Liverpool came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 and take a first-leg lead in their EFL Cup semi-final tie.
The Reds dominated the ball in the opening exchanges of the game but trailed at half-time after Willian opened the scoring for the visitors, with Fulham capitalising on a defensive mistake from Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk to go in front at Anfield.
Fulham had chances to double their lead but wasted good opportunities when in promising positions in the final third, and Marco Silva’s side were punished when Curtis Jones brought Liverpool level with a deflected strike.
Jurgen Klopp turned to the cavalry in the second half and introduced Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez from the bench, with the duo combining for the second goal to hand Liverpool the lead.
Nunez’s left-wing cross was excellently flicked home by Gakpo, who has now scored in each of the Reds’ four League Cup ties so far this season. Bernd Leno made two late saves from Nunez to keep the tie in the balance ahead of the second leg. Gakpo hailed the mentality of the Liverpool side as the Reds rescued a result from a goal down.
“He [Curtis Jones] got a very important goal to get us back in the game and after that I felt we really dominated, not only with possession but creating chances and then the second so I was happy,” the Dutchman told Sky Sports.
“It’s the mentality in the group, in the club, in the city, everyone is like this mentality of just keep going and it doesn’t matter what happens and we showed that again today. If you have that mentality a lot of things can happen.
“I love playing with these guys. We showed good mentality and have to keep going as it’s only the first leg of this game.”
Fellow goalscorer Jones admitted Liverpool found it ‘tough’ during the first half and opened up on his own impressive recent form after getting on the scoresheet.
“In the first half it was tough, we had all the ball but couldn’t find the back of the net and in the second half we changed that around,” the midfielder said speaking to Sky Sports.
“The fans are leaving with smiles on their faces so I’m happy. I came all the way through the academy so it [scoring] means more. I’ve been around the team since I was 17 and the journey has been up and down.
“It has not always been easy but I’ve always stuck in there, my mindset is right, I know I have the ability and I just need the game time.”
Liverpool are not in action this weekend as part of the Premier League’s winter break staggered schedule, while Fulham face Chelsea in the West London Derby. The return leg between the teams is at Craven Cottage on January 24.