LONDON, March 18 ― Liverpool usurped Manchester City to take top spot in the Premier League but needed a James Milner penalty nine minutes from time to see off lowly Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage yesterday.
Fulham's recent results against Liverpool do not make for impressive reading.
The Cottagers will go into this game as the firm underdogs against Jurgen Klopp's side who will be fired up, knowing that a win will take them to the top of the standings. "It's good that we've split the goals a little bit", Klopp said, putting a positive slant on the fact that the unstoppable Mohamed Salah of last season has now gone six games without scoring.
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead in the opening half-hour as he confidently slotted home from Roberto Firmino's reverse pass in to the box. We could've finished it off in the second-half but if you don't kill the game at 1-0 up, it's clear something like that can happen.
The most important thing was the three points.
"I was sure we wouldn't panic and wouldn't show the nerves that you are all waiting for". It is about intensity. I always want perfection but it's rare that you get it. People will say we should be more convincing in games like this but this is us, we are in the middle of a development, not at the end.
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Because Manchester City played in the cup this weekend, the Reds now find themselves on top of the Premier League by two points. "Fulham have their own problems and reasons for wanting the points", he said.
Senegal worldwide Mane is in red-hot form for the Reds right now, with 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions.
Disaster seemed to have struck for Liverpool when Van Dijk's header back towards Alisson didn't have enough purchase and Babel stepped in with the break of the ball to tap into an empty net.
Fulham threatened to put the team's title hopes in jeopardy when Ryan Babel equalised after Virgil van Dijk and Alisson's miscommunication at the back, but Liverpool ran out victorious eventually. "I am happy with the clubs I have had".
"Hendo will go to the national team", the manager added.
"These players have been working really well for the two weeks I've been here". They have lost their previous five Premier League meetings against the Reds and last defeated them at Anfield in May 2012.