As expected, Liverpool began as the dominant side, taking control of possession during the opening stages of the game. Despite their dominance over the ball, the home side struggled to create any chances with the absence of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah extremely noticeable.
The chemistry between the players also seemed off considering it was a line-up that had never played together before. While Liverpool looked to trouble Bernd Leno, it was Fulham who struck first and were successful at that.
A mistimed header from Virgil van Dijk on the edge of his box laid the ball perfectly in the path of Andreas Pereira who found Willian in Liverpool's box as the ex-Chelsea winger skipped past both Conor Bradley and Ibrahima Konaté before slotting the ball between van Dijk's legs and past Caoimhin Kelleher.
It was a shock opening goal in the game and it only made Fulham more confident as their passages of play got tidier and quicker while Liverpool struggled to break down a full-strength Fulham side as they entered the break trailing 1-0.
Liverpool's poor performance resumed in the second half and very nearly found themselves 2-0 down after Bobby Decordova Reid's shot was saved well by Kelleher.
The Uruguayan was the creator for Curtis Jones who got on the end of his pass and shot outside the box and thanks to a deflection from Tosin Adarabioyo, there was nothing Leno could do about it, Liverpool were back at 1-1.
After finally scoring, there was more grit and swagger in Liverpool's play as Diogo Jota's aggression saw him win the ball high up the pitch before laying it for Núñez who was making a run on the left wing.
The 24-year-old smartly cut it back for Gakpo who finished past Leno for his fourth goal in the competition to give Liverpool the lead for the first time in the match.
Núñez himself went close with minutes to go but the leg of Leno denied him as Liverpool will travel to Craven Cottage later this month knowing a draw will be enough to see them return to Wembley for the first time since 2022.
LFC Globe Verdict
It was an extremely poor performance from Liverpool in the first half but once Núñez and Gakpo were subbed on, they looked like their old selves again. Fulham remain a tricky team for Jürgen Klopp's side but the most important thing was to get the victory, especially with the number of key players they're missing.
Man Of The Match And What's Next?
While the official man of the match was Curtis Jones, I think Conor Bradley deserves the accolade for his performance. In what was just his second start for Liverpool in two years, he put in a tremendous shift on both ends of the pitch.
Despite Willian scoring, he managed to subdue the Brazilian for most of the match while getting into excellent attacking positions.