Liverpool went to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over United-conquering Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday evening at Anfield. A single goal for Mohamed Salah was enough to earn all three points for the Reds and capitalise on the earlier game in which Manchester City dropped points by drawing against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Personally there weren’t any nerves coming in to this game. We went the entire season last term without losing at home and there didn’t seem to be any reason that Brighton should be the team to end this run despite their fairly comprehensive beating of Manchester United last weekend. The team was unchanged, despite there being rumours that Klopp would make some tweaks with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho waiting in the wings. Fabinho himself wasn’t even in the squad which continues to mystify some fans, myself included.
The first half was about as comfortable as you can get without scoring the amount of goals that Liverpool fans have become accustomed to. We were creating chances that’s for sure. Roberto Firmino had a close range effort spectacularly stopped by Matthew Ryan in the Brighton goal, Trent Alexander-Arnold hit the crossbar with a decent free kick and Sadio Mane’s bodied effort from a whipped cross also failed to find the back of the net.
The break through came from a familiar series of events in which James Milner pressed and won the ball back midway through the Seagulls’ half. Firmino then received the ball and played an outside of the foot through ball to Salah on the right side of the area. The Egyptian barely even had the look at the goal as he opened his body and slid a very nice finish past the outstretched hand of Ryan and in to the bottom left corner of the goal. It look to be the beginning of a rout very similar to the 4-0 and 5-1 performances against the same opposition last season.
Brighton, fair play to them, did not let their heads drop. They didn’t roll over and show their bellies. The stuck to their game plan and it almost paid off for them. In the second half they managed to slow our play down massively. If we didn’t already have Salah’s goal to fall back on it would most likely have ended in another one of those disappointing draws that we experienced last season.
Alisson got his moment in the spotlight here as his saved from Pascal Gross’ header late on preserved the win for us. He was commanding from set pieces for most of the match. With his feet he went from amazing to wobbly in the space of about 10 minutes. One minute he’s chipping the ball over a Brighton attacker and then passing and the next he’s chasing his touch and just getting there before the opposition. It was another clean sheet for the Brazilian and our now-solid-looking defence which is all the matters.
Of course we’ll need to play better than this against the top sides but we do always seem to lift our game against them so that doesn’t trouble me too much, on to Leicester away next Saturday. See you then Reds!