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2018/2019 English Premier League
  • Ryan Babel (74')
  • Sadio ManĂ© (26')
  • James Milner (81' PEN)

Liverpool top after Milner penalty spares Van Dijk, Alisson's blushes vs. Fulham

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Late Milner penalty gives Liverpool dramatic win (1:31)

James Milner dispatched a late penalty after Virgil van Dijk's mistake had gifted Fulham an equalizer. (1:31)

James Milner's 80th-minute penalty sent Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-1 victory over Fulham after Anfield old boy Ryan Babel's equaliser had appeared to put a serious dint in the visitors' title challenge.

With Manchester City not in action this weekend due to their FA Cup involvement, Liverpool knew a victory would see them return to the summit, and Sadio Mane kept up his impressive recent scoring record with his fifth goal in the past three matches.

The Senegal international -- whose two goals helped Jurgen Klopp's men beat Bayern Munich 3-1 at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League round of 16 -- slotted home after 25 minutes following good link-up play with Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool were in complete control at the break, but Fulham woke up in the second half and began threatening -- with Babel leading them on the counterattack.

And the Cottagers thought they'd levelled on 65 minutes when Aleksandar Mitrovic diverted Zambo Anguissa's effort past Alisson, but the Serbia international was flagged offside.

However, Fulham's equaliser did arrive on 74 minutes following a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson which allowed Babel to tap into an empty net.

But Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico handed Liverpool a lifeline when he dragged Mane down in the box with 10 minutes remaining -- and Milner slammed home the penalty.

The result means Liverpool go two points clear of City at the top of the table, having played a game more, while Fulham stay 13 points from safety with nine matches remaining.