Fulham 1-1 Liverpool (2-3 agg): Player ratings as Reds book spot in Carabao Cup final

  • Liverpool will face Chelsea is next month's Carabao Cup final after Fulham draw
  • The Reds beat the Cottagers 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw on the night
  • Luis Diaz's first-half strike proved the difference

Luis Diaz celebrates putting Liverpool in front
Luis Diaz celebrates putting Liverpool in front / Nigel French/Allstar/GettyImages

Liverpool secured their place in the Carabao Cup final on Wednesday evening, drawing 1-1 with Fulham at Craven Cottage and progressing to the final with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The Reds took a 2-1 first leg lead to west London and swiftly added to their advantage when Luis Diaz struck just after the ten minute mark. Issa Diop pulled one back for the hosts with 77 minutes played but Fulham couldn't force the game to extra-time as the clock ran down.

Liverpool will face Chelsea in the Wembley final at the end of February after the Blues hammered Championship side Middlesbrough 6-2 on aggregate in their semi-final.

How the game unfolded

On such a big occasion, there were some understandable nerves from Fulham players in the early stages, Liverpool dominating the ball from the off. However, the best chance of the opening ten minutes fell to Joao Palhinha, finding space from a corner but directing his shot over the crossbar.

Despite the Cottagers growing into the game swiftly, Liverpool delivered a sucker punch at the other end just 11 minutes in. Diaz collected a cross-field pass from Jarell Quansah, before jinking inside and seeing his deflected shot squirm past Bernd Leno at his near post.

The Reds' opener seemed to suck the life out of the Craven Cottage crowd, with Fulham unable to play through Liverpool's intense press. Diaz came close to doubling the visitors' lead on the night after he fired home the rebound following Darwin Nunez's effort, but the flag was correctly raised against the Uruguayan.

The hosts' best moment of the first half came out of nothing just after the half-an-hour mark, Raul Jimenez's powerful low drive from outside the box palmed wide by Caoimhin Kelleher. Willian also saw his 25-yard shot fly straight into the arms of Liverpool's Irish goalkeeper shortly afterwards.

Fulham were gifted a glorious opportunity just seven minutes into the second period, Kelleher failing to claim a lofted cross into the box and Andreas Pereira subsequently slamming the post from Issa Diop's knock down. The Reds immediately went down the other end themselves, Harvey Elliott's tame effort unable to punish his former club.

Nunez saw his first shot on target of the game pushed wide by Leno after he tried to bend an effort into the far corner, with the South American also seeing a curling strike fly inches wide of the Fulham goal after a neat turn around the hour mark.

Just as time was running out for the Cottagers, Fulham drew level out of the blue. Harry Wilson skinned Conor Bradley down the hosts' left-hand side, flashing a ball across goal that Diop redirected beyond Kelleher to give the London side hope of a comeback.

Wilson tested Kelleher with a powerful strike from range shortly after Fulham's equaliser, but the hosts were unable to complete a late turnaround, meaning Liverpool march on to Wembley.

Fulham player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Willian, Alexis Mac Allister
Willian was lively for Fulham in attacking areas / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Bernd Leno - 6/10 - Will be disappointed with his efforts to stop Diaz's opener but stood up to Liverpool's other attempts.

RB: Timothy Castagne - 5/10 - Beaten too easily in the air in the build-up to Liverpool's early goal and never looked comfortable up against Diaz.

CB: Tosin Adarabioyo - 6/10 - Didn't do an awful lot wrong and performed admirably up against a tricky Liverpool forward line.

CB: Issa Diop - 7/10 - Almost set up Pereira early in the second half and was competent at the back. His goal brought the game back to life in the second half and it was a tidy finish from the centre-back.

LB: Antonee Robinson - 6/10 - Frequent attacking bursts down Fulham's left but he couldn't get the better of young Conor Bradley too often.

CM: Joao Palhinha - 7/10 - Fierce in the challenge and made some important tackles in the centre of the pitch. Missed an early chance.

CM: Tom Cairney (c) - 6/10 - Tried to make things happen in an attacking sense but couldn't find the end product often enough.

RM: Bobby Decordova-Reid - 5/10 - After some strong and lively displays against the Reds this term, it was a quiet and ultimately disappointing evening for the attacker.

AM: Andreas Pereira - 6/10 - Had Fulham's best chance of the second period but could only find the post with his effort. A little more composure and he would have etched his name on the scoresheet.

LM: Willian - 7/10 - Consistently the home side's brightest spark, always looking forward upon receiving possession. Fulham's best moments came through the Brazilian.

ST: Raul Jimenez - 5/10 - One effort from outside the area that tested Kelleher in the first half but not a particularly influential display.


SUB: Harry Wilson (66' for De Cordova-Reid) - 7/10

SUB: Kenny Tete (83' for Castagne) - N/A

SUB: Rodrigo Muniz (83' for Pereira) - N/A

SUB: Harrison Reed (83' for Cairney) - N/A

Subs not used: Rodak (GK), Ream, Francois, Lukic, Vinicius.


Marco Silva - 6/10 - A huge opportunity for his Fulham side but one that they couldn't take. His players showed plenty of heart in the second half but it must go down as a chance wasted.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Darwin Nunez, Tosin Adarabioyo
Darwin Nunez was a live wire / Clive Rose/GettyImages

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher - 6/10 - Some important early interventions to deny Fulham from dangerous deliveries into the box but one clanger almost cost Liverpool in the second half.

RB: Conor Bradley - 7/10 - Another mature and impressive display from the 20-year-old, who dealt with Willian and Robinson incredibly well down the Liverpool right. Beaten too easily by Wilson for the Fulham leveller.

CB: Jarell Quansah - 8/10 - A lovely switch of play forced Liverpool's opening goal and the young defender was commanding in the heart of defence.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (c) - 7/10 - Waltzed through the game until Diop's goal, for which he perhaps could have been tighter to the Frenchman.

LB: Joe Gomez - 7/10 - Looked incredibly comfortable yet again in the left-back role, even if his speculative efforts didn't test Leno.

CM: Harvey Elliott - 7/10 - Met with a chorus of boos every single time he touched the ball due to his Fulham connections, although the crowd didn't dissuade the youngster. Some neat touches in the opposition half but did spurn a good chance to put Liverpool out of sight.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 8/10 - After his best display of the season against Bournemouth, the Argentine was in good form again at Craven Cottage.

CM: Ryan Gravenberch - 6/10 - A yard or two off the pace as he continues to take his time to settle in Liverpool red. Some promising glimpses, though.

RW: Cody Gakpo - 6/10 - Not a particularly fruitful display for Gakpo, who didn't have the impact of his fellow forwards.

ST: Darwin Nunez - 7/10 - Unsurprisingly, he was at the heart of things throughout. A whisker away with a few strikes as his confidence continues to build.

LW: Luis Diaz - 8/10 - A determined run and slightly fortuitous finish from the winger gave Liverpool some breathing room early on. Always a menace down the left.


SUB: Curtis Jones (67' for Mac Allister) - 6/10

SUB: Diogo Jota (67' for Nunez) - 6/10

SUB: Ibrahima Konate (84' for Gakpo) - N/A

SUB: Bobby Clark (84' for Gravenberch) - N/A

Subs not used: Alisson (GK), Robertson, Beck, McConnell, Nyoni.


Jurgen Klopp - 8/10 - The Liverpool boss used the strength of his squad, showing faith in some of his fringe players and young starlets. His commitment to those players was rewarded with a strong display, even if a little nervy at the end.

Player of the match: Luis Diaz (Liverpool)