According to Sky, Jordan Henderson has gone for a scan on a knee injury picked up in that collision with Yves Bissouma. A downbeat end to an otherwise good night for the new champions. Ed Aarons was at the Amex. His report has landed; you know what to do. Click and enjoy … and thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Jurgen Klopp’s verdict. “When they played build-up we had a super solution. But for the rest they left two offensive players between the lines and it was difficult to protect it. We did pretty well in most situations, but when you lose the ball at the wrong moment that’s when they have the chances. They deserved their goal but we could have scored again, and it’s all good. Neco Williams had a yellow card, and we didn’t protect him well enough. I could not tell him don’t do a challenge, it is a professional game, so we brought Robbo on. I liked a lot and he is confident. There is absolutely no problem.”
Graham Potter’s verdict. “I think we played well and gave a good account of ourselves, especially going 2-0 down in the manner we did. Liverpool smelt blood. So it was great personality to drag ourselves back into the game. We created some chances before scoring a really good goa. So we put a lot into the game, and have a lot of positives to take. We obviously have to improve as well. Our decision-making can improve, but we want to try to play our game against the best, and we’ll learn from that tonight. The boys gave everything and I’m really happy with them.”
Salah speaks! “I think it was a good game for fans to watch. They play really well from the back and had a good game. Scoring early made it easier but they played a good game. After 2-1 they had more confidence and were close to a second, so when I scored the third one it made us calm again and we had more confidence that the game was almost over.” He’s then asked if he’s thinking about the Golden Boot, and cracks a wide grin as he insists he’s taking it “game by game”. But we know what he’s thinking, don’t we, kids?
Salah doesn’t appear too unhappy, though. He’s all smiles after scoring twice, closing the gap on Jamie Vardy in the chase for the Golden Boot to three goals. He’s got 19 to Vardy’s 22, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in between on 20. Liverpool meanwhile get three points closer in their pursuit of a record points total, moving onto 92 points. Three wins from their final four matches and it’s theirs. A big ask, with matches against Arsenal and Chelsea still to come. Brighton meanwhile remain in 15th on 36 points, but will be happy with a display that was at turns gritty and adventurous. They’re an emerging side under Graham Potter and will surely avoid relegation.
FULL TIME: Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
There’s just enough time for Salah to spurn an excellent chance to claim the match ball, but heads his hat-trick opportunity from a left-wing Robertson cross over from six yards. And that’s that!
90 min +6: Milner rolls a pass down the inside-right channel to release Minamino, who should score his first Liverpool goal but takes a heavy touch and the chance is gone.
90 min +4: Robertson burning up the left again. He fires low towards the near post. Mane tries to flick home but Ryan blocks. Salah has a go, falling backwards at a tight angle on the left. Ryan flicks over the bar. The resulting corner is no good. No matter.
90 min +3: Robertson romps down the wing again and cuts back for Mane, whose attempted curler towards the top right is always heading wide. Salah, in the middle on a hat-trick, is furious.
90 min +2: Mane has the chance to feed Robertson, haring down the left on the overlap, but fails to take it. A poor decision, though it’s unlikely to prove costly.
90 min: Stephens sends Connolly scampering clear down the middle. Van Dijk and Gomez hold the line, and the flag goes up for offside. Just. Liverpool haven’t defended well tonight, though you can give Brighton plenty of credit for that. There will be six minutes of added time.
88 min: Connolly goes at Gomez again, down the left touchline, and is cynically dragged back. A yellow card. It’s only not a red because there were covering team-mates in the middle.
87 min: Connolly demonstrates the point by driving past a snoozing Gomez down the inside-left channel, entering the box, and whipping a low shot-cum-cross through the six-yard box. There’s nobody in blue and white to prod home.
86 min: Lamptey has looked more impressive going forwards than backwards, and here he’s booked for illegally impeding Mane as the Liverpool man sailed down the left. From the resulting free kick, Wijnaldum sends a header over the bar from close range. That was a chance to put this beyond any doubt whatsoever. Brighton still retain a little hope.
85 min: Stephens, quarterbacking from deep, shovels a clever chip down the middle to find Trossard free just inside the box. Gomez was playing him onside. Trossard flicks wildly at the dropping ball and sends it sailing harmlessly over the bar. What a chance.
83 min: Mane hassles Lamptey down the left and wins a corner. Brighton struggle to clear the set piece, and Mane attempts a curler towards the top left, but it’s blocked and Lamptey clears.
81 min: Some head tennis in the Liverpool box leads to a corner for Brighton. Nothing happens at it. But Brighton haven’t thrown in the towel yet, and Liverpool don’t look comfortable when attacked.
80 min: A further cost to Liverpool: Henderson has injured himself in making that challenge. He’s replaced by Milner, who makes his 536th Premier League appearance. Only Gareth Barry, Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard and David James have made more top-flight appearances since football was invented in 1992.
78 min: Brighton finally discover an escape route, and Bissouma is hit by a double whammy from Fabinho and Henderson as he dribbles upfield. It earns Fabinho a booking.
77 min: Liverpool will have been fretting. Now they suddenly look a whole lot calmer, more like the champions they are. They ping it around, Brighton finding it hard to get out of their box. All of a sudden, it’s not Brighton looking for an equaliser, but Liverpool probing for a fourth.
GOAL! Brighton 1-3 Liverpool (Salah 76)
Robertson whips towards the near post. Salah stoops and guides his 19th league goal of the season into the bottom right, Brighton caught cold.
75 min: Robertson and Mane combine at speed to romp past Lamptey on the left. Mane cuts back for Henderson, whose shot from distance comes off Dunk’s back and flies out for a corner on the right. From which …
74 min: Bissouma sashays down the middle of the park before sliding a pass down the right for Connolly, who wins a corner off Gomez. Mooy takes. Alisson comes off his line and flaps, beaten to the ball by Dunk, whose skimmed header flies harmlessly wide right.
73 min: Henderson finds Mane down the right. He wants a return pass, but Mane decides to float one into the box instead. It’s easy meat for Ryan.
72 min: Brighton get round to making their subs. Propper, Mac Allister and Gross make way for Bissouma, Mooy and Connolly.
70 min: But the game restarts before Brighton can make their changes. Firmino buzzes around at high velocity, pressing Brighton back and nearly making space for Salah in the box. Not quite, but the message from Klopp is clear: pick up the tempo.
69 min: More drinks, and another burst of Waterfront. Time for Klopp to deliver what looks like a passionate bollocking, while Brighton prepare a triple substitution.
67 min: Henderson crudely shoulders Mac Allister to the ground. It’s only a garden-variety foul, but illustrative of Liverpool’s frustration. They’re being pushed hard here by Graham Potter’s increasingly impressive side. Something is slowly happening on the south coast. Next season could be fun.
66 min: Firmino is nearly sent clear by Burn’s undercooked backpass, but Ryan comes out to clear. From the resulting throw, Wijnaldum wins a corner on the right. The ball’s lumped into the box. Van Dijk is penalised for pushing, and the pressure on Brighton is immediately relieved.
64 min: Fabinho’s first act is much more positive, spraying a delightful long diagonal pass towards Salah on the left. Salah has Mane free in the middle, but Lamptey sticks to his side and there’s no chance to cross. Instead Salah is forced to shoot from a tight angle. A corner, that leads to nothing. Lamptey is a real player.
62 min: Liverpool make a double change. Off goes the impressive Keita and the less magnificent Oxlade-Chamberlain. On come Fabinho and Mane, and the latter almost immediately goes in the book for flinging an arm in Lamptey’s face.
60 min: Lamptey continues to be a thorn in Liverpool’s right side. He nearly turns Robertson inside out, but has to settle for a corner. From the set piece, the ball’s swung in from the right and flicked on to Burn, who is free, six yards out, level with the left-hand post. He slices a defender’s effort across Alisson towards the bottom right, but Gomez is able to slash clear. Brighton should be level.
59 min: Robertson crosses deep from the left. Henderson, on the right-hand corner of the box, meets the ball with a swerving volley that Ryan does extremely well to read. That was moving all over the shop and can’t have been easy to handle. A fine effort, with a save to match.
57 min: Oxlade-Chamlerlain has a bash from 25 yards. It’s blocked out for a throw, which leads to a corner. Nothing comes of that. Liverpool are beginning to re-establish themselves, though.
55 min: Alexander-Arnold overruns the ball and catches Mac Allister’s shin while trying to retrieve it. It’s not a pretty challenge. It seemed clumsy rather than deliberate, though you’ve seen action taken for those.
53 min: So having said that, Salah almost immediately skitters down the right and makes it to the box. He’s one on one with Ryan, but telegraphs his intention to curl into the bottom left, and his effort is blocked. A reminder to Brighton that, while they’re playing extremely well, one small lapse could quickly scupper any hopes of completing the comeback.
52 min: Maupay sends a ball down the left towards Gross. Van Dijk comes across to execute a fine block tackle that forces Gross to run the ball out for a goal kick. Had he not made it, Gross was free on goal. Liverpool aren’t exactly hanging on … but Brighton look the more likely right now.
50 min: Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain combine down the right, the latter swanning past Lamptey. Oxlade-Chamberlain fizzes a low cross towards Firmino at the near post, but Ryan reads it well to smother.
49 min: Maupay and Burn combine well down the left, nearly opening Liverpool up. Then Lamptey has a whack from the best part of 30 yards. It’s fair to say that Brighton have fully regained their confidence after their flat start.
47 min: Alexander-Arnold rakes one down the middle for Salah, who can’t quite get there. Ryan comes to the edge of his box to claim just in time.
Liverpool get the second half underway. They’ve made a change, replacing young Neco Williams with the slightly longer in the tooth Andy Robertson. Williams wasn’t getting a chasing, but Lamptey got the better of him a couple of times, and he was on a yellow card, so it’s a prudent swap. As for Brighton, it’s as you were.
Half-time entertainment. Our new Forgotten Stories of Football podcast examines the team that so very nearly met Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup final.
HALF TIME: Brighton 1-2 Liverpool
This looked like a mismatch after eight minutes. But it’s a proper game now. Liverpool flew out of the blocks, but Brighton have been the better team since that early two-goal salvo. An entertaining second half awaits us all.
45 min +2: Stephens ships possession carelessly, allowing Salah and Firmino to jog purposefully towards the Brighton box. Firmino slips to Oxlade-Chamberlain on his left. Oxlade-Chamberlain goes for a power curler towards the top right, but Webster slides in to take a block for the team. Corner.
45 min +1: The first of four added minutes breezes by without incident.
GOAL! Brighton 1-2 Liverpool (Trossard 45)
But this is sheer quality! Lamptey tears down the right, sent clear by a cute reverse ball from Gross. Lamptey curls low towards Trossard, on the penalty spot. Trossard meets the cross so sweetly, sweeping powerfully into the bottom right, leaving Alisson no chance! That had been coming, and Brighton deserve their goal.
44 min: All a bit scrappy for the first time in a free-flowing game.
42 min: The resulting free kick is both a chance to load the box and a thundering non-event. But Brighton are soon coming back at the champions, Trossard racing down the left and nearly finding Maupay in the centre. Not quite, and Liverpool clear their lines. Brighton are the better team right now.
41 min: Webster loops a pass down the right for Lamptey, who gets in front of Williams and draws a crude foul from behind. Williams goes in the book, another Premier League landmark for the 19-year-old full debutant.
39 min: Keita rolls a pass down the right for Salah, who cuts across the face of the box and curls towards the top left. Ryan, his feet rooted to the spot, is beaten all ends up, but is pleased to see Salah’s effort whistle past the other side of the post. For a nanosecond, that looked ominous for Brighton.
37 min: Maupay swings one in from the left. Williams is forced to head behind for a corner, under pressure from Gross. The corner’s played out to Stephens, who whips a shot wide right from the edge of the box. That had Alisson scrambling, though I think he had it covered.
36 min: Trossard glides in from the left. Upon reaching the box, he takes his shot. But he’s denied by a fine sliding block from Gomez. Brighton are working some really fine positions.