Brighton vs Liverpool result: Five things we learned as Reds go top despite late penalty equaliser

Karl Matchett
·4-min read
Liverpool and Brighton (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool and Brighton (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brighton found an injury-time equaliser to thwart Liverpool and earn a 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Reds started well and created more than one good opening, but Mohamed Salah fired wide with the best of them - and Aaron Connolly did the same at the other end when one-on-one with Alisson.

Brighton were then gifted a penalty midway through the half, but Neal Maupay side-footed wide from the spot, before Salah had the ball in the net only to be denied by a VAR review.

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Liverpool were improved after the break and Diogo Jota scored a fine solo goal around the hour mark, Sadio Mane saw another goal ruled out for a more clear offside-then a pitchside review gave Brighton a late second penalty, which Pascal Gross netted.

Here are five things we learned from the match at the Amex Stadium.

Direct route toward goal

The Seagulls have struggled for goals this season, but not to impress with their build-up play. However, they didn’t just stick here to their natural ball-playing style, the quick exchanges of passing and rotations of attacking positions which have been a hallmark of the team this season.

Instead, Graham Potter’s side were perfectly happy to go far more direct, exploiting Liverpool’s back line with a series of lofted passes into space, making the most of the fact it was an unfamiliar defence with little cohesion or, apparently, communication.

Connolly should have scored off one such pass over the top, while further openings for Danny Welbeck and Maupay came from the same approach.

In the absence of Tariq Lamptey as a wing-back outlet, it was sensible for them to take a different build-up route - and effective.

Liverpool and BrightonPOOL/AFP via Getty Images
Liverpool and BrightonPOOL/AFP via Getty Images

Stand-in service

More quick turnarounds between games means more rotation for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp named three in particular into his line-up who have largely been onlookers this term, giving them a chance to impress…though they didn’t, for the most part.

Takumi Minamino came into midfield and was asked to play the role which links defence to attack, supporting from deep and moving the ball quickly, but he was far from accurate or metronomic in this.

Neco Williams struggled at right-back on and off the ball, giving away possession and the penalty in the first half and being caught out of position several times.

And at centre-back, Nat Phillips was relatively commanding with the aerial threat, but an 11th different pairing in 16 matches still left its mark, with very little understanding between Phillips and Fabinho on when to drop, who took a third runner and even how to play out between themselves.

Pool via REUTERS
Pool via REUTERS

Injury watch

Another game, another spate of players out for upcoming fixtures.

Maupay had barely time to rue his inaccuracy from 12 yards before he had a watching brief for the rest of the game, leaving the pitch with an apparent hamstring issue in the first half.

Brighton brought on Adam Lallana in the second half, just back from his own injury, but his comeback lasted all of eight minutes before he was himself replaced, trotting down the tunnel with another knock.

Liverpool didn’t escape either, losing the versatile James Milner to an entirely unsurprising hamstring injury, with the 34-year-old starting his third successive game here after playing the full 90 against Atalanta, just two-and-a-half days before this one started.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Alisson’s century

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson made his 100th appearance for the club on Saturday, and would have wanted to keep a clean sheet to mark the occasion.

He came close to doing so, too; the Brazilian wasn’t troubled by the first penalty and his saves during the game were largely routine, but his importance was on show with his starting position and ability to clear his lines behind the defence.

Those early balls behind the Reds’ defence would have caused even more problems if not for the alertness of their No. 1, with Alisson multiple times racing out of his area to clear.

But a second spot-kick in stoppage time proved too much, with Gross putting his strike down the middle.

Table-toppers…for now

A point for Liverpool sends them clear at the top of the Premier League table, but they were certainly searching for a seventh victory from their 10 games so far rather than a third draw.

Spurs and Chelsea will look to continue the pressure later in the weekend, but at least going top overnight in tough circumstances keeps up the Reds’ own ambitions to retain the title.

Their focus now returns to midweek action as they look to secure a Champions League last-16 spot against Ajax.

As for Brighton, they’ll stay 16th this weekend no matter what and they’ll again be left to rue missed chances.

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