Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is confident Kieran Trippier will stay with the club after they resisted Bayern Munich’s attempts to prise him away.

The 33-year-old England full-back was the subject of three separate offers from the Bundesliga champions earlier this week, all of which were rejected by the Magpies.

Howe, who has also seen strikers Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron linked with moves away from Tyneside before next Thursday’s transfer deadline, insisted Trippier – the first man signed by the club’s new owners following their takeover in October 2021 – never wanted to leave.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham, he said: “We obviously hope he’ll stay – and I’m very confident he will – and be part of our long-term future, but I have to make it clear that he’s never asked to leave or even questioned his future here. He’s always been fully committed.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week and it’s always been about Newcastle, and I think it was very important that I made that clear and got that out there to everybody, that his commitment to Newcastle shouldn’t be questioned.”

Bayern said they had ended their pursuit on Wednesday evening after being given no encouragement, and asked if he considered the matter over, Howe added: “His situation is finished as far as everyone is concerned, Kieran, myself.

“I’ve just been in football long enough to never ever say 100 per cent because I don’t want to look stupid, but Kieran is 100 per cent committed and we definitely want to keep him.”

Wilson has been linked with a series of clubs this week after chief executive Darren Eales admitted the club would have to trade players in future windows in order to comply with spending restrictions.

But Howe said: “In every conversation that I’ve had with Callum – very similar to Kieran – he’s 100 per cent committed to Newcastle. No part of him is looking elsewhere.

“He wants to come back and score goals, he’s got big ambitions for the second half of the season and we want to keep him here.

“Obviously some things are out of my control and of course the club is acting within the long-term interests of the club and has to, and I understand that and am fully supportive of it, so let’s see what happens.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been quick to play down early talk of another quadruple bid after booking their place in the Carabao Cup final.

The Reds were chasing four trophies two years ago when they beat Chelsea – who they will again face in next month’s final – at Wembley.

In that season Klopp’s side played every match they were eligible for but finished with only a domestic cup double after being pipped to the Premier League title on the last day by Manchester City and losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

This time around they again have their sights on a four-trophy haul, sitting top of the Premier League having reached the last 16 of the Europa League and face Championship opponents Norwich in the FA Cup on Sunday.

“I didn’t think about it to be honest because we are far off having ‘four finals’,” said Klopp, less than 24 hours after their 3-2 semi-final aggregate win over Fulham.

“We have qualified for one. It makes no sense to plan the next one before you have played the first one.

“The competitions are not made so that someone wins all of them. It’s just the number of games. I saw that the final is on February 25 and if we win on Sunday then the next round of the FA Cup will be three days later.

“It’s very unlikely we reach all three finals, it’s just the nature of it.”

The disquiet continues over the decision for Mohamed Salah to leave Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations base in Ivory Coast to return to Merseyside for treatment on a hamstring injury.

Egypt’s doctor Mohamed Abou El-Ela reportedly told African media Salah did not want to come back and claimed Klopp revealing he would be leaving before the national team had chance to announce it had caused problems.

While Klopp apologised if he spoke out of turn he stressed both parties wanted the best for their prized asset.

“Most people in Egypt understand the situation because we have exactly the same target as Egypt – make Mo fit as quick as possible,” he added.

“That’s all we want and that’s how it always is. If a player is injured we try everything to help him to get fit as quick as possible.

“All parties agreed that it makes sense he is doing rehab here. We have a season to play so we want him fit but if he is fit earlier then as long as Egypt is still in the tournament he will go back, that is clear. Then it’s a win-win.

“If I said something too early – I knew there were discussions that he might come home but I didn’t know if that was already sorted – and then someone tells me ‘How can you say that?’ then I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentionally wrong.”

Midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai is expected to return from a hamstring injury at the weekend after four matches out but Klopp does not yet know if right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) will be available for training on Friday.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s game plan and admitted his players “understood” the occasion better than Fulham after Wednesday night’s 1-1 Carabao Cup semi-final draw booked their place in the final thanks to a 3-2 aggregate win.

Luiz Diaz’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Issa Diop’s 76th-minute equaliser but the Cottagers could not find another at Craven Cottage as the Reds set up a Wembley showdown with Chelsea.

Klopp praised Liverpool’s second-half performance, where they soaked up pressure and frustrated Marco Silva’s men.

“They came out and they pressed for a while, but we understood the game slightly better,” Klopp said.

“I liked the second half as well. We should’ve scored, there were two situations.

“I think the counter-attack, everything was perfect and then Lucho (Diaz) doesn’t find the right player – which was a little bit of a shame – and when Harvey (Elliott) could shoot with his slightly-weaker right foot, we could’ve put the game to bed, but we didn’t.”

Liverpool were far from their best on the night and missed the presence of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Klopp knew the occasion would not be an easy one against their Premier League rivals but a solid team performance saw the visitors capitalise on their 2-1 first-leg advantage at Anfield.

“It was just a good game, a good cup game,” Klopp added.

“Whoever expected tonight that we just show quality and we get through and this will be a walk in the park doesn’t understand the game and doesn’t understand the importance of the occasion.

“Both teams wanted to go to Wembley – and we qualified and that’s all we could wish for.”

Joe Gomez continued to feature at left-back in place of the injured Andy Robertson and rarely put a foot wrong against Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Klopp added: “He played exceptional today again. He’s a real defender and he comes inside. He’s doing that really well.

“He is a life-saver, to be honest, that he was here, that he could play and people forget how important Joey (Gomez) was in the best years we had.

“I don’t know how many games he played in the year when we became champions and how many games he played when we won the Champions League. A lot and rightly so because he’s a top-class player.”

Jurgen Klopp was delighted his Liverpool side matched Fulham’s desire to reach the Carabao Cup final after the Reds secured their place at Wembley with a spirited 1-1 second-leg draw at Craven Cottage.

Luis Diaz put the Reds in the driving seat in the first half and despite Issa Diop’s 76th minute equaliser giving Fulham late hope, Liverpool sealed a 3-2 aggregate win after their 2-1 victory at Anfield earlier this month.

Klopp lauded his side’s spirit in the late stages as they now ready themselves for a repeat of the 2022 final against Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea.

“We were just ready for this game and that’s the most important thing. I saw Marco Silva’s press conference and we know what this game meant to them and so I told the boys we have to also show it,” Klopp said.

“We had to show it to the outside world that we wanted it as much as them and I saw that.

“We had to get over the line and we did. It feels great, we are really happy, the boys wanted it and they got it and so we have 10 games to play before the final in four weeks or so. We are looking forward to Wembley.”

Liverpool defeated Chelsea in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals two years ago and Klopp believes the Blues will be motivated to get their revenge.

He added: “It will be a big one but we all know it’s against Chelsea. They will want to put history right after playing us twice two years ago.”

Diaz was quick to react and beat Timothy Castagne in the air before a deflected strike got past Bernd Leno at his near post.

The Liverpool boss talked up the winger’s impact after his standout performance on the night.

Klopp said: “He was very good. He’s a fantastic player and I have absolutely no criticism of him but I wish he set up the second and scored the third.

“The speed and the power he can generate, the technique and the combination of that is outstanding so I’m really happy.”

Fulham dug deep to try and force the game into extra-time but their earlier missed opportunities frustrated Silva come full time.

Silva believes Liverpool’s experience in big games was the difference maker between the two sides.

He said: “Tonight I felt like they were much calmer than us and to them it was just another game. With most of our players it is new to them to play in a semi-final of this competition and it is what it is.

“I think the club is going to grow in these type of moments and the players as well.”

Liverpool booked their place in the Carabao Cup final as they capitalised on their first-leg advantage and held a spirited Fulham to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Luis Diaz’s opener was cancelled out by Issa Diop but the Red’s dug deep in the second leg to claim a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Liverpool will face Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea at Wembley on February 25, two years after defeating the Blues in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals.

A fired up Fulham came out of the blocks fighting as they looked to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

After Joao Palhinha’s first-time volley from Andreas Pereira’s corner sailed over, the hosts continued to push through the overlapping Antonee Robinson whose dangerous delivery failed to connect with a white shirt.

But a moment of complacency saw Liverpool strike the first blow in the 11th minute.

Jarell Quansah sent a long ball forward which appeared routine for Timothy Castagne to claim but the full-back was caught napping by Diaz.

The winger reacted quickly to beat him in the air before he drove into the box and scored past Bernd Leno at his near post.

Diaz had the ball in the back of the net again after Darwin Nunez exploited large gaps between centre-backs Tosin Adarabioyo and Diop but the goal was ruled offside after the striker naively moved too soon.

The Cottagers sought inspiration through Raul Jimenez and the Mexico international’s long-range shot forced Caoimhin Kelleher into action when he tipped the ball wide for a corner.

The hosts, now galvanised, enjoyed a five-minute flurry but despite Willian’s attempt from distance and Tom Cairney finding promising pockets, Marco Silva’s men failed to get the goal they desperately needed.

Fulham’s momentum continued after the break but so did their poor day in front of goal. Second-choice keeper Kelleher failed to collect a high ball, losing out to Bobby Decordova-Reid before Pereira found the post from a tight angle instead of the open net.

Liverpool appeared to have rode the storm and began to turn the screw themselves. After Nunez’s effort whistled past Leno’s left post in the 63rd minute, powerful midfielder Ryan Gravenberch did well to get the ball out of his feet before producing a driven strike which missed the target, much to the delight of Leno who would have been well-beaten.

Fulham blew the tie wide open when they scored in the 77th minute.

Harry Wilson drove down the left and curved a cross into the area where he found Diop, who had galloped forward from the back and expertly claimed the leveller with a neat finish past the keeper.

The west Londoners pushed for a dramatic ending and to take the tie into extra-time but a stubborn Liverpool held on through four added minutes.

Jamaican forward Bobby De Cordova-Reid has entered discussions with English Premier League side Fulham regarding a potential contract extension, as revealed by the player himself in an interview with The Athletic.

De Cordova-Reid, currently in the last six months of his existing deal, confirmed the ongoing talks between the club and his agent. The 31-year-old expressed optimism about reaching an agreement but acknowledged that such negotiations take time.

"The club and (my) agent have been in talks, and the thing is to get to (an) agreement," De Cordova-Reid stated. "Obviously, I want an agreement to happen, but things take time, so we'll know more in the future."

Despite being in the final stretch of his current contract, talks are reportedly amicable between the Jamaican forward and Fulham. However, specific terms for the extension are yet to be finalized. Even in the absence of an immediate agreement, De Cordova-Reid has emphasized his commitment to Fulham until the summer.

De Cordova-Reid joined Fulham in August 2019 on loan from Cardiff City, and the move was made permanent in January 2020. The club exercised an option to extend his contract until summer 2024. In his time with Fulham, he has made 167 appearances, scoring 26 goals, including four in the current Premier League season.

Acknowledging his desire for regular playing time, De Cordova-Reid emphasized his focus on contributing to the team's success on the field. Known for his versatility and leadership qualities, he holds the position of one of head coach Marco Silva’s ‘group captains’ and maintains a strong rapport with the Portuguese manager.

“We get on really well,” De Cordova-Reid stated regarding his relationship with Silva. “He plays me quite a lot and in different positions, so he has that trust for me. I appreciate that, and I just want to repay him by doing well on the field."

Reflecting on past achievements, including promotion as champions from the Championship in 2021-22 and securing Premier League status, De Cordova-Reid praised Silva for bringing in the right personnel and fostering a cohesive team dynamic.

"He knows what players he needs on the pitch and in and around the dressing room, and it works well for us," De Cordova-Reid added, expressing his commitment to the club's continued success.

Marco Silva has revealed last season’s embarrassing Carabao Cup exit to Crawley has spurred Fulham onto the semi-finals this year.

The Cottagers host Liverpool on Wednesday night trailing 2-1 on aggregate as they aim to reach a first major domestic cup final since 1975.

Silva’s side led at Anfield in the first leg before conceding twice in three minutes to find themselves as outsiders to down Liverpool and reach Wembley.

The journey is a far cry from their 2-0 loss to Crawley in the second round last August, where Silva made 10 changes from their previous Premier League game.

“My ambition is to always play cup competitions and go further,” Silva said on the eve of the tie.

“Last season we were promoted and we played in the quarter-final of the FA Cup and our aim was always to go further – of course it’s important to recognise that the Premier League was the main thing.

“But at the same time, when we played the other competitions we were trying to be strong enough – the first game in the Carabao was really poor last season.

“It was a good moment to speak with the players about what I demand from them and what we demand from any competitions that you play in the future.”

Silva has taken charge of 229 games in England across spells at Hull, Watford, Everton and Fulham.

The 46-year-old also reached the Greek Cup final with Olympiacos in 2016, having won the Taca de Portugal with Sporting the season before.

But he admits the visit of Liverpool and the potential for a first-ever game as a manager at Wembley means Wednesday is one of the biggest nights of his managerial career in England.

“It is one of them, yes,” he replied. “I did play a (League Cup) semi-final with Hull City as well against Manchester United but, if you ask me right now, I would prefer to have another more important one in one month’s time or two months’ time.”

Louis Saha joined Manchester United for £12.83million from Fulham on this day in 2004, signing a five-and-a-half-year deal at Old Trafford.

The France international had spent three and a half years at Craven Cottage after joining from Metz in 2000, scoring 63 goals in 142 appearances.

It was said his performance in Fulham’s 3-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2003 – Saha did not score in the match but was instrumental in Fulham’s attacking play – convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to bring him to United.

He made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Southampton, and going on to bag seven goals in 10 starts over the rest of the campaign.

But his first full season in United colours was hampered by a succession of injuries, two of them sustained while on international duty with France, and he was limited to only 11 starts and 11 substitute appearances, scoring two goals.

He also missed the start of the following season with a hamstring problem, an all too familiar pattern over the course of his four-and-a-half-year United campaign.

There were highs – during the 2005-06 season he was the regular partner for Wayne Rooney in the League Cup and scored in the 4-0 final victory over Wigan.

But, having been handed his chance as first choice in the Premier League following Ruud van Nistelrooy’s departure for Real Madrid, injury woes struck again in the second half of the 2006-07 season.

After a succession of injuries disrupted him again the following campaign, Saha would leave United for Everton in the summer of 2008, having scored 42 goals in 120 appearances.

Mauricio Pochettino predicted Chelsea will benefit from having to “suffer” though the final minutes of their 1-0 win over Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

Cole Palmer’s first-half penalty was the difference but Marco Silva’s side never looked beaten and threw everything at their hosts in search of a late leveller.

Chelsea were perhaps fortunate not to lose Malo Gusto to a red card after 38 minutes for catching Willian with his studs, a VAR check confirming the on-field decision of a booking.

Palmer scored his ninth goal since arriving from Manchester City in the summer when he slotted in from the spot on the stroke of half-time, a foul awarded against defender Issa Diop on Raheem Sterling after collecting Palmer’s sublime through-ball.

It was the kind of pass Chelsea have so often laboured to find this season, and that was the case for much of the first half here.

Indeed Fulham would have been more than good value for going in at the break level, and might even have taken the lead had Harry Wilson been more accurate with his far-post finish from Andreas Pereira’s cross, striking his effort too close to goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

Chelsea’s best chance of the first 45 minutes prior to the goal fell to the head of Armando Broja who thumped wide from Enzo Fernandez’s cross. Sterling was a lingering threat down the left but on the whole was dealt with by Fulham right-back Kenny Tete.

“The first half wasn’t the first half that we sought or planned,” said Pochettino. “Something happened before the game, I don’t want to explain, that affected the team a little bit.

“In the second half we started really good, played really good football for 30 minutes, should score another goal and kill the game. But when it’s open and you don’t kill the game, we conceded a few set pieces, a wide free-kick and a corner, and they have good potential.

“We defended well, it was good for us to suffer a little bit at the end. This type of game will help us grow and build our confidence in the way we’re working.

“It was good to see this young team defend the last 15 minutes the way we defended. We were fighting, we were doing everything to try and keep the result.”

Pochettino defended the decision not to dismiss Gusto in the first half.

It would have been the defender’s second red of the season after he was sent off against Aston Villa in September.

“Yellow card because it was a yellow card,” said the manager. “Remember against Aston Villa it was a red card, I didn’t complain about that. Today it was a yellow card.

“I have a very good relationship with (Marco Silva), he’s a great person and coach. If I’m put in his place, I’m going to tell you it was a red card. I understand.

“The view of the referees sometimes are different. What can I say? They thought it was only a yellow card, and good for us.”

Fulham boss Silva struck a more oppositional stance in response to the VAR’s decision.

“It’s a clear mistake from the VAR,” he said. “It’s a clear red card.

“It’s difficult for (referee) Anthony Taylor to see if it’s a red card. We have to be fair with him because the moment is really quick. In the Premier League, in 10 moments like that one, nine have been a red card.”

Chelsea made it three Premier League wins in a row for the first time since October 2022 as Cole Palmer’s penalty guided them to a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

The winning goal came in stoppage time at the end of the first half, the top scorer for Mauricio Pochettino’s side notching his ninth goal of the season after Raheem Sterling was tripped in the box.

However, the move had been started by a moment of Palmer genius, spotting a gap and threading a superb ball through the middle that drew defender Issa Diop into a clumsy foul.

Marco Silva’s visitors never truly looked beaten until the final whistle sounded.

Chelsea, though, defended doggedly in the final moments to breath genuine momentum into their season.

The first half began in a familiar pattern, plenty of possession for the hosts but little or no penetration in the final third. Sterling was busy down the left during the opening 15 minutes, Kenny Tete at right-back barring the way.

The only chance of those opening exchanges fell to Conor Gallagher, the captain lifting his shot a couple of yards over the bar from just outside the box.

Sterling opted for a different tact on 20 minutes, laying it off wide to Enzo Fernandez to cross. His centre was met by Armando Broja at the front post, who failed to get enough of a glance on the ball and thumped his header wide.

The best chance of the half, though, was Fulham’s. Willian fed Andreas Pereira overlapping on the left, who picked out Harry Wilson stealing away into space on the far side. Wilson hit it first time, looking to sneak it inside Djordje Petrovic’s near post, but the goalkeeper spread himself well, rebounding it away with his legs.

Chelsea’s goal in added time at the end of the half was not deserved on the balance of play, but the pass from Palmer to carve out the chance was sublime. Making eyes for a lofted cross, he instead slipped a reverse ball through the middle for Sterling, who in cutting in onto his left was tripped by Diop. Palmer did the rest from the spot.

Chelsea were seeking a fourth win from five in the league, the kind of points return they had not enjoyed since former boss Graham Potter’s early days in charge more than a year ago. They were, in truth, fortunate to lead at the break.

Sterling headed against the post from six yards out at the start of the second half after Fernandez’s cross had picked him out. Malo Gusto played a low ball for Broja at the near post, but he failed to get a touch and it was cleared by Tosin, as a rebooted Chelsea emerged after the break with renewed purpose.

Fulham took time to get going in the second half half but finally found some bite after 70 minutes, Raul Jimenez shooting low first-time at goal and drawing a save from Petrovic dropping to his right. Pochettino responded by sending on Ben Chilwell for his first appearance in nearly fourth months after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Gallagher struck the post with a superb curling effort off the outside of his right boot as Chelsea looked to kill the game off, then Willian just cleared the bar from a free-kick, Fulham refusing to lie down easy.

In the end, the clock ran out on them, as Chelsea’s resurgence under Pochettino rolled on.

What the papers say

Chelsea will have to pay more than £100million if they want to sign 19-year-old Irish striker Evan Ferguson as Brighton resist letting go of the teenager, the Evening Standard says. Ferguson has signed a deal with Brighton until 2029 after a promising start to his career, including scoring six goals for the club this season.

Everton have slapped a £60million fee on 22-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana, and i sport reports that Arsenal, who are interested in the Belgian, will have to sell a player to afford him.

Fulham, Everton and clubs overseas are said to be interested in Brentford’s 26-year-old midfielder Frank Onyeka, the Guardian reports.

The Times says West Ham are interested in Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez, who Feyenoord value at £30million. The 22-year-old has scored 18 goals in 16 Eredivisie games this season.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jack Clarke: Football London reports West Ham and Crystal Palace are interested in Sunderland’s 23-year-old forward who is valued at around £20million.

Victor Osimhen: Senior figures at Real Madrid believe the club should sign the 25-year-old Napoli striker instead of Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, according to Football Transfers.

Derek Adams has continued his Ross County squad overhaul by signing goalkeeper George Wickens on loan from Fulham and allowing  defender Ben Purrington to depart for Exeter City.

Wickens, 22, is yet to make a senior appearance for the west London club, although he got some experience of first-team football while on loan at National League side Wealdstone in the 2021-22 campaign.

The 6ft 5ins goalkeeper, who has represented England at under-18 level, will provide competition and cover for County number one Ross Laidlaw.

Left-back Purrington has moved to Sky Bet League One side Exeter for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old joined the Staggies in July 2022 from Charlton and made
33 appearances, scoring twice.

Purrington is the fourth player to leave County this month, with Ben Paton departing upon expiry of his contract, Kyle Turner joining Raith Rovers on loan and Scott High returning to parent club Huddersfield.

The Staggies, who appointed Adams as manager in November, are currently 11th in the cinch Premiership and looking to ease their relegation concerns when the campaign resumes later this month following the winter break.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his belief is endless in his forwards whether they score or not after Darwin Nunez had an impactful but not ultimately decisive role in the 2-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg win over Fulham.

After coming off the bench in the 56th minute, the Uruguay international provided the assist for Curtis Jones’ deflected equaliser and then the cross from which fellow substitute Cody Gakpo swept home the winner.

On another day Nunez, who has scored just once in the last 16 matches, could have had a late hat-trick after being denied by goalkeeper Bernd Leno which would have virtually put Liverpool in the final ahead of the second leg in a fortnight.

“He plays outstanding, I have to say it. There are so many things I love about his game,” said Klopp.

“The first year was a year to adapt and he scored here and there but now he contributes in all games.

“The boys don’t start because they score or not score. My belief and trust in them, as long as they behave properly, is endless. They deserve it because of the effort they put in.

“I don’t know how to explain the Darwin situation. I’m so happy about Darwin’s reaction and how he takes it but you cannot be more unlucky in these finishing situations, that’s not possible.

“He does absolutely everything right, yet ball not in. And then he still sets up the other goal. I think that is really special to do that again.”

Liverpool’s substitutes have contributed 15 goals and 15 assists in all competitions this season, 12 better than any other Premier League team, and Nunez has been responsible for three goals and four assists.

His contribution was crucial as Klopp had no other options as the six other outfield substitutes were all academy graduates, the oldest of whom was 21-year-old left-back Owen Beck, recalled from a loan spell with Dundee.

The players currently absent, either with injury or international duty, are Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Wataru Endo, Kostas Tsimikas and Stefan Bajcetic.

“We have more players available usually but the boys who came on have real quality, obviously, already,” added Klopp.

“That we can bring Cody and Darwin from the bench, that is a proper change. On top of that, we changed the system and the formation and the set-up.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva was grateful to still have a chance in the second leg after they failed to capitalise on Willian’s 19th-minute opener.

“Two different halves. It wasn’t our best performance, even so first half we had a plan. We were ruthless from the first moment and really good from Willian when we scored,” he said.

“The second half was different, we struggled a bit more. We should manage them in a different way.

“They were a bit lucky the first goal, a deflection that changed completely the game, and the only thing that is disappointing is the way we managed the next 10 minutes.

“In a competition where we are playing two legs we cannot concede a fast attack like that. Liverpool had one or two chances to score the third and the reality is that Leno kept us in the game.”

Substitutes Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez came off the bench to help turn around Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at home to Fulham and ensured they will take a 2-1 lead to Craven Cottage.

The pair were introduced early in the second half with the hosts trailing to Willian’s 19th-minute goal after a Virgil van Dijk error.

Liverpool were struggling for creativity without the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold – who helped turn a 3-2 Fulham lead into a 4-3 Reds win in last month’s Premier League meeting – but as at Arsenal in the FA Cup at the weekend Jurgen Klopp’s changes altered the game.

Nunez added a directness which had been lacking while Gakpo brought the composure and control to midfield Ryan Gravenberch had not before he was replaced by his Netherlands team-mate.

And the pair combined for Gakpo to score in the 71st minute, just three minutes after Curtis Jones’ deflected equaliser.

The last team to win at Anfield was Real Madrid in February. Before that it was another side in white, Leeds in October 2022, and Fulham – in their first League Cup semi-final – must have been encouraged by the start they had.

Klopp made six changes from the weekend and while that saw 20-year-old Conor Bradley deputise for Alexander-Arnold in only his second start of the season, it also included the return of Van Dijk.

The Netherlands captain was back after illness but his decision to head a ball aimlessly sideways on the edge of his area proved costly.

Andreas Pereira nipped in behind and cut the ball back to the penalty spot where a couple of neat touches from Willian opened up the space for him to fire through the legs of the recovering Dutchman and give goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher little chance.

Moments later Van Dijk was booked for catching Pereira in the face with an arm as his travails continued.

But his personal difficulties were matched by his team, who were too one-paced in their build-up.

Harvey Elliott was given Mohamed Salah’s position on the right wing but his role often seemed to require filling the space usually occupied by Alexander-Arnold, which meant dropping deep with Bradley pushing forward as an orthodox over-lapping full-back.

But apart from an early Jones attempt straight at Bernd Leno and a Diogo Jota narrow-angle shot across the face of goal chances were rare with Fulham having more on target in the first half.

The tempo increased after the break with Gravenberch shooting wide and Jota delaying a fraction too long having created space for himself with a square run across the penalty area allowing Antonee Robinson to block.

But as the hosts pressed for the equaliser Fulham were able to expose the space opening up in Liverpool’s defence and Kelleher got down low to parry a Bobby Decordova-Reid shot.

Alexis Mac Allister’s cross was turned over by Leno but the equaliser had an element of good fortune when Jones took aim from distance and went in off Tosin Adarabioyo’s back.

Leno was beaten again when Gakpo turned home Nunez’s near-post cross after linking with Jota.

Liverpool’s all-action Uruguay international could have all-but sealed Liverpool’s passage to Wembley before the return leg but a full-stretch Leno tipped over his header, pushed away a fierce drive and blocked his close-range effort.

Marco Silva lauded “top professional” Bobby De Cordova-Reid and said he deserves his recent success after he scored the only goal during Fulham’s 1-0 win over Rotherham in the FA Cup third round.

De Cordova-Reid’s 24th-minute long-range stunner was the difference on the night and marked his second in as many games after his winner in Fulham’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Premier League.

And Silva, who previously hailed De Cordova-Reid’s leadership, believes his goal will lift his confidence after he netted his fifth of the season.

Silva said: “He deserves it because he’s a top professional, he’s a vocal guy and one of the great examples we have at the club in terms of focus, able to play in any position and he’s always there.

“He deserves all the credit and he deserves these good moments and good weeks.

“It’s important for us and him because he needs these type of moments to lift his confidence and he needs the confidence to keep going in the direction we want him to be.

“Bobby has the capacity to score and tonight it was a great strike from him.”

Fulham played eight matches in December and they will also have a busy January schedule with a Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool coming later this month.

Silva credited his side’s effort in recent weeks and acknowledged the busy weeks ahead.

Fulham will also play west London rivals Chelsea and Everton in the Premier League.

Silva added: “It’s a great sign for us as a football club and our fans should be proud of us that we’ve started (the season) well.

“We have kept the club in all the competitions, it was a tough and busy December and we will have another tough month for us.

“It is really important for us to win tonight and not have a possible replay.”

Rotherham boss Leam Richardson believes his side, who sit bottom of the Championship, will grow after the defeat.

The Millers had little to show for their efforts on the night but came close when Jordan Hugill’s attempt was ruled out for offside.

Richardson said: “Congratulations to Fulham. We are disappointed when we lose a game but great credit goes to the players, we nullified them in many areas and had a disallowed goal so we will only grow from that as a group.”

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