- Mane opens scoring in 26th
- Ex-Reds striker Babel stars in loss
- Mane wins late penalty, Milner converts
James Milner‘s 81st minute penalty saved Liverpool blushes in a 2-1 defeat of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
The Reds had a Sadio Mane-inspired lead, but had given it back through a comedy of errors Ryan Babel equalizer.
Liverpool goes atop the Premier League on 76 points, having played one more match than Man City (74 points).
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Some lively dribbling from ex-Liverpool man Ryan Babel cued up Jean-Michael Seri for a shot that sailed over the goal.
Andrew Robertson hit a cross too close to Fulham keeper Rico after some fancy dribbling of his own.
Liverpool was asking all the questions when Mane put them ahead, beginning the move on the left wing before passing to and receiving from Roberto Firmino for 1-0.
Mane has nine goals in his last nine PL matches, and 11 in 11 overall.
Liverpool was a bit lucky that a rash foul from Fabinho didn’t earn him as second yellow card and send the Reds down to 10 men at the break.
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17 – Sadio Mané has scored 17 goals in the Premier League this season, overtaking Demba Ba as the Senegalese player with the most goals in a single campaign (16 in 2011-12). Lions. pic.twitter.com/Z76rOGmelK
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 17, 2019
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Fulham did not quit, and looked the better money for a second half goal. A first break saw Aleksandar Mitrovic nod into the goal only to see an offside flag deny the marker.
Babel was at the center of it all, and led a second break which ended with a Alisson Becker save on Andre Franck Zambo Anguissa.
That’s when calamity occurred in the center of the pitch. James Milner mishit a clearance, and Virgil Van Dijk casually headed back toward Alisson. The goalkeeper lost the ball in his feet, and Babel was on the doorstep to slot home.
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The stalemate lasted just a few minutes, as Milner converted a penalty conceded when Rico impeded Mane in the box.
Mohamed Salah had a chance to put the match to bed following a Mane-led run, but the Egyptian fired right at Rico.