Brighton and Hove Albion vs Liverpool. Premier League.
Match report and highlights as Brighton come back to claim 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool; Mohamed Salah scored twice as visitors responded to Simon Adingra opener to lead at half-time; Lewis Dunk hit back for hosts in second half
Sunday 8 October 2023 19:32, UK
Mohamed Salah scored twice in six minutes at Brighton but Liverpool were unable to claim a win in an error-strewn 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton dominated Liverpool on their way to claiming a 3-0 win in this fixture last season and were brilliant again in the opening 40 minutes of this game, taking the lead when Simon Adingra robbed Alexis Mac Allister and drove the ball past the out-of-position Alisson.
But Brighton's high-risk build-up play began to falter in the minutes before half-time, with a loose pass from Lewis Dunk presenting Salah with the chance to level the game.
Bart Verbruggen and Pascal Gross then combined to hand Liverpool a penalty, with the latter controversially avoiding a red card for dragging down Dominik Szoboszlai in the area, but Salah dispatched the spot kick as Liverpool produced another impressive comeback.
However, Liverpool were again the victims of a questionable decision when Solly March won a free-kick that Roberto De Zerbi admitted should not have been given, before stepping up to pick out an unmarked Dunk, who capitalised on slack marking to grab a deserved equaliser.
Brighton: Verbruggen (5), Veltman (6), Dunk (6), Igor (6), March (7), Gross (6), Baleba (7), Adingra (8), Pedro (6), Mitoma (7), Ferguson (6).
Subs: Welbeck (6), Van Hecke (6), Fati (n/a).
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Matip (6), Van Dijk (5), Robertson (6), Elliott (5), Mac Allister (6), Szoboszlai (7), Salah (8), Nunez (7), Diaz (7).
Subs: Gravenberch (6), Konate (6), Gomez (5).
Player of the match: Mohamed Salah
Mac Allister went from being an unknown midfielder to one of the outstanding players in his position during his time at Brighton but his former club showed no mercy on his return to the south coast.
The Argentina international looked uncomfortable from the off at the base of Liverpool’s midfield when trying to deal with Brighton’s lightning-fast attacks and was ultimately at fault for the game’s first goal.
Virgil van Dijk perhaps should not have passed the ball Mac Allister’s way given three Brighton players were ready to pounce, but the midfielder failed to recognise the pressure and allowed Adingra to win possession.
Adingra strode forward, realised Alisson had failed to recover his position and slotted the ball beyond the Brazilian’s despairing dive from outside the area.
Liverpool spent the next 10 minutes on the ropes but, as they so often do under Jurgen Klopp, responded in the finest way possible, somehow wrestling control of the game and gaining a half-time lead.
The equaliser came with Brighton overrun following Dunk’s errant pass, as Darwin Nunez squared for Salah to fire past Verbruggen.
As against Tottenham last weekend, Liverpool may again feel hard done by given Gross avoided a red card despite making no attempt to win the ball as he hauled down Szoboszlai after he and Verbruggen played their way into danger inside their own area.
Salah drilled in the penalty and Gravenberch - on as a substitute at half-time - should have doubled Liverpool’s lead in the second period but somehow hit the bar from just yards out with the goal gaping.
Brighton responded by raising their game as the minutes ticked by and De Zerbi felt they should have had a penalty of their own when Kaoru Mitoma's shot deflected off Van Dijk's leg and struck his arm.
The officials waved away those claims but Brighton had their equaliser when Andy Robertson allowed March’s low free-kick to bypass him at the near post, with an unmarked Dunk on hand to atone for his earlier error and ensure the points were rightfully shared.
Klopp admitted a draw was a fair result and decided not to enter the debate over whether Gross should have been dismissed after giving away the penalty.
"Unfortunately, yes," said Klopp when asked whether sharing the points was the right outcome.
"We forced them to make mistakes. We want high pressing but it causes the issue that they play out from time to time.
"We should have scored for 3-1 but we kept the game open.
"We produced too many set-pieces. If one of our boys touched the ball [for Dunk's goal] it was an own goal."
On the subject of Gross avoiding a red card, Klopp added: "I’m over it. I’m too old for these kind of things. We will not change it."
Roberto De Zerbi was left to bemoan the "very bad" goals Brighton conceded but was comforted by the performance of Carlos Baleba.
The 19-year-old midfielder was impressive on his first Premier League start and De Zerbi said: "I have to congratulate my club because they found another two great players - Adingra and Baleba.
"Baleba has incredible potential. He can become one of the most important midfielders in Europe in the future."
De Zerbi added that the result provided a "good point" for his side but said: "In the 90 minutes, we played better than Liverpool, especially in the first half.
"We closed the first half losing 2-1 because we conceded two goals in a very bad way. We didn’t understand how we were losing.
"I’m sorry because we are conceding too many goals in a bad way. We are working a lot but maybe it’s not enough.
"In football, it can happen that there are some periods where you concede too many goals that you don’t deserve."
Sky Sports' Joe Shread at the Amex Stadium:
Liverpool have revelled in doing things the hard way this season, conceding the opening goal in seven of their 11 games in all competitions.
Klopp’s side deserve credit for winning five of those seven matches but their powers of recovery can only take them so far.
Liverpool did brilliantly to almost claim a draw at Tottenham last week despite being reduced to nine players and being the victim of an infamous VAR error, but ultimately left north London without a point.
It looked as though another comeback was on the cards at Brighton thanks to Salah but Liverpool were again unable to hold onto the points, giving away a poor free-kick and compounding the error by failing to defend it effectively.
Liverpool look far better placed to launch a convincing title challenge than last season but Klopp will know more than any manager that finishing above Manchester City will only be possible if his side cut out their unforced errors.
Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday October 21 in the Premier League following the international break - kick-off 12.30pm.
Jurgen Klopp's side then welcome Toulouse to Anfield on Thursday October 26 as they continue their Europa League campaign - kick-off 8pm.
Brighton head to champions Manchester City in the league on Saturday October 21; kick-off 3pm.
The Seagulls are then back in Europa League action on Thursday October 26 when Ajax visit the Amex Stadium - kick-off 8pm.