The Warm Down: Shaqiri unlocks fresh attacking element that unleashes the revived Salah  
(Getty Images)

The Warm Down: Shaqiri unlocks fresh attacking element that unleashes the revived Salah  

Liverpool eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory against Fulham as Xherdan Shaqiri continues to impress on Merseyside.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr

The Swiss international exuded so much class in the Reds 2-0 dispatching of Fulham as the little magician continues to unleash himself at Anfield as one of the bargains of the season.

The former Stoke City forward was undoubtedly an integral member of the firm who was absent during the Reds embarrassment at Belgrade in midweek. However, the Liverpool machine was back to unleash a fresh attacking outlook that saw them brush past bottom of the pile Fulham.

Jürgen Klopp called for “a reaction” from his players after Tuesday’s Champions League shocker and the Reds repaid their manager with another victory that ensured Liverpool maintained their best start to a Premier League season since 2002/03.

In the end, it was comfortable for Klopp's side. However, despite the Cottagers being overpowered in the Anfield sunshine, under pressure manager Slaviša Jokanović will feel a huge sense of injustice after the visitors had an opener wrongly disallowed.

Despite this, Liverpool dominated proceedings and the second-half performance could have justified a more emphatic scoreline considering the Reds authority on the contest.

Reds bully deflated Cottagers

Sitting pretty at the top of the table (despite both Chelsea and City both in action today) the Reds are enjoying their best ever domestic start. Never have Liverpool had more points after 12 games, never have they had a better goal difference, kept more clean sheets or conceded fewer goals.

These stats boast well for Klopp's impressive team despite the Merseysiders still yet to unlock their irresistible attacking prowess of last season.

In keeping with their brilliant start, the Reds were short of their very best here.  The manner in which they regained the lead was one of fortune rather finesse. on another day, with another official, they’d have been 1-0 down instead of 1-0 up – and Fulham certainly had their moments. Jokanovic’s side threatened at the Reds fortress and his side certainly doesn’t look like a team doomed to relegation on this evidence. 

Liverpool are continuing to win games despite their fluidity still eluding them. The Reds attacking riches haven't reached the devastating levels that propelled last seasons Champions League runners-up all the way to Kiev. However, judging by Sunday's showing, Klopp can be confident that this ruthlessness will come.

Salah and Shaqiri unlock fresh dimension

They welcomed Fulham with a fresh attacking quartet contrasting to the compact line-up that saw the Reds bullied by a Belgrade side that earnt their first European victory since 1992.

Klopp ensured Tuesday's sloppiness was replaced with a lightning-quick approach in the attack that ensured Liverpool put the pressure on champions Manchester City ahead of their clash with rivals United.

The German manager's decision ensured Mohamed Salah netted his eighth of the campaign and also meant Shaqiri netted his second Liverpool goal in front of the Kop with a truly devastating finish.

It was also fitting that the two most threatening men on the pitch grabbed the headlines as the Reds extended their unbeaten home record in the league to 27 matches - their previous defeat dating all the way back to April 2017.

Shaqiri's immediate impact at the Anfield helm has been enormous. The Swiss star was the least-heralded of Liverpool’s exuberant summer signings, and, yet the Reds No.23 - alongside - Alisson Becker - have been the ones making a significant difference.

The standing ovation Shaqiri received when he was withdrawn for James Milner immediately implied to all in attendance that this man is already becoming a Kop favourite.

And, no wonder judging by his accomplished finish that killed off any potential Fulham comeback. His liveliness all over the pitch is beginning to rub off his teammates. Salah, in particular, is thriving from the former Bayern Munich prospects influence.

Liverpool's Egyptian king was granted a more central positioning as Klopp reverted to a 4-2-3-1 with Salah the main focal point as the Reds forward made it 24 goals in his last 22 Anfield appearances.

The tweaked formation didn't see a change in fortune for Roberto Firmino's whose form has been a little indifferent this season. The Brazilian has not scored a league goal in two months, and both he and Sadio Mane were below par in the win today.

After being left at home for the embarrassment in Serbia, Shaqiri made it his mission to make himself indispensable against Fulham, as the Swiss ace demonstrated an error in hindsight that he should never be left at home again.

Shaqiri embodies the attacking energy of once loved playmakers in the past and at £13 million he doesn't seem a bad replacement to fill the hefty shoes that Philippe Coutinho left behind.

The endeavour and quality Shaqiri exudes has completely added a fresh dimension since the Brazilian departed Anfield.  He's warmed to Merseyside life effortlessly and is playing with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Against opposition that once troubled the Reds in the past, he’s the perfect addition.  

Shaqiri's goal ensured the Reds were never looking like surrendering their dominance. Shaqiri, sidefooting home on the volley from the excellent Andy Robertson’s cross engulfed a noise from the Merseyside faithful before Shaqiri fell to his knees which was met with admiration from the Kop.

The scoreline could have got ugly for the visitor's – Sergio Rico was excellent in the Fulham goal and the Reds were to set the tone of the game almost in second gear. 

With 30 points from a possible 36, the Reds remain very much in the race, however, they're currently playing. Klopp's team can only improve and if  Shaqiri and Salah can maintain this intricate understanding the pair have developed in recent weeks, you'd fancy them to stay in the hunting.

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