Liverpool had to battle their way to victory against a brave Brighton, but their quality showed as they emerged 3-1 winners during their Premier League meeting on Wednesday evening.
Mohamed Salah grabbed the opener just five minutes in, Davy Propper failing to control Mat Ryan’s pass out from goal and Naby Keita pouncing to tee up his teammate for a composed finish. The second came less than two minutes later, with Jordan Henderson bending a fine effort beyond Ryan after being teed up by Salah.
Brighton grew into the game after their slow start, with Leandro Trossard superbly latching on to Tariq Lamptey’s cross on the half-volley to offer the hosts hope heading into the second half. Despite pressing for an equaliser, Brighton were knocked back 14 minutes from time when Salah headed home from Andrew Robertson’s corner.
No further goals followed, leaving Liverpool within three wins of breaking the Premier League record for points earned in a single season.
Key Talking Point
Whatever criticisms have been directed Brighton’s way this season haven’t come without justification. They play too open in big games that leaves them hopelessly exposed, and due to this they often end up on the wrong side of hefty scorelines.
But unlike Norwich, who follow a similar suit, there is that touch more quality within their side which means they can hurt any side in the league when everything clicks together. Having fallen behind to two early – and avoidable – goals on Wednesday, they stuck to their style and game plan, causing Liverpool a fair few problems.
Graham Potter’s approach is something his players have bought into, and while we’ve seen it end badly more often than not this season, their dedication to playing expansive, attacking football must be commended.
Brighton Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ryan (6); Lamptey (7*), Webster (6), Dunk (6), Burn (6); Propper (5), Stephens (7), Gross (7), Mac Allister (6), Trossard (7); Maupay (6).
Substitutes: Connolly (6), Bissouma (5), Mooy (7).
Starting his fifth Premier League match in a row, youngster Tariq Lamptey once again impressed, this time against a formidable Liverpool front line.
He never stopped running from his right-back slot, and in an era of exciting English talent, Gareth Southgate has another player to add to the list of potential England internationals.
Key Talking Point
There may been a few concerns about how Brighton caused Liverpool problems on Wednesday night, but sometimes, you have to praise the opposition instead of pick flaws in your own displays.
Was it great? No, but there wasn’t any major cause for concern. Liverpool grabbed the early goals their pressure warranted, and were happy to allow Brighton to have the ball from thereon in. Whenever they turned over possession they sprung forward in waves of counter attacks, so, in many ways, it’s what you call a fine away performance.
Needing ‘just’ three wins from their next four matches to rewrite Premier League history, the way Jurgen Klopp has managed his squad has put them in a strong position to do so.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Starting XI: Alisson (7); Alexander-Arnold (7), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (7), Williams (7); Henderson (8), Wijnaldum (6), Keita (7); Salah (9*), Firmino (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (5).
Substitutes: Fabinho (6), Mane (7), Robertson (7), Milner (6), Minamino (N/A).
Grabbing two goals and an assist normally does the trick to earn the man-of-the-match award. So, not wanting to break any trends, Mohamed Salah gets the nod.
He gave Dan Burn a torrid afternoon with his intelligent running and relentless pressing, with the goals being just rewards for another fine display
Brighton welcome last season’s Premier League champions to the south coast next, while Liverpool have a home visit of Burnley to contend with next on their schedule.