Liverpool let a two-goal lead slip to draw with Brighton & Hove Albion after Graham Potter’s side put in a much-improved second-half showing at Anfield. Brighton’s run of six league and cup games without a win continues but they deserved this point having out-played Liverpool for much of the second period.
Jordan Henderson’s sweeping shot and Sadio Mane’s capitalisation on a error by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez took Liverpool to a healthy lead only for the visitors to rally and fight back via a superb striker from Enock Mwepu and neat finish by Leandro Trossard.
Given Manchester City's dropped points to Crystal Palace this was far from suicidal by Jurgen Klopp’s team, who have now made it 24 games unbeaten in all competitions for the first time since 1989, but they will admit that they came up against a Brighton team who showed both defensive resolve and a keen eye for attacking; they had six shots on target compared to Liverpool’s three.
Story of the game
Similarly to Manchester United last weekend Brighton had the first chance against Liverpool and, just like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, they spurned their opportunity. Solly March capitalised on lax defending but his low shot was no match for Alisson.
A mere 60 seconds later Potter’s team were left to rue that miss when Virgil van Dijk sent a raking ball to Mo Salah on the right. He bided time before laying off Henderson who swept the ball past Sanchez from the edge of the area with a first-time strike. The goal was wonderful and Salah’s assist equalled the most goal involvements in a club’s opening 10 matches of a season; he now has 10 goals and six assists.
Liverpool were in their domination mode, forcing Brighton to defend deep. Roberto Firmino’s attempted lift over the Brighton ‘keeper also travelled over the crossbar to the pleasure of the Brighton contingent in Anfield. Naby Keita was forced off with a hamstring injury shortly after but his replacement had an instant impact.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he delivered a pin-point delivery from the right flank and Mane was there in front of goal to head in. Two goals ahead and looking ominous, the home side thought they had converted a third just after the half-hour.
Lewis Dunk passed the ball back to his goalkeeper and, situated on the goal-lines, Sanchez was in no rush to clear his lines. Mane slid in front of the ‘keeper and deflected the ball into the goal. However, there was a hand involved on Mane’s part and the goal was rightly cancelled out by VAR.
If that was a let-off for Brighton then they were thankful to Mwepu for his player of the half display. He had already struck the post after targeting a gap between Van Dijk and Andy Robertson and also headed just over from a Marc Cucurella cross — so Liverpool had been warned. However, little could have stopped his majestic shot; the first goal to be scored against Liverpool in three Premier League matches.
Mwepu was fed the ball from the right and arced a superb shot first time over Alisson who back-pedalled but couldn’t reach the ball. If that had given Brighton hope then it almost evaporated two minutes into the second half. Mane fed Salah who rounded Sanchez to finish but was marginally offside as the linesman correctly spotted.
From there, the away side grew into their more attacking selves. Adam Lallana saw a shot denied by Alisson’s legs after being sent through by a flicked one-tow with March. Brighton still had to be wary of Liverpool — efforts from Firmino and Salah travel wide and directly at Sanchez respectively — but they sensed another opening was coming their way.
It arrived in the 65th-minute and started with the goalkeeper. Sanchez sprayed the ball out to Cucurella who made hay up the right side before moving the ball onto Lallana. He passed to Trossard on the perimeter of the Liverpool six-yard box. A quick jink past Robertson saw the Belgian attacker one-on-one with Alisson and his assured finish nestled in the bottom corner.
This was a spirited second half from Brighton for the second successive week after their improved display against Manchester City. Soon after the equaliser here a thunderbolt from distance by Cucurella was punched away by Alisson and substitute Tariq Lamptey crossed for Trossard who slotted past Alisson but was ruled offside.
Rather than being focused on winning this contest, Klopp’s side were now more concerned about not losing it. The home team were the ones now camped on the edge of their area. Yet despite their increased pressure Brighton couldn’t achieve back-to-back wins at Anfield. Nevertheless, this was undoubtedly Brighton’s afternoon more than Liverpool’s.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita (Oxlade-Chamberlain 19), Henderson, Jones (Minamino 87); Salah, Firmino (Jota 78), Mane.
Subs (not used): Adrian, Matip, Tsimikas, Gomez, Morton, Origi.
Brighton: Sanchez; Veltman, Duffy, Dunk, Cucurella; Moder (Lamptey 66), Lallana (Gross 77); March, Bissouma (Mac Allister 60), Mwepu; Trossard.
Subs (not used): Steele, Webster, Roberts, Maupay, Sarmiento, Locadia.
Referee: Mike Dean.