Thursday, April 25, 2019

Klopp retained confidence in penalty hero Milner

SoccerNews in English Premier League 17 Mar 2019

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had no doubts over James Milner’s ability to atone for his earlier error and seal a 2-1 win over Fulham.

The Reds edged two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table having played a game more, but had to endure late drama against their relegation-haunted opponents at Craven Cottage.

Milner, introduced as a second-half substitute, sliced a clearance skywards that led to a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. Ex-Liverpool forward Ryan Babel was the beneficiary as he cancelled out Sadio Mane’s 26th-minute opener.

But Mane was brought down by Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico, leaving Milner to convert in assured fashion from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.

“Millie has the penalties, when he’s on the pitch, it makes sense [for him to take it],” Klopp told a post-match news conference.

“There were no doubts but even Millie is a human being. Mind you, without Millie it’s probably 1-0!

“We showed a good reaction. It wasn’t a perfect performance.

“I was sure we wouldn’t panic and wouldn’t show the nerves that you are all waiting for. We are long enough in this situation.

“It’s difficult for other teams to beat us so that means we have a chance to win it.”

City’s game in hand will not arrive until the Manchester derby towards the end of next month and Klopp does not expect too many slips from Pep Guardiola’s side, despite them enduring a scare of their own during Saturday’s 3-2 FA Cup quarter-final win over Swansea City.

“It doesn’t look like City will drop a lot of points so we have to win and win. It’s very important we won today. You could see our reaction after the game.

“We have to make sure we stay in the race and we want to stay in the race.”

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