Liverpool return to PL summit

March 18, 2019

Liverpool’s James Milner (centre) celebrates with teammates Georginio Wijnaldum (left) and Mohamed Salah after scoring his side’s second goal, during the English Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage stadium in London, yesterday.
Liverpool’s James Milner (centre) celebrates with teammates Georginio Wijnaldum (left) and Mohamed Salah after scoring his side’s second goal, during the English Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage stadium in London, yesterday.

(AP):

A combination of goalkeeping errors and penalties earned Liverpool a return to the Premier League summit and Brighton a place in the FA Cup semi-finals yesterday.

James Milner converted an 81st-minute spot kick -- after two mistakes in a matter of seconds by Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico -- to secure a 2-1 win for Liverpool at Craven Cottage, lifting the Reds above Manchester City and two points clear in the title race.

City have a game in hand in their quest for an unprecedented quadruple. Pep Guardiola's side has already won the English League Cup, are into the Champions League quarter-finals, and now know they will play Brighton in the last four of the FA Cup.

Brighton only made it to extra time in their quarter-final match against second-tier Millwall by scoring an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when goalkeeper David Martin allowed a free kick to sail into the corner.

The score stayed 2-2 after extra time and Brighton won the penalty shootout 5-4 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1983.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford complete the all-Premier League line-up for the last four, with the semi-final games taking place at Wembley Stadium on April 6 and 7.

In the other Premier League game on Sunday, Chelsea lost 2-0 at Everton and missed a chance to move level on points with fourth-place Arsenal. Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, with a rebound off his saved penalty, scored for Everton.

Mohamed Salah's goal drought extended to seven games in all competitions in another frustrating display by the Egypt forward at Fulham.

Luckily, Liverpool have Sadio Mane in the form of his life.

The Senegal international made it 11 goals in his last 11 games by putting Liverpool ahead at Craven Cottage. He now has 17 league goals for the season, the same as Salah and just one behind Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero -- the top scorer.

Mane was also influential in Liverpool's second goal after he was dragged down by Rico, moments after the goalkeeper failed to hold a weak effort from Salah. Milner calmly floated his penalty down the middle.

Fulham equalised against the run of play through former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel, who capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Babel nipped in as Alisson failed to collect Van Dijk's header back, and tapped into an empty net.

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