Liverpool 3-3 Brighton: Trossard hat-trick denies Reds recovery
(Photo by Clive Brunskill - Getty Images)

In the first match of the Roberto De Zerbi epoch, a Leandro Trossard hat-trick denied Liverpool all three points as Brighton fought hard to maintain their position as European qualification outsiders.

After 20 minutes, the visitors were already two goals to the good via their Belgian striker, but resilience from The Reds ensured a Roberto Firmino double on either side of the halftime whistle would draw Klopp's team level.

A third Liverpool goal came about when Adam Webster scored an own goal. Although fear grew that Brighton would falter after squandering their two-goal lead, both teams tussled to retain control of an end-to-end fixture, and it was the blue and white of the visitors that prevailed.

The ball fell to Trossard on a plate in the 83rd minute, and the confidence that the striker personified on the pitch made one last appearance to ruin Liverpool's comeback as The Reds fell to an eleven-point gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal. 

  • Story of the Match

A lot had changed since the last time Liverpool had played in the Premier League. The country mourned a monarch's death, Boris Johnson was the Prime Minister, and Jurgen Klopp's bench was restricted to the bare bones. 

The break from domestic football gave The Reds a much-needed revitalisation in resources as Klopp welcomed Brighton with only Andrew Robertson being the notable absentee. Jordan Henderson joined the midfield ranks, and Fabio Carvalho was initiated on the left as Firmino and Salah joined him in attack. 

As for Brighton, they were gearing up for their first taste of life under new head coach Roberto De Zerbi. His first starting eleven provided the Seagulls with consistency as Estupinan was the only change for the injured Enock Mwepu. 

Using his predecessor's blueprint as a building block for success offered the De Zerbi era a flying start when Leandro Trossard scored the opener after four minutes.

Pascal Gross passed the ball to Trossard on the edge of the box, and the Belgian found the space to swipe a powerful left-footed strike into the bottom right corner.

Despite the break from Premier League football, Liverpool still showed nothing had changed from their form, with Brighton enjoying a flurry of chances in the first 15 minutes. 

Danny Welbeck popped up in the box with a free header while Trossard tested the backline persistently, and it wasn't long before the deficit doubled and the De Zerbi era got off to a perfect beginning. 

In a strike that mirrored his first, Trossard ran through the Liverpool defence like they weren't there and earned his second goal of the afternoon within 20 minutes.

The anxiety that Potter's departure placed on Brighton fans quickly diminished at 2-0. While the Seagulls showcased their ability to defend doggedly against efforts from Alexander-Arnold and Firmino, they also looked nonchalant in their transitions and possession-based football as they had done under their previous manager. 

A two-goal deficiency proved to be a source of frustration for The Reds, but after failing to take their chances for most of the first half, Firmino broke Liverpool's trend of attacking mishaps with his fourth goal of the season on 33 minutes.

The Brazilian dinked the ball into an empty net after a long pass over the Brighton defence caught the Seagulls napping and out of position as Salah found the resulting tap into the striker's path. 

It opened the first half up as Brighton lost control of the tie, but while Salah had another chance go begging, the visitors went into the break as deserved leaders. 

Second Half

To encourage a comeback, Luis Diaz emerged from the dugout to enter the fray in the second half, and it brought about an equaliser instantly.

From the offset of the second period, Liverpool looked more likely to cause Brighton problems on the attack. And as the Colombian squared the ball to Firmino, the Brazilian dropped his shoulder to jink his marker and strike the ball into the bottom right corner. 

The comeback was completed on 63 minutes after Alexander-Arnold's corner caused confusion between Robert Sanchez and Webster, leading to an own goal from the centre-back. 

But it didn't stop Brighton from pushing for a result. While Luis Diaz and Roberto Firmino were linking up at one end to vindicate The Reds' lead, Alisson was saving shots at the other, with a Welbeck header from close range being the best chance the Seagulls had of regaining an outcome from the afternoon.

That was until seven minutes from time when Trossard concluded his fourth career hat-trick in front of the kop. 

A simple ball into the box from Kaoru Mitoma was missed by everyone in the box except the Belgian, who was alive to the situation to hit the ball off the crossbar and into the goal from 12 yards. 

Both managers resisted the temptation of holding out for the draw and pushed for a fourth goal for the rest of the match. A 30-yard free-kick from Alexander Arnold almost found the winner, but a brilliant flick of the wrist from Sanchez kept the tie level. 

When the referee blew for full-time, it concluded a match that emphasised the entertainment factor that the Premier League brings every week. As neither team settled for a point, it was only because of exceptional goalkeeping that it finished 3-3. 

Roberto De Zerbi has started his Brighton era perfectly, and at the heart of his team's promising performance was Leandro Trossard's hat trick. Everything he touched turned into gold; there was never any doubt over who deserved the award.