A Sadio Mane goal and a late James Milner penalty secured three points and the top spot on the Premier League table for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp will be relieved that Liverpool scraped their way through to a victory at Craven Cottage. The evening looked rather easy for Liverpool, but in reality, it was a difficult test, as Fulham refused to give in to Reds’ attackers. Liverpool took the lead through a Sadio Mane goal and held on to it going into the second half.
Ryan Babel, who claimed before the game he can exploit Virgil van Dijk, did so. A cumulative error from James Milner, the defender and Alisson left Babel with an easy tap in and Fulham were level. Liverpool then struggled to break down the hosts, but Sergio Rico’s trip on Mane led to Liverpool being awarded a penalty, and the ever-reliable Milner stepped up to give the Reds the lead and all three points.
With that win, Liverpool have taken the top spot on the table, but that could be temporary with Manchester City having a game in hand. But the Reds can go into the international break with the lead and hope that Pep Guardiola’s side falter going forward.
BIG 3⃣ POINTS!! 🔴🔴
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 17, 2019
Here’s how Liverpool’s players rated in their narrow win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The Brazilian was a mere spectator for the entirety of the first period but was equally responsible for the error leading to Fulham’s equaliser. Otherwise was grand in his area and did fine.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Excellent all throughout the game. Alexander-Arnold was a threat from the right side of attack, sending in many crosses into the box. Defended well when called upon and otherwise did fine.
Joel Matip: 7/10
Shaky from the start, but got his head into the game with time. Was stable enough and did well to contain the threat of Aleksandar Mitrovic all throughout the game.
Virgil van Dijk: 6.5/10
Van Dijk had a good game for the best part of 90 mins, but that horrible header gifted Babel the equalizer. Other than that blip, the Dutchman was solid throughout and ensured Mitrovic, and other attackers did not get a whiff of his goal.
Andy Robertson: 6.5/10
Like Alexander-Arnold, Robertson too was a constant threat from his side. Often seen bombing on the left side to become an option in attack. But, his excellent positioning did not coincide with good decision makings all the time, and this he might want to improve.
Dictated proceedings in midfield with his direct passing. Got a yellow in the first half and got everyone worried by going into dangerous challenges. Was cautious enough in the second half but, proved his worth right from the start.
Adam Lallana: 6.5/10
A composed performance in his second consecutive Premier League start for Liverpool. Got into the game with great energy and put himself in front of some tackles. Got tired in the second half before being replaced.
Gini Wijnaldum: 7/10
Wijnaldum has become one of the first names on the team sheet for Liverpool and showed why against Fulham. Produced yet another composed and dependable performance in midfield, but as the game wore, became more cautious and safe in his gameplay. Could have scored a third Liverpool goal late on but shot wide.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Mane has clearly been the most crucial player in recent weeks, as he got himself yet again on the scoresheet for his 20th goal in all competitions. Also won the penalty which Milner scored, but looking at what he has done for the club in recent games, fans are indeed not missing Salah’s goals.
Mohamed Salah: 5.5/10
While Mane continues his scoring streak, Salah went without a goal for the seventh game running. It’s not to say he did not work hard, in fact, was involved in the thick of things for most parts of the game. Liverpool need him desperately in the next phase of this season and will be banking on him to play a crucial role in the title run in.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
Not much to show in terms of goals or assists on the day, but his pressing game was crucial to keep the pressure on Fulham. Got the assist for the Mane’s goal early on, but he needs to bring his scoring touch back.
James Milner: 6/10
A decent game for the experienced midfielder. Milner’s mishit kick started the move that led to a number of mistakes, eventually leading to Fulham’s equalizer. In the end, redeemed himself by scoring the winning penalty late on in the game.
Divock Origi: 6/10
Came on and immediately added some much-needed energy from the left side of attack.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A
Came on in place of Salah when the game was pretty much done. His substitution was more of a time wasting antic than anything of substance.