Match Review: Liverpool 2 – 1 Brighton

  • Fans at one of the official LFC Toronto Pubs - Elephant & Castle

FA Cup Quarter Final: Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool

Could this Sunday have been a definite turning point in the Premier League season?

After a laboured win against Brighton despite the match stats suggesting otherwise, Liverpool leap-frogged back to the top of the EPL table thanks to a goalless draw between Man City and Arsenal later during the day.

The Reds now have their destiny back in their own hands. Their league title challengers cannot miss the clear red signals being propelled high up into the air of L4.

Two points ahead of Arsenal and a one-game buffer against Man City are by no means a foregone conclusion in this most exciting three-horse race of recent memory. 

In the now home stretch, each team will need to dig deep in their physical and mental resilience so as to finish top on May 19.

With Jurgen Klopp having a squad of Mentality Monsters at his disposal, we cannot be pessimistic of not being in the mix until the very end.

Speaking of which, the Mentality Monsters were again called upon to turn around and win this game against a tricky Brighton, not to mention a flurry of head-scratching calls by ref David Coote.

On his 300th win as Liverpool manager, Klopp has finally triumphed over Roberto De Zerbi. The Italian took charge of Brighton in September 2022 and had remarkably managed to remain undefeated in the four prior league encounters between the two gaffers.

Rumours of De Zerbi being a leading contender to replace the Normal One this summer added some spice to the match build-up to the point of him being likened to going through a job interview on Sunday.

He certainly made a big first impression when Danny Welbeck opened the score in less than two minutes with a well-taken 18-yard strike to conclude a counter-attacking Brighton move. 

Was Anfield surprised? By the sight of a grimacing Liverpool bench, it probably was… but not to the brink of descending into panic mode.

With 88 minutes to go and having already been through this before on several occasions, it was more a case of déjà-vu.

After the false start

Effectively, the Reds quickly switched gears and emphatically took the proceedings to the away side with their typical pressing game.

Mo Salah in particular had numerous chances in the first half. He could have had a hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes with more clinical finishing instead of firing just above or just wide.

Concurrent with the Egyptian King’s prominence was young Conor Bradley bossing the right wing. He made several eye-catching interceptions before relentlessly forging forward and teeing up Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will surely have to fight for his place upon returning from injury.

With the game going down a one-way street, it only remained for Liverpool to equalize.

This duly came on a corner on the 27th minute. Salah’s headed second ball was miscued by Joel Veltman and Lucho acrobatically pounced past Brighton keeper Bart Verbruggen.

Having the upper hand, Liverpool kept pushing forward. Brighton needed their keeper to deny Salah, Diaz, Bradley and Nunez to maintain a score of parity at half-time finally.

But on our end, we needed someone with inside knowledge of the opponents to finally vault Liverpool into taking the lead.

While Alexis Mac Allister is still fondly remembered at the Amex Stadium, he inevitably grew in stature to shine against his old team during the second half.

The Argentinian came close to putting the Reds in the lead in the 54th minute but his header was just wide.

If he did not score, then he did provide a delightful assist to Salah on 65th. After receiving a Dominik Szoboszlai cross, our Number 10 threaded a perfectly weighted ball past several Brighton defenders.

Such was the vision of this pass that the Egyptian King found himself with unusually ample time and space to control the ball deep inside Brighton’s box before precisely rounding the keeper with his left foot.

That Mac Allister pass was simply Poetry in Motion.

The Mentality Monsters were now on their way but after what happened at the other end of the East Lancs Road a fortnight ago, no one surely took it for granted it was already checkmate nor did anyone need to be reminded of the imperative to put the game to bed. 

There were still 25 minutes remaining on the clock and with their propensity of counterattacking, Brighton could hit back at any time.

Going for a third

Nonetheless, control of the game barely slipped out of Liverpool’s hands and they were unfortunate not to extend the lead on the 72nd.

Salah showed that he could also deliver a perfectly weighted ball and he did so to Diaz who finished past Verbruggen.

It was a quite fluid attacking move which was unfortunately chalked off with the Colombian just slightly offside.

In the reverse fixture last October, the Seagulls equalized on the 78th after Liverpool had similarly turned around that match into a 1-2 lead. 

History could have also repeated itself this time was it not for a stunning Kelleher save on the 81st to deny a Lewis Dunk header. 

That was the first time our Irish keeper was called into action during the second half, thereby showing Liverpool’s overwhelming dominance of the proceedings on Sunday. 

Much to the liking of Klopp who despite winning by only one goal, has by now probably found some solace from that nightmare trip to the Amex Stadium in the league back in January 2023.

Indeed, when they are playing at home, De Zerbi’s Brighton are really hard to beat, Who knows, the Seagulls might end up being the kingmakers this season. Arsenal and Man City still have to go down there in April.

Mike Chung.