Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table after a late James Milner penalty gave them a 2-1 win at Fulham.
The Reds had looked comfortable after Sadio Mane’s opener, but former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel grabbed an apologetic equaliser before Milner then netted from the spot after Mane had been brought down by Sergio Rico in the home goal.
The victory sees Jurgen Klopp’s men move two points ahead of Manchester City, who were in FA Cup action this weekend and have a game in hand, while Fulham continue to look doomed down in 19th.
Liverpool took a 1-0 into the break after a superbly worked opener in the 26th minute involving Mane and Roberto Firmino.
The former attacked the Fulham backline, played in Firmino and then latched onto the Brazilian’s return pass to smash home from eight yards.
Virgil van Dijk came close to adding a second for the visitors when he saw a far-post header saved, while at the other end Fulham had a Floyd Ayite header ruled out for offside and Zambo Anguissa saw a strike comfortably held by Alisson in a slightly more even second period.
Klopp made a double change with 20 minutes to go when Milner and Divock Origi replaced Adam Lallana and Firmino, and seconds later it was almost two when Mane glanced a header from a corner onto the crossbar.
Fulham were level, however, in the 75th minute thanks to an horrendous shanked Milner clearance and then a mix-up between van Dijk and Alisson that allowed Babel to nip in and equalise slightly against the run of play.
But Liverpool got their noses back in front with 10 minutes to go when Mo Salah’s shot was only parried by Rico and, with Mane ready to pounce, the home stopper hauled down the Reds forward and Milner converted the resultant penalty with aplomb.
Salah missed a great chance to net his 50th Liverpool goal late on when his effort was well held by Rico after a fine Mane run, but the visitors comfortably held on to claim a crucial three points in the title race.