Liverpool Lucky To Escape With Draw Against Brighton

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

What started off as a promising day for Liverpool turned into one to forget as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds squandered a 2-0 lead to draw with Brighton. The Anfield faithful may have thought they were about to witness another stroll to victory as captain Jordan Henderson fired Liverpool in front just over three minutes into Saturday’s game.

Liverpool looked comfortably in control in the first half as Sadio Mané doubled their lead with a header from a perfectly placed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross on 24 minutes. The Senegalese international thought he had secured a brace for himself 10 minutes later when he closed down Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez after an unwanted backpass, but the goal was ruled out for a handball after VAR review.

The warning signs started to appear as Graham Potter’s side forced Alisson into making several saves before new signing Enock Mwepu lobbed the Brazilian with a terrific finish from outside the box to make it 2-1 to Liverpool minutes before halftime. The Seagulls showed no fear in the face of a daunting Anfield atmosphere, always trying to carve their way delicately through Klopp’s side.

Keita Sorely Missed After Hamstring Injury

Having strung together perhaps his best spell in a Liverpool shirt in recent weeks with well-rounded displays and some outstanding goals, Naby Keita was dealt another cruel injury blow and forced off after 20 minutes with a hamstring problem. Liverpool looked unbalanced and lost control of the midfield after the #8’s exit, with Brighton’s Yves Bissouma bossing the center of the pitch thereafter.

Keita has had horrific luck on the injury front since joining Liverpool, playing just 714 minutes last season. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his limited time on the pitch but has yet to surpass the 2000-minute mark in a campaign since arriving in 2018.

For all the qualities Henderson brings to the side, he is no defensive midfielder. He did a commendable job for the team playing as the deepest midfielder in the season before Fabinho’s arrival, but the Brazilian’s knack for snuffing out danger has been sorely missed.

His return can’t come soon enough for Liverpool, also currently without Thiago, James Milner and Harvey Elliott in midfield.

Leandro Trossard drew Brighton level in the 65th minute after being slipped in by ex-Red Adam Lallana. The home side was on the ropes from that point on and Anfield breathed a collective sigh of relief after the Belgian saw a second, go-ahead goal chalked off for offside.

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Liverpool can count their blessings

In a game that had all the potential of another thrashing, Klopp’s men can consider themselves fortunate to have left with a draw. The Reds are now three points behind first-placed Chelsea after Thomas Tuchel’s side defeated Newcastle 3-0.

The only consolation available to Liverpool is that Manchester City also dropped points Saturday, falling to a 2-0 defeat against visiting Crystal Palace. However, they remain in England’s top-flight.