Liverpool had to settle for a share of the spoils when they were tied late on by Brighton on Sunday. Both sides conceded goals in this one that their managers won’t be happy with.
Brighton’s opener came from Virgil van Dijk’s pass from the back which put Alexis Mac Allister under pressure and the Argentine was caught in possession before Simon Adingra found the net with a brilliant finish.
And shortly after Liverpool’s equaliser, it was the Seagulls’ turn to similarly shoot themselves in the foot when Pascal Groß was robbed in his own penalty area and had to drag Dominik Szoboszlai to the penalty box.
The German was perhaps lucky not to see a red card for this offense and it was an example to all the kids watching NOT to PLAY from the back.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp won’t be happy that his team stumbled – or that it wasn’t a lack – of Brighton’s equaliser. It was a great game, but not for the defenders on either side.
Mohamed Salah will be disappointed that his fifth and sixth goals of the season were not enough to secure all three points for Liverpool.
The Egyptian has once again been a thorn in Brighton’s side and has now been involved in 14 goals in 13 Premier League games against the Seagulls, scoring eight goals and providing six assists. He only has a better record in the Premier League against Manchester United.
But it’s another statistic that should give his manager food for thought.
Darwin Núñez started the game and collected his fifth Premier League assist for Liverpool since joining from Benfica last summer. And interestingly, all five have given Salah goals – the most assists of any player in Premier League history exclusively for one team-mate.
The lesson here is that when Núñez plays, good things happen for Liverpool, even if the Uruguayan doesn’t get on the scoresheet himself.
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi was understandably unhappy after his side lost 6-1 to Aston Villa last weekend, but the two games since then have given him reason to cheer.
The Seagulls came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away at Marseille in the Europa League on Thursday before showing great determination to regain a point here. They have work to do defensively, especially with a trip to Manchester City coming after the international break, but De Zerbi can take confidence from his energy and fight back in his final two games.
As for Liverpool, a draw away at Brighton is far from a disaster and the result seems fair.
It could have been a different story if Ryan Gravenberch had taken his chances to make it 3-1 early in the second half, but the half-time substitute could only hit the post with a gaping goal wide and they were made to rue the mistake.
João Pedro could have won it again for Brighton when he smashed a great chance over the bar in the dying minutes, so Liverpool should be happy to take a point from a tough away game.
At least there was no VAR controversy this week.
Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Alisson Becker – 5/10 – Failed to scamper across his line to rebuff Brighton’s opener but denied Adingra from point-blank range after the break.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5/10 – Didn’t exert his familiar influence over proceedings with more of a subdued role.
CB: Joel Matip – 5/10 – Not quite as flustered as his defensive colleague.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 4/10 – Liable to get dragged upfield by Brighton’s withdrawn forwards and lacking the recovery pace of old to hurry back into position.
LB: Andy Robertson – 3/10 – Couldn’t shackle Adingra at all and offered little going forward himself. Just as ineffective at defending a decisive set piece.
CM: Harvey Elliott – 6/10 – Making his first Premier League start of the season, Elliott was unfortunate to get hooked at half-time after a subservient opening 45 minutes backing up Salah and Alexander-Arnold in both halves.
CM: Alexis Mac Allister – 7/10 – On his return to the Amex, Mac Allister grew into the game, getting a grip of midfield after the break.
CM: Dominik Szoboszlai – 8/10 – The firm fan favourite only added to his swollen Appreciation Society with another all-action display.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 8/10 – The razor sharp edge to Liverpool’s attack, Salah still delivered even with a pared-back performance.
ST: Darwin Nunez – 6/10 – Unlike most strikers, Nunez’s first thought seemed to always be to tee up a teammate rather than shoot himself; that selflessness led to two Liverpool goals.
LW: Luis Diaz – 5/10 – Got more joy when drifting into a narrow position.
SUB: Ryan Gravenberch (46′ for Elliott) – 6/10 – Quickly caught up to the speed of the game, regularly crashing into Brighton’s box.
SUB: Ibrahima Konate (73′ for Matip) – 5/10
SUB: Joe Gomez (79′ for Alexander-Arnold) – N/A
Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Chambers, Tsimikas, Quansah, Endo, Doak
Jurgen Klopp – 6/10 – Set his side up to force the errors which Brighton made but couldn’t get Liverpool to build on their advantage.