Liverpool needed a late James Milner penalty to beat Fulham 2-1 and return to the top of the Premier League table on Sunday.
It looked as though the Reds would be on course for a routine victory when Sadio Mane continued his fine recent scoring form to give the title hopefuls the lead in the first half.
However, they failed to build on that and a calamitous misunderstanding between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker – two pillars of their title challenge – gifted Fulham an equaliser 16 minutes from time as Ryan Babel stole in to score against his former club.
Liverpool responded within seven minutes as Fulham repaid the favour, though, with Sergio Rico conceding a penalty and James Milner tucking it home from 12 yards to seal a crucial win which lifts Jurgen Klopp’s side two points clear of Manchester City heading into the international break.
It was the final ball which was lacking for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but they finally produced a moment of quality in the attacking third to break the deadlock shortly before the half-hour mark.
Mane collected the ball on the left before breaking into the box and exchanging passes with Roberto Firmino before sweeping the return cutback home for his 20th goal of the season and 11th in as many games.
Liverpool squandered another chance to quell the growing Fulham fightback just a minute before the equaliser when Mane darted to the front post and flicked a corner against the crossbar, with Rico well beaten.
Salah – clearly frustrated at his recent goal drought throughout the game – fired a relatively tame effort straight at Rico, but he spilled it into a dangerous area and then instinctively dragged Mane to ground in an attempt to atone for his mistake, leaving referee Craig Pawson with no choice but to point to the spot.
Milner showed no signs of nerves as he stroked the penalty down the middle to ease Liverpool’s concerns, and it was the visitors who looked most like adding to the scoring in the nine remaining minutes of normal time.