Fulham 1-2 Liverpool: Reds nerve ‘not in doubt’ after scare

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Fulham 1-2 Liverpool: Liverpool were a bit rusty in first half – Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side’s nerve is “not in doubt” as they survived a scare to win 2-1 at Fulham and go top of the Premier League.

James Milner scored a late penalty after a mix-up between Alisson and Virgil van Dijk gifted Ryan Babel an equaliser to Sadio Mane’s opener.

The Reds are now two points in front of Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

“We started well but lost the rhythm a little bit,” Klopp told BBC Sport.

Klopp said his side were “a bit rusty” in the first half, having beaten Bayern Munich away on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

“We could’ve finished it off in the second half but if you don’t kill the game, something like that can happen,” he added.

“I’m not in doubt about my players’ nerve. I always want perfection but it’s really 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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‘Average game, sensational result’

After Mane neatly exchanged passes with Roberto Firmino to score his 11th goal in as many games in all competitions, Liverpool struggled to create many other chances, allowing Fulham back into the game in the second half.

The hosts had a goal rightly disallowed for offside before Babel snuck in to take advantage of Alisson and Van Dijk’s miscommunication, only for Fulham keeper Sergio Rico to foul Mane after dropping Mohamed Salah’s shot for Milner’s winning penalty.

“We want to stay in the title race and that’s what we did,” said Klopp.

“First is the best position you can be in. City don’t look as if they drop a lot of points, so we have to win, to win and to win.

“I didn’t see us panic, I liked how we reacted. The penalty doesn’t say we are sensational – 10 minutes before the equaliser, we had so many little mistakes.

“But we had a very intense week, going to Munich, coming back, travelling to London, so I’m completely fine.

“Average game, sensational result.”