan Gravenberch at the end of the first half, his impact was minimal in the opening 45. After the break, he really should have finished off an excellent counter-attack; instead, he struck his one-on-one straight at the keeper’s legs.

Ryan Gravenberch (CM): 5

Created an angsty moment for the Reds when Jimenez went down in the box under his close attention. Probably should have done better just before half-time when he ended up turning Elliott’s cross from the right away from goal and taking it off Darwin’s toe. Hooked off after 82 minutes, but it could have been sooner.

Cody Gakpo (RW): 5

It was perhaps a surprise to see him start on the right - and he looked somewhat out of place there. His radar was mostly off, with his more intricate passing rarely finding the intended target.

Darwin Nunez (ST): 7

Had the first chance of the game, cutting in off the left and then seeing his shot deflected into Leno’s gloves. Almost scored an excellent goal with a spectacular volley, but his (offside) effort came back out off the post. In the second half, as the game started to open up, he came desperately close twice: first, Leno stretched to his left to flick the ball wide of the far post; then the Uruguayan smashed the ball from inside the box just wide of the far post. A very lively 66 minutes.

Luis Diaz (LW): 7

Got the Reds off to the perfect start with an excellent early goal with sufficient power to squeeze the ball through both Joao Palhinha’s challenge and Leno’s outstretched palm. He thought he had doubled his side’s lead in the 26th minute when his acrobatic volley went in off the far post - only to be chalked off for Darwin’s offside in the build-up. Despite an excellent opening 45, the Colombian’s influenced waned massively in the second half.


Curtis Jones (for Mac Allister, 66’): 5

Took on more defensive responsibility than he’s used to and was occasionally caught in two minds about where he should be. Didn’t really have any opportunities to get on the ball and cause damage in the final third.

Diogo Jota (for Nunez, 66’): 6

Battled hard up top as the lone front man, just as Fulham came onto the front foot. The ball, however, just wouldn’t stick.

Ibrahima Konate (for Gakpo, 82’): 7

Helped to sure up the game for the Reds and made some important headers late on.

Bobby Clark (for Gravenberch, 82’): 7

Came on just as the Reds were under the cosh and provided a good out ball at times, gaining territory for his team higher up the pitch.

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