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Liverpool 2, Brighton 1 - Match Recap: Annnnd Breathe

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A red card for Alisson and a very nervy last 10 minutes nearly cancels out van Dijk’s first half brace, but Liverpool come away with the three points.

Liverpool FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Liverpool 2 - 1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Liverpool: Van Dijk 18’, 24’
Brighton & Hove Albion: Dunk 79’

Pre-Match

As expected, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts in midfield due to Fabinho’s injury. Hopefully he takes advantage of this playing time and continues his good form. Exciting news is that Xherdan Shaqiri in on the bench, so we might be treated to some Power Cube action this afternoon.

First Half

Liverpool have come out of the gates fighting. It seems like the news of Manchester City dropping points has motivated them. Play has remained firmly in Brighton’s half in the first 15 minutes.

GOALLLLL! 18’ - Van Dijk - A free kick in a good position turns out to be perfect Alexander-Arnold territory. The talented Scouser delivers it perfectly to the oncoming freight train of Virgil van Dijk barreling through the scrum to head it in for the first goal of the game.

GOALLLLL! 24’ - Van Dijk - Would it be unprofessional to just copy/paste the last paragraph? This time it’s a corner kick, but the outcome is the same. Perfect delivery from Trent, perfect, lofted header from Van Dijk. Liverpool have a two goal cushion inside of 25 minutes at Anfield.

That second goal seems to have woken up Brighton. Alisson has been forced into some precarious saves at the end of the half.

A great passage of play sees Mané pass to Firmino, to Salah, to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who gets a good shot off, but it’s blocked by the keeper. It was very nearly three-nil at the death, but instead, Liverpool head to the locker room at half time up by two.

Second Half

The second half begins, and let’s hope we see a few more goals from Liverpool. A clean sheet would do wonders as well.

Dunk comes inches away to repeating Liverpool’s second goal on a corner, but thankfully his header goes just wide of the goal. Liverpool getting a bit careless as the second half wears on. They’re giving away possession and allowing Brighton a lot more space than they did in the first half. Seems like they’re just about due for a change.

Oof. Oxlade-Chamberlain desperately wants a goal. Andy Robertson picks an absolutely perfect pass to find the midfielder in acres of space. He gets enough time to take two undisturbed touches in the box, but his shot in blocked by Dunk.

Moments later, Liverpool get another chance to go forward, and this time it’s Mane who scuffs the shot.

Dunk seems determined to diminish Liverpool’s afternoon. He blocks a strong strike from Alexander-Arnold, leading to a corner. The right-back takes the corner, and van Dijk comes within inches of completing his hat trick.

68’ - Klopp makes his first substitute, taking Salah out for Adam Lallana. It’s nice that we can give Salah a break here.

Uh-oh. Alisson Becker makes a huge mistake, slapping down the world’s most obvious handball outside the box and gets himself a red card for his trouble. Well. That is...not great. Super not great. Adrian comes on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Liverpool have to play the next 20 or so minutes down to 10 men.

Goal :( 79’ - Dunk - Predictably, Dunk scores on the resulting free kick. It dribbles straight into the far corner with Adrian stuck on the other side. Atkinson blew the whistle early while Adrian was still trying to line up his wall. The next 10 minutes are going to be fun, I bet.

Everyone in the stadium seems to feel the nerves as the Reds look to just hold on for the next five minutes.

Oh, holy monkeys, speaking of nerves, Adrian fluffs an easy save and just barely regains control of the ball before disaster strikes. Eeeeeeend this game, thank you.

Final Thoughts

Well, it nearly sent me into cardiac arrest, but Liverpool manage to come away with three three points. They’re 11 points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the league, with Leicester still to play tomorrow. Take a breath, everyone.