BY MATT VERRI
Scott Parker hailed the quality of his team as Fulham secured a deserved point with a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Craven Cottage.
In front of 2,000 returning home fans, the hosts took the lead through Bobby Decordova-Reid in a first half where they were much the better side.
Liverpool dominated possession after the break and equalised late on through a Mo Salah penalty, but Fulham held on to ensure they got something from their impressive performance.
Parker has spoken of the resilience his side have shown in recent matches, but it was their ability on the ball that impressed him most this weekend.
“I feel a little disappointed and the players do as well in the changing room, and I suppose it shows how far we’ve come,” he said.
“We came out of the blocks flying today, and I thought we showed our quality. That’s the most important thing for me.
“Of course you have to have the commitment with where we’re going to be fighting this year, but we’ve got quality in this team and we can play. I thought we did that very well in the first half and caused Liverpool a lot of problems.
“The second half pans out as I think everyone thought it would. We had to show another side and we did that, so overall I’m very pleased.”
The hosts could have taken the lead even earlier than they eventually did, with Ivan Cavaleiro seeming to have a strong penalty shout after a challenge from Fabinho.
Referee Andre Marriner waved away the initial appeals and then stuck with his decision after consulting the touchline VAR monitor, much to the frustration of Parker.
“At real speed, I didn’t think it was a penalty – I thought the ref was correct and I didn’t even contemplate it being a penalty,” he admitted.
“I’ve seen it now, and I don’t understand how he hasn’t given a penalty. The player has had to hit my player’s foot for the ball to go out of play.
“I think there will be a lot of discussion this year on VAR, and we’re already experiencing that, but what I don’t understand is how we can have a discussion about that penalty.
“I understand totally not giving it at real speed, but we’ve got VAR and he’s gone to check it, but he’s still decided not to give it which did surprise me.”
Despite earning a point against Liverpool, Burnley’s win away at Arsenal meant that Fulham dropped back into the relegation zone this weekend.
With crucial matches against Brighton and Newcastle this week, Parker knows his side must maintain their level of performance.
“I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have given us a chance today,” the Fulham boss said.
“But we have constant belief in this team and a real passion and determination about us. You can get results with that, and we’ve got four points out of three games that people wouldn’t have believed we could.
“We now need to maintain that against the teams coming up.”
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