Liverpool missed the chance to go outright top of the Premier League as they had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Fulham.
The hosts had taken a deserved lead in a first half they dominated when Bobby De Cordova-Reid struck home in emphatic fashion after finding space in the area.
Jurgen Klopp's visiting side continued to concede chances from there but, after getting in at half-time just one down, they found a way back into the game in the second period through Mohamed Salah's penalty.
There was no late siege on the hosts' goal, however, as Fulham held on for a point that continues their recent revival.
11 – Liverpool have now dropped 11 points after 12 @premierleague games this season (W7 D4 L1) - the Reds only dropped 15 in the whole of their title winning campaign last year, with it taking until their 35th match in 2019-20 to lose as many as 11 points. Adjustment. #FULLIV pic.twitter.com/xRmPXDNqIx— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 13, 2020
Having earned a reputation for slow starts so far this season, Fulham chose the visit of the champions to try out a new tactic of flying out of the traps.
And it certainly seemed to work, with Ivan Cavaleiro drawing two good saves in quick succession from Alisson after sneaking in behind during the early stages.
A challenge on the same Fulham attacker in the box was examined at length by VAR shortly after but, despite no spot-kick being awarded, the hosts' rhythm certainly did not suffer.
As such, it was no surprise to see them take the lead through De Cordova-Reid, who latched onto a clever Ademola Lookman pass just inside the box before lashing the ball into the far corner.
After putting together one of their poorest halves of the season, the visitors could have done without suffering yet another injury blow at half-time as a sore back for Joel Matip forced him off.
Jordan Henderson's move into the backline did little for their organisation, either, with Andy Robertson almost diverting a clearance in off a Fulham player moments after the restart.
They did at least improve from there, with Henderson drawing a smart save from Alphonse Areola at close range soon after, but Liverpool struggled to consistently turn possession into chances of note.
Consequently, it was always going to take some good fortune to get Liverpool back into the game, and they got just that when Georginio Wijnaldum's seemingly harmless free-kick was handled by Aboubakar Kamara in the defensive wall.
Salah did the rest from 12 yards, though only just as a weak spot-kick narrowly evaded Areola, setting up a thrilling end to the game.
Scott Parker's men saw little of the ball from that point on, but they continued to look defensively resolute as they took a share of the spoils their performance doubtless merited.
What does it mean?
With Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham all dropping points over the weekend, this was Liverpool's chance to stamp their mark on the title race.
However, Klopp's men missed their chance, as Fulham showed that their poor early-season form is now a thing of the past.
18 - Liverpool have now scored each of their last 18 Premier League penalties, with Mohamed Salah converting 12 of those. Leveller. #FULLIV— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 13, 2020
De Cordova-Reid leads the charge
De Cordova-Reid may not be a natural wing-back, but you wouldn't know from looking at his performance against the champions.
Not only did the 27-year-old grab the opener in fine style, he also regained possession on seven occasions, made five clearances, and three tackles.
After he picked up important minutes in midweek against Midtjylland, it was no surprise to see Trent Alexander-Arnold return to the starting XI here.
However, the young Scouser was not himself, surrendering possession on 27 occasions - more than any other player on the pitch - and struggling in his defensive duties particularly in the first half.
Key Opta facts
- Since Klopp’s first game in charge in October 2015, Liverpool have recovered more points from losing positions (85) than any other side in the Premier League.
- Liverpool are without a win in five away league outings (D4 L1), drawing their last four in a row. It is their joint-longest winless run away from home in the Premier League under Klopp (also reaching five in March 2017).
- Having only earned four points from their opening nine league games this season (W1 D1 L7), Fulham have since picked up four from their last three such matches against Leicester, Manchester City and Liverpool (W1 D1 L1).
- Fulham are the first promoted club to avoid defeat in a Premier League game against Liverpool since Newcastle United in October 2017 (also a 1-1 draw), ending the Reds' 18-game winning run against such newcomers to the league.
- Salah scored his fifth away Premier League goal of the season for Liverpool, more than he managed in the entirety of 2019-20 (4).
- Salah has been directly involved in 20 goals in 20 Premier League appearances against promoted clubs for Liverpool, scoring 12 and assisting a further eight.
After missing the chance to leapfrog them in the table, Liverpool host title rivals Tottenham at Anfield on Wednesday. Fulham, meanwhile, have another home game against Brighton.