Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp congratulated Fulham goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic on the pitch after the final whistle this afternoon.
The Reds played out a frustrating 2-2 draw with Fulham on the Premier League’s opening day at Craven Cottage. Mitrovic got both goals for the hosts, and judging by a video from BT Sport on Twitter, he impressed Klopp.
The Liverpool boss can be seen marching over to Mitrovic, before breaking into a beaming smile upon seeing him.
Klopp then offers his hand for an embrace with the Serbian striker, before giving him a playful slap on the face.
Liverpool must improve after Mitrovic bullies defence
There’s no two ways about it, Liverpool simply couldn’t handle Mitrovic on Saturday. Virgil Van Dijk in particular looked uncharacteristically cowed against the man who scored 43 goals in the Championship last season.
Joel Matip handled the big forward a little better, but between the two of them Liverpool’s centre-back’s couldn’t cope.
Neither could Trent Alexander-Arnold, who could have done better for Mitrovic’s opener.
In the end, The Reds were a little lucky that ‘Mitro’ didn’t get himself a hat-trick. Such was the flimsiness they were defending with, it wouldn’t have been a surprise had the 27-year-old have taken home the match ball.
Perhaps Liverpool shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. This is a player who was in remarkable goalscoring form last season, and there aren’t too many forwards around who possess his strength.
But Klopp’s teams have designs on silencing some of the very best forwards around this season. Having done such a good job on Erling Haaland last week, we know that they can do it.
With that performance in mind, today’s display comes as a double disappointment. Liverpool will have to be far, far better both individually and collectively if they’re to achieve their goals this season.
Thankfully, we know that they will be. The first game of the season can always be a tricky barometer to gauge things against. Liverpool have nine days and a friendly match between now and their next game. If this showing is anything to go by, they’ll need that time on the training pitch perhaps more than we thought.