Tom Cairney insisted that Issa Diop didn’t touch Darwin Nunez for the controversial penalty that cost Fulham a point at Anfield last night.

Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot after the Liverpool forward went to ground after looking to pinch possession from the French defender in the area, but television replays showed there was scant contact between the two. The decision spot – and Mo Salah scored the only goal of the game – something that incensed Fulham’s players, who protested vigorously to Attwell at the time.

Captain Cairney, who played more than seventy minutes in place of the injured Andreas Pereira, was particularly frustrated.

I thought we played very well at times, but to lose to a penalty that wasn’t a penalty is always a kick in the you-know-whats. At the time, I wasn’t sure. The ref made a decision, I thought he’d seen contact. I asked him on the pitch, ‘please just make sure they check it.

He said they checked it, but he said second half to one of our players that it wasn’t a penalty, so it’s frustrating because it goes to other people to make the correct decision. Issa Diop hasn’t touched him, Nunez has taken another step and then gone over, and then you lose to something like that at Anfield which is frustrating when we’re trying to climb as high as we can.

The Scottish midfielder insisted he was proud of Fulham’s display last night – and that of how Marco Silva’s side have risen to the challenge of competing in the top flight.

We’ve made massive, massive strides this season, which people didn’t expect us to, so we can take a lot of positives from that moving forward. We’re in the top half and we deserve to be. If we said we’d be above Chelsea after 34 games at the start of the season, people wouldn’t have believed us.

Honestly, performance-wise, we’ve done really well all season. We’ve just said we’ve got four games left, four cup finals. We’ve set our own targets in our minds, our goals for the football club, and we’re looking to do that.”