With title rivals Man City playing in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Swansea City yesterday, Jurgen Klopp's men had the opportunity to go into the global break top of the Premier League with a win at Craven Cottage.
"We conceded a goal, which is never good, but to be able to bounce back and show our character was good for us".
The Senegal forward exchanged a blistering one-two with Roberto Firmino before he buried his shot from seven metres past Fulham keeper Sergio Rico, who then denied Andy Robertson and Van Dijk either side of halftime.
Add to that three goals in the Champions League and you have perhaps the most important and best player in the Premier League given Sterling's age and potential for improvement still to come.
But there was always a sense that Liverpool had the keys to unlock the Fulham defence and so it proved in the 26th minute. We go for perfection but it is rare that you get it. People will say we need to be more convincing, but we are at the start of a development, not the end.
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Lyon coach Bruno Genesio added: "Tonight Messi was in Champions League mode". "What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive", Messi told MARCA .
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He sold Alisson short with a headed backpass and after the goalkeeper was not the bravest in his challenge with Babel, the Dutchman emerged with the ball and rolled into an empty net.
The forward has now surpassed Demba Ba's record of 16 goals for Newcastle in 2011-12, and his own effort of 10 league goals last term.
Klopp was pleased to see that his side did not panic after Fulham's leveller and came through what he described as an "average" game with all three points.
In FA Cup play, Brighton and Hove Albion reached the semi-finals, beating Championship side Millwall 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out on Sunday, after clawing their way back into the game to draw 2-2 from two goals down with only two minutes remaining.
James Milner's penalty nine minutes from time saw the visitors leapfrog Manchester City to return to the summit before the worldwide break and maintained Liverpool's recent record of summoning wins after exertions in the Champions League.