But disaster seemed to have struck for Liverpool when Van Dijk’s header back towards Alisson didn’t have enough purchase and Babel stepped in with the break of the ball to tap into an empty net.
However, the league leaders showed why they are in the running to end a 29-year title drought to get a vital three points with the help of some erratic goalkeeping from Rico.
Mohamed Salah’s goal drought continued as the Egyptian has scored just once now in his last 10 games, but it was his shot that Rico spilled before the Spaniard unnecessarily pulled down Mane.
Milner took responsibility from the penalty spot and calmly sent Rico the wrong way to restore Liverpool’s lead, which this time they never looked like letting go.
Salah should have got a much-needed confidence boost when released clean through by Mane, but Rico saved low to his left.