Thursday, June 27, 2019 | ePaper
Liverpool survive Fulham scare to go top of Premier League
Liverpool's livewire Sadio Mane (left) scored one goal and played a crucial part in the other as they reclaimed the Premier League's top spot with a scrappy 2-1 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
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 on Sunday.
The on-form Sadio Mane put the visitors in front midway through the first half, but a rare defensive mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker allowed Ryan Babel to give his former club a huge scare 16 minutes from time. Fulham's awful defending all season is the reason they are heading back to the Championship after just one season back in the top flight, and the hosts gave Jurgen Klopp's men a much-needed gift when goalkeeper Sergio Rico bundled over Mane and Milner secured all three points from the spot. Liverpool now hold a two-point lead over City, but the champions have a game in hand. "Average game, sensational result," said Klopp of his side's performance. "City don't look like they will drop a lot of points, so we have to win and win and win. That's our job to do."
Liverpool completed a clean sweep of four English sides into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a highly impressive 3-1 win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday. But they nearly suffered a very costly European hangover against a Fulham side still 13 points adrift of safety.
"We had to run a lot in a week where we ran a lot," added Klopp to justify an at times lacklustre display at such a pivotal stage of the season. Most of the visitors' attacking threat came down their left side through Mane and the Senegalese proved the source of the breakthrough on 26 minutes.