BRIGHTON 0-2 LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool earned an eighth consecutive Premier League win by overcoming Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex yesterday. A first half header by Luis Diaz and a Salah penalty in the second half sealed the win. Here’s a review of the match.
You can find player ratings from the game here:
° Lineup. Jürgen Klopp made three changes to the side that suffered defeat at home to Inter Milan on Tuesday. Diaz, Keita and Henderson came in for Jota, Thiago and Jones respectively. Van Dijk made the XI despite rumours of him testing positive for Covid.
° Strong Brighton start. The hosts started the game well, with numbers committed in attack. They piled on the pressure in the first ten minutes with Maupay and Trossard going close. Maupay’s strike from range whistled past the post whilst Trossard’s curler was straight down Alisson’s throat.
° Liverpool settle. The Reds weathered the early storm and took the lead after 19 minutes. A brilliant ball in behind by Matip was attacked bravely by the impressive Luis Diaz. The Colombian steered the ball home but took a clattering from Sanchez.
The goalkeeper got nowhere near the ball and took out Diaz with a high boot. Referee Mike Dean didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge and VAR reviewed the incident and somehow came to the conclusion that there was no foul play. Sanchez escaped without so much as a booking.
° Marauding Matip. The assist for the goal was spectacular, with Joel Matip continuing his good run of form that has seen him named the PL Player of the month for February. He’s contributed to 3 goals (1 goal, 2 assists) in his last 5 league games and has helped keep 4 clean sheets in that run.
° Liverpool finish the half strong. The early goal worked in the visitors’ favour as Brighton heads dropped slightly. It was the Reds’ turn to pile on the pressure, with a succession of set pieces and shots in and around the box. Sanchez made a good save on the stroke of halftime to deny Salah.
° Brighton start fast again. Two minutes after the restart, Trossard was presented with a gilt edged opportunity but blazed wildly over the bar. Maupay handled in the buildup but had that gone in, you can’t be sure the VAR ref would have done his job.
° Brief Lallana cameo. The former Red came on at halftime for Potter’s side but unfortunately pulled up with an injury after just five minutes. It was a reminder of how his Liverpool career fizzled out due to injuries. He was replaced by Pascal Gross and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
° Liverpool once again respond. It was a similar story in the second period as the Reds weathered the early Brighton spell and stepped up the gears. Salah hit the crossbar (after hitting the post twice vs Inter) and then screwed a shot wide after more excellent work by the lively Diaz.
° Salah seals it from the spot. Keita’s shot was blocked by Bissouma’s outstretched hand and a penalty was rightly awarded. Salah made no mistake from the spot, netting his 20th league goal of the season. That’s now four out of five seasons where he’s managed 20+ in the league, with the other season producing 19 goals. Phenomenal.
° Alisson preserves the clean sheet. It was a relatively quiet day for the Brazilian shot stopper, till injury time at least. He produced a fantastic reaction save to tip over Welbeck’s close range shot to preserve the clean sheet and pull level with Ederson on 15 in the race for the Golden Glove.
° How good is Diaz? The winger was the Man of the Match yesterday, with his direct running and workrate causing Brighton and Lamptey in particular problems throughout. He just never stops running, and is always switched on to help Robertson out defensively. He deserved the goal.
Luis Diaz vs Brighton:
• 100% shot accuracy
• 100% tackle success rate
• 76% pass accuracy
• 56 touches
• 9 touches in opp. box
• 7 duels won (2nd)
• 6 ball recoveries
• 3× fouled (2nd)
• 2 shots attempted
• 2 chances created
• 2 tackles won (2nd)
• 1 goal (=1st)
• 1 successful dribble
• 1 interception
° Digging deep. It wasn’t a straightforward win yesterday, it was hard fought with the players battling through fatigue to get over the line. It’s been a gruelling schedule with games every three days. Like against West Ham last week, they ground it out when not at their best.
° Case for the defence. Jürgen Klopp’s side have tightened up defensively over the past few months. They’ve kept 10 clean sheets in the last 15 games in all competitions, conceding just 5 goals over that period. That defensive solidity will be key in this run in.
° Gap back down to 3 points. Playing before City in the past few weeks has been a welcome change, with the Reds able to head pressure on Guardiola’s side by getting a win to cut down the gap. The Citizens now have to respond at a vociferous Selhurst Park on Monday night.
° What next? A trip to the Emirates stadium awaits in what is Liverpool’s game in hand. The game could take on even more significance if the result goes out way at Selhurst Park tomorrow night. There could be a situation where a win at the Emirates could send the Reds top of the table!