Brighton & Hove Albion 0 - 2 Liverpool
Liverpool: Diaz 20’, Salah 60’ (pen)
Luis Diaz starts alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in the front.
It was a bright and sunny day in Brighton as Liverpool took the pitch at the Amex Stadium to try and keep up their title charge. It was the home side who started well. Brighton easily outpassed the Reds and bypassed their defenses, forcing several last second clearances.
One such save came from Joël Matip in the sixth minute. Mac Allister twisted past Fabinho and got the ball to March, who crossed it into the box. Matip knocked it out the ensure that Brighton didn’t jump to an early lead.
It took about 15 minutes for Liverpool to wake up and work their way into the game, but still, the goal came as something of a surprise. It was Premier League Player of the Month Matip who found Diaz and beat the offside trap. Diaz rushed forward to meet the ball, along with the Brighton defenders and Robert Sanchez, the goalkeeper. Diaz got there first and shot the ball into the empty net.
However, the goal wasn’t without cost. Sanchez threw himself into Diaz, knocking him across the face with a swinging arm. VAR somehow deemed that just fine. The goal stood, but so did Sanchez in the Brighton goal.
Liverpool kept hold of the match for the remainder of the half, without managing another goal. The closest they came to it was in the 43rd minute, when Salah wriggled his way through the Brighton defense and tried a shot at a very narrow angle that didn’t hit the mark. Appeals for a penalty go unheeded, and the two teams headed down the tunnel with Liverpool holding a one goal lead.
Neither team came out looking to take the second half by storm. The game slowly built again until the 53rd minute when poor Adam Lallana went down injured after only five minutes on the pitch. The guy just cannot catch a break.
Salah hit the crossbar minutes later, followed by Mané overhitting the rebound and sending it into the stands.
60 minutes on, Bissouma handled the ball to deny Naby Keïta. The resulting penalty was put away straight down the middle to score his 20th Premier League goal of the season. This is his fourth season achieving that feat. He also notched the club’s 2000th league goal since the Premier League was formed in 1992.
Alisson did some kind of complicated dance moments later that kept the ball inside the 18-yard box when he collected it with his hands. Momentum took his several large steps out of the box, but he swiveled his arms so that the ball was kept inside. Honestly, it seemed like the referees awarded Alisson’s acrobatic efforts to follow the rules more than the actual outcome.
Diogo Jota came on for Salah, who looked uncomfortable after his goal. It’s unclear how serious the injury was, but hopefully it was just a precaution to take him out.
88 minutes in, Brighton nearly got one back. Danny Welbeck got a good shot off at close range, but Alisson stretched up and pushed the ball away from the goal. That was the closest Brighton came to a goal in this match.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool made 2000-goal history, and more importantly, continued to put pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table. As of right now, they’re once again only three points behind the leaders, setting up an exciting rest of the season.
Who was Liverpool’s man of the match against Brighton?
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Virgil van Dijk