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Nunez saves Liverpool from opening day defeat at Fulham

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Liverpool had to come from behind twice against freshly promoted Fulham to salvage a 2-2 draw in a throbbing start to the Premier League season on Saturday.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic put the impressive hosts ahead twice, but Darwin Nunes came off the bench and had a huge impact on his Premier League debut.

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The Uruguayan, who arrived at Anfield on a deal that could rise to €100m ($102m) from Benfica, equalized at 1-1 before equalizing Mohamed Salah with 10 minutes left in time.

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Liverpool’s season got off to a brilliant start as they swept Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the two title contenders.

However, the Reds were penalized for lackluster performance in the first hour, which could have turned into a costly two-point concession.

Mitrovic scored 43 goals in as many games last season as title-chasing Fulham and gave Liverpool an early warning when he shot wide in the first minute.

Much to the dismay of Jurgen Klopp on the touchline, the visitors did not wake up from their slumber and were finally punished in the 32nd minute when Mitrovic outplayed Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back post and headed Kenny Tete.

Liverpool cheered up before the break when Luis Diaz hit the post from a narrow angle.

However, it was only after the emergence of the powerful Nunes that the Champions League finalists began to pose a constant threat.

Nunez was at fault when Fulham were inches away from doubling their lead when he was caught in possession and the ball was passed to Neeskens Kebano who hit the inside of the post.

On the other hand, Liverpool’s new striker quickly made itself felt when a daring Salah shot was saved by Marek Rodak.

Moments later, Nunez’s cue scored the Premier League’s first goal as he retreated from Salah’s cross in the 26th minute.

There was only one winner at this point, but Mitrovic showed surprising quickness to spin Virgil van Dijk, who cut the Serbian striker in the box.

Mitrovic coolly converted the resulting penalty past Alisson Becker, but Fulham could not hold on in the last 18 minutes and scored a famous victory.

Another long ball into the box towards Nunez caused a panic in Fulham’s defense and the ball eventually went to Salah, who scored on the opening Premier League weekend for the sixth straight season.

Liverpool could even snatch the win in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Jordan Henderson’s long-range shot hit the crossbar.

But the point was the least Fulham deserved as they got off to a strong start in their quest to avoid relegation for a fourth straight season while in the top flight.

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