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Liverpool 2-1 Brighton: Salah seals Reds advantage on big day for title race

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Liverpool soaked up an early blow to do their job on a big weekend in the Premier League title race, fighting back to beat Brighton 2-1 at Anfield.

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

Premier League (29), Anfield
March 31, 2024

Goals

Welbeck 2′
Diaz 27′ (assist – none)
Salah 65′ (assist – Mac Allister)


It is a strange symptom that Jurgen Klopp has never managed to shake from his sides, and it was no different against Brighton as Danny Welbeck thumped the visitors in front within 90 seconds.

Liverpool were hardly meek in their first game back from the international break, though, with Mohamed Salah curling one wide and Alexis Mac Allister testing Bart Verbruggen from range.

It didn’t take long for referee David Coote to show he is not at Premier League standard, with questionable yellow cards for Mac Allister and Pascal Gross.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Parity was restored midway through the half, with Luis Diaz coasting into space and benefiting from a clumsy block from Joel Veltman bouncing into his path to make it 1-1.

Salah should have made it 2-1 soon after, but having been sent through by Dominik Szoboszlai he could only manage a weak effort at the goalkeeper, with the tireless Conor Bradley later blazing a similar opportunity high.

HT: Liverpool 1-1 Brighton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both sets of supporters, players and managers seemed growingly perplexed by the decisions of the man in the middle, with concerns over whether Coote’s lack of control would impact the second half.

Liverpool had a convincing penalty shout with Salah brought down by Gross after a smart turn, but with Paul Tierney in the VAR booth, their hopes of the right decision being made were slim.

Though they kept applying pressure with almost total control over the game, the hosts continued to struggle against a compact Brighton block.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores his side's second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Until Salah finally found his feet, with a brilliant team move seeing Mac Allister feed the Egyptian in the box, with a sharp touch and finish into the bottom corner putting Liverpool ahead.

A third goal was then ruled out by a ridiculously marginal offside, with Tierney claiming Diaz was offside as Salah threaded a stunning pass through for him to finish.

There was a late scare as Adam Lallana‘s shot scuffed just wide of an equaliser for Brighton, but Liverpool were able to hold on for a vital three points ahead of Man City vs. Arsenal.


TIA Man of the Match: Alexis Mac Allister

Referee: David Coote

Liverpool: Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Van Dijk, Gomez; Endo, Szoboszlai (Gravenberch 90+4′), Mac Allister; Salah, Diaz (Gakpo 88′), Nunez (Elliott 82′)

Subs not used: Adrian, Konate, Tsimikas, McConnell, Clark, Danns

Brighton: Verbruggen; Van Hecke, Dunk, Veltman; Lamptey (Buonanotte 70′), Moder (Lallana 83′), Baleba, Estupinan (Barco 90+2′); Adingra (Ferguson 83′), Gross, Welbeck

Subs not used: Steele, Igor, Webster, Fati, Chouchane

Next match: Sheffield United (H) – Premier League – Thursday, April 4, 7.30pm (BST)