LIVERPOOL, UK – Brighton secured their first victory over Liverpool in the league since March 1982, condemning Jurgen Klopp’s side to their second consecutive defeat at Anfield.
You’d have to rewind to 2012 for the last period the hosts lost twice on the spin in the top-flight here, an eventuality that seemed implausible not so long ago.
It was Burnley that ended their 68-game unbeaten home run and Brighton ensured the champions failed to score in three consecutive fixtures in the division at Anfield – something that has not happened since October 1984.
Potter’s disciplined, direct charges were deserving of their maximum haul, mixing graft with smarts to be both obstructive and dangerous.
The build-up to every Liverpool game feels like a wretched guessing game of ‘who is going to be unavailable this time?’ and the answer on Wednesday night was another core cog at the back – Alisson.
The goalkeeper was missing through illness, with Sadio Mane still nursing a muscle issue. Where last season the Merseysiders collected points relentlessly, in this campaign it has been replaced by a ceaseless loss of players, largely through serious injury.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Liverpool reverted to not looking quite themselves after consecutive victories away to Tottenham and West Ham.
Bar an early chance, they failed to stretch a supremely organised Brighton side, who committed numbers in defence and on the counter.
The visitors were happy to cede possession to Liverpool for hopeful long balls trying to bypass their defence. One of them nearly came off, but the strategy had worked.
With both teams compact, by the half-hour mark there were just three shots in total – none of them on target. Two of them should, however, have resulted in goals.
Inside three minutes, Jordan Henderson hit a fantastic long pass that dissected Brighton and fell perfectly into Mohamed Salah’s stride on the right. The Egyptian showcased a typically exquisite first touch, but then floated his effort over the bar.
At the other end edging into the 25-mark, Leandro Trossard played in Neal Maupay, who did some serious heavy lifting. He darted into the area, cut inside Henderson and James Milner before watching his shot deflect into Dan Burn, who agonisingly ballooned the loose ball over 10 yards out.
Closing in on the break, Maupay wasted a free header by sending it high and wide.
The encounter opened up in the second stanza and Brighton profited from Liverpool’s passiveness without the ball to take the lead.
The hosts invited the goal by allowing Potter’s men to work the ball to an unmarked Burn at the far post and he headed across goal where the ball ricocheted off Nat Phillips’ boot, Trossard and went in off Steven Alzate.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Gini Wijnaldum were sacrificed for Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it was still Brighton who looked more threatening.
Salah blasted another shot high, while at the other end Caoimhin Kelleher was actually worked into a save by Pascal Gross.
The 22-year-old keeper thwart Burn shortly after and blocked from Trossard late on.
Liverpool tried and tried again to break Brighton down, but they were too predictable and too pedestrian.
The opponents didn’t give them an inch as they secured four consecutive league clean sheets for the first time in the top flight to crown a historic victory. – The Independent (UK)