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Crouch And Rio Single Out One Brilliant Element Of Mitrovic's Performance v Liverpool

Crouch And Rio Single Out One Brilliant Element Of Mitrovic's Performance v Liverpool
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Fulham hosted Liverpool on the first day of the new Premier League season, and they and star man Aleksandar Mitrovic certainly made their mark on opening day.

Last season's Championship winners unexpectedly took the fight to Liverpool, taking the lead twice before valiantly holding out for a draw.

Mitrovic was the star for the Cottagers, scoring both goals for the newly promoted side.

After the draw with Liverpool, BT Sport's punditry team praised Mitrovic's performance against a famously resolute Liverpool backline. Rio Ferdinand would even say that Mitrovic was the kind of player he would have hated to play against.

Fulham v Liverpool: Ferdinand and Crouch praise unique Mitrovic performance

Fulham were given one of the toughest possible prospects on opening day of the Premier League, as they were pencilled in to host Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

Fulham took a surprise lead into half-time after Aleksandar Mitrovic got the better of Trent Alexander-Arnold to head the ball home late in the first half. Liverpool equalised in the second half through Darwin Nunez, but they were to be stunned once more when Mitrovic won and converted a penalty to restore Fulham's lead with less than 20 minutes to go.

Mo Salah would ultimately save Liverpool's blushes with a late equaliser, but a point away to newly promoted opposition is certainly not an ideal way to start the season for last year's runners up.



Mitrovic's performance was a positive indicator that he may be able to perform at Premier League level. He disappointed with Fulham on their last stint in the top flight in 2020-21, scoring only three goals, but 43 goals in 44 Championship games last year had punters hoping that he could perform better in the top flight this time around.


After the game, BT Sport's punditry team analysed the performance of the Serbian, with Rio Ferdinand and Peter Crouch noting that few players have been able to intimidate Virgil van Dijk like Mitrovic did.

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Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch was the first to speak about Mitrovic's performance, and noted how the Fulham man had done well against Liverpool's resolute defensive duo of van Dijk and Joel Matip.

Crouch noted that, often, Liverpool's defence is so well organised that viewers "don't notice" the presence of van Dijk and Matip on the pitch, but said that Mitrovic had made sure their presence was felt with his movement and physicality during the game.

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Similarly, Rio Ferdinand went on to say that there were not many players in the league who could put a challenge up against van Dijk in the manner that Mitrovic had at Craven Cottage. He added that Mitrovic's physicality made him the kind of player he would have hated to defend against during his playing days.

Ferdinand also pointed out that Fulham's plan appears lasered in on playing to Mitrovic's strengths, saying:

I don't think we can get carried away, but I think a big difference today - and you'd like to think it will carry on now, given what we've seen today - is that last time they were up I don't think they played completely to his strengths. Whereas this first evidence we're getting today - Pereira is new in the door, he can get on the ball. Everytime he got the ball, he's looking for Mitrovic.

Everytime they get wide, they're crossing - 14 crosses in the first half. Wilson's missing, who was a big provider of chances last year for Mitrovic. They're going to need to make him the vocal point.

Liverpool got a bit of a shock at Fulham on opening day, thanks in no small part to the excellent work of Aleksandar Mitrovic up front. Fans of the Cottagers will hope that Saturday's game is a sign that Mitrovic may be able to bang them in more regularly this season.

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