Liverpool’s so-so home form continued as the hosts saw an early lead evaporate, slumping to a 2-2 draw with Brighton. A clearly exhausted Reds came into the match at the end of frenetic fortnight of football that saw them bookend a thrilling victory over Atletico Madrid with thumping five-goal masterclasses against Watford and Manchester United, and a midweek Carabao Cup victory over Preston thrown in for good measure.
However, Brighton put up much more of fight than did Liverpool’s arch rivals (maybe Graham Potter deserves a chance behind the wheel?), taking the game to their hosts after the Reds threatened to put the affair to bed in the first half.
Early goals from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane sent the Seagulls reeling, with the visitors needing a VAR reversal of a trademark gegenpressing second goal from Mane to jolt them back to life. After scoring through a long-range effort from Enock Mwepu to end the half, Potter’s side capitalized on a yet another disallowed Reds goal in the second period—this time to prevent Mohamed Salah from scoring in his 11th straight game—to wear a leggy Liverpool down in an up-tempo final 45 minutes.
“It feels like a defeat,” the manager Jurgen Klopp said speaking to BBC Sport after the game. “It’s not only because we were 2-0 up and didn’t win, it’s because the game I saw, we scored two of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen us score, which were disallowed.”
“The pressing goal for Sadio was just unlucky. If you want to teach pressing, you would show this situation. But disallowed for handball, I guess.”
“Top moments in the first half where we showed how we can hurt Brighton,” Klopp continued. “Played some top passes through the center and played really good football but were only 2-0.
“In the second half, we were not good enough. The body language I didn’t like it all. It was like ‘oh my God, it’s really tough’. Yeah, it was clear before the game.
“The best way to defend Brighton is to have the ball yourself and play in the spaces where they are exposed, but we didn’t do that and that’s a problem.”
Liverpool will hope that their form that has seen them win only three of their last six at home does not continue into Wednesday’s crucial Champions League return fixture with Atletico Madrid. The Reds have some work to do.