Brighton & Hove Albion And Liverpool Play Out Scintilating 2-2 Draw
Jurgen Klopp was denied a victory to celebrate eight years as Liverpool manager following an equaliser from Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk to cancel out Mohamed Salah’s first-half brace.
Roberto De Zerbi once again made changes to Brighton’s starting XI with centre-back Igor and Carlos Baleba coming in to make their full debuts in the Premier League.
The Seagulls applied some early pressure from kick-off after forcing three corners, but a common occurrence in the first 20 minutes were Liverpool centre-backs as Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip engaged with Brighton’s strikers, Evan Ferguson and Joao Pedro, high up the pitch.
There was a lack of intensity to Liverpool’s game early on which was exploited by Brighton and they were soon rewarded. Van Dijk’s sloppy pass to ex-Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister was intercepted by Simon Adingra, who quickly pounced and fired past a star-struck Alisson, whose weak effort to save the strike was not enough to deny Brighton the lead.
It became too easy for the Seagulls to bypass Liverpool’s midfield which featured Mac Allister in the number six role yet again and Adingra was a constant threat on the right-hand side.
However, the Reds soon grew into the game and began to move the ball quicker, albeit falling short in the final third on multiple occasions.
A misplaced pass from Seagulls skipper Dunk resulted in the ball making its way into the box. Darwin Nunez played in Harvey Elliott who cleverly left it for Salah to comfortably score the equaliser.
De Zerbi would not have been best pleased with how quickly his side began to unravel as they were caught trying to play out from the back yet again this time through Bart Verbruggen.
As a result, Dominik Szoboszlai was clearly brought down in the box by Pascal Gross whose shirt pull led to referee Anthony Taylor pointing to the spot.
On the stroke of half-time, Salah scored his second as his penalty flew past Verburggen into the bottom left corner.
Half-time only saw one change with Elliott going off and Ryan Gravenberch taking his place.
Early into the second-half, livewire Adingra managed to lose the inattentive Andy Robertson and fire at Alisson’s near post but the Brazilian managed to deny him a second goal.
The visitors’ best chance of the half came from Szoboszlai’s driving run whose cross managed to find Gravenberch on the half-volley, only for his effort to rattle the crossbar. The Dutchman’s reaction was indicative that he should have done better from that position.
While Liverpool had a few spells of possession in the second-half, Brighton continued to be stubborn and refused to back down without a fight.
Meanwhile, an injury to Igor only increased Brighton’s defensive woes with Solly March already filling in at left-back due to the absence of both Pervis Estupiñán and James Milner.
A clumsy challenge on the edge of the box from substitute Ibrahima Konate gave Brighton a dangerous free-kick. Robertson failed to clear March’s delivery and Dunk poked home the equaliser.
The home side could have claimed all three points had it not been for Joao Pedro’s poor effort in striking Adingra’s deflected shot over the crossbar.
The full-time whistle marked the end of a fascinating contest that has now seen Brighton extend their unbeaten run against Liverpool to five games in all competitions.
Out of the two sides, Brighton will surely be happier with a point than the travelling Reds.
However, De Zerbi will be aggrieved that his side were denied a penalty following a possible handball from van Dijk though it did initially deflect onto his hand from the Liverpool skipper’s thigh.
Jurgen Klopp will surely spend the international break devising a solution to his side’s alarming pattern of conceding first-half goals. The instance on the south coast this afternoon showed that his side will be punished for sloppiness and he will certainly view it as two points dropped.
Nonetheless, Liverpool are now three points off league leaders Tottenham Hotspur with Brighton trailing two places behind them in the table by just one point. Both clubs will be happy with what their squads have offered this season so far but there will certainly be some issues that need addressing.
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