James Milner says he felt the pressure of his earlier mistake before dispatching a crucial penalty to help Liverpool to a slender 2-1 Premier League win over Fulham.
The experienced Milner was brought on by Jurgen Klopp to help see out the game with Liverpool winning 1-0, only for him to send a mindless clearance skywards, which Virgil van Dijk and Alisson made a mess of to allow ex-Reds forward Ryan Babel to cancel out Sadio Mane’s 26th-minute opener.
Mane, who has 11 goals in his past 11 outings, was brought down by Sergio Rico after the Fulham goalkeeper spilt Mohamed Salah’s shot to hand Milner his shot at redemption and move Liverpool above Manchester City to the Premier League summit.
“I think obviously with what’s gone before, I feel that’s probably my fault, so it was important I put it away and made up for that,” Milner told Sky Sports.
“There’s years of practice that have gone into the penalties. In the game you’ve just got to go back to what you’ve been practicing and be calm and know what you’re going to do.
“It was me who put him [Van Dijk] in the mire, to be fair. The gaffer said come on and calm it down, so the best thing to do was to slice it over the top and put Virg under pressure, which wasn’t ideal. But lucky enough we got the result and did what we needed to do.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 17, 2019
On his own role in the goal, Van Dijk said: “I’m not giving excuses. I should have headed it better. It is what it is, they scored, but we scored again, so we won. We got three points, so we go home all happy and we’re top of the league.”
The win moves Liverpool two points in front of City, who defeated Swansea City in FA Cup action on Saturday.
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