Liverpool were not at their best against Fulham but Jurgen Klopp was pleased they came through an "average" game with a precious win.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed his side's composure as they survived a late scare at Fulham to return to the Premier League summit.
James Milner, introduced as a second-half substitute, sliced a clearance skywards that led to a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson to allow Ryan Babel to cancel out Sadio Mane's first-half opener in the 74th minute.
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 to secure a precious 2-1 victory.
The win moves the Reds two points clear of City at the top of the table, although Pep Guardiola's side do have a game in hand.
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.
"Football is sometimes like this," he told a media conference. "I didn't see any panic. I liked how we reacted, but we needed a penalty. That doesn't say we are sensational.
"The boys are human beings. I was sure we would not panic and show the nerves you are all waiting for us to show.
"In most of the draws we had, we were closer to winning the game, and that gives us confidence to go for it and do the right things.
"We had a very intense week going to Munich and coming back, travelling to London. Average game, sensational result."
City travel to Fulham – who are 13 points away from safety – after the international break on March 30 and Klopp thinks that if they can add an end product to their passing game they could make it difficult for the reigning champions.
"I don't know exactly how many international players Fulham have, but City has a lot for sure," he added. "That's always a different game.
"Fulham play good football, the next step for them is to create something with it, chances or whatever. It didn't feel like we were really under threat, to be honest. Even when they had the ball.
"But from what I heard and what I saw, it's kind of the DNA of the club to be a football playing side. That's how they got promoted. There is so much potential here.
"It was difficult to play today, I have to say."