1st December: Reds squeak Brighton victory at Alisson’s expense


The Premier League leaders once again pulled out the stops to record a dogged home victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

But should they have had to draw on such energy? The stocks on heart-wrenching 2-1 wins are surely dwindling!

All arrows pointed in the direction of a home win. Although they are yet to keep a clean sheet at Anfield this season, Brighton had only scored once in four matches against the Reds in two years of being in the Premier League.

And that was in a 5-1 defeat at the Amex.

After paying tribute to former Liverpool and Bolton winger Johnny Wheeler before kick-off, the Kopites began the match in protest of the verdict on David Duckenfield. “Justice for the 96” rang around Anfield for the opening six minutes – a touch of class and respect due for all the suffering families.

The match was also the first after Graham Potter signed a new six-year deal this week – seemingly premature but the former Ostersunds and Swansea man has certainly made a positive impression with his possession game on the south coast.

The Reds began the match on top – with Mathew Ryan pulling fine stops to deny Roberto Firmino twice in the first half.

But rising like a gazelle and leaping like a graceful salmon from a delicious Trent Alexander-Arnold ball, Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk nodded the favourites ahead after 18 minutes.

The header drifted agonisingly over the Aussie ‘keepers’ outstretched arm, perhaps compensating for his lack of vertical presence in the Brighton net. 1-0, and it seemed clear that Jurgen Klopp’s men meant business after an underwhelming draw in midweek.

They would only have to wait six minutes for their second.

Deja-vu? Not Dejan-vu like Wednesday, but a bullet header from Van Dijk doubled his tally and the home side’s advantage.

Another scrumptious ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold was gobbled up by the Dutchman who once again leapt clear of all Seagulls defenders to make it two.

The Reds came close yet again with Salah striking the side-netting from close range, with the Seagulls best chance of the half coming from teenager Aaron Connolly.

The newly-capped Irish international wriggled inside the box to test Alisson, with the Brazilian easily pushing wide.

The second-half lacked any sort of intensity from either side to begin with – even the crowd lacked energy as the Reds were looking to cruise their way home.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who looked encouragingly bright throughout the match, came closest for the Reds – though was blocked by Lewis Dunk who saw it wide.

Dunk then nodded just by the post with Alisson untroubled – but he certainly would be moments later.

A long-ball from the full-back to an energetic Leandro Trossard saw Alisson rush off his line and outside of his box – in a race he was never going to win.

The ex-Genk man got a nick on the hoof, and Alisson, maybe unaware of his bearings or in instinctive movement, stuck out a hand in obstruction of the ball going towards the Anfield Road.

Martin Atkinson was left with no choice but to send him off, bringing the ‘frozen’ Adrian San Miguel from the bench to face the free-kick. Alisson became the first Reds’ goalkeeper to be sent off since fellow Brazilian Alexander Doni in 2012.

After much deliberation, milliseconds after the whistle blew, Dunk slotted home in what was a totally shambolic goal for the Reds to concede.

Dunk passed the ball into the bottom corner, with the wall not prepared and Adrian rooted to the spot. It shouldn’t have been game on, but it certainly was.

With 12 nervy minutes to survive, Klopp’s side never do make it easy for themselves.

Adrian then at pace denied Huddersfield loanee Aaron Mooy, and very nearly fumbled Pascal Gross’s soft header to allow Maupay to equalise minutes from time.

A familiar tale. Liverpool win. Just.

Lewis Dunk:

“We never gave up and never let them settle, but the start of the match is what cost us.

“It’s frustrating. For the first 15 minutes I didn’t think we were at our best, but then we dominated the rest of the game and were the better side. To come to Anfield and leave frustrated speaks volumes but we have to move on.

“We showed great character to get back into the contest and then control it. We had more possession – we just couldn’t find that equaliser. We have to look at each other and think how well we’ve done.”

Virgil Van Dijk:

“We conceded a bit of a strange free-kick, the red card for Alisson, and we should have done better. But it’s not easy to play every couple of days and make sure we are more than 100 per cent.

“But we try to do that. The beginning of the first half was good, towards the end of the first half I think we should have done better. But it’s something we have to look at and try to improve.

“They are a very good side, you have to give them credit. They played well, brave and tried to get out of our press and at times it worked. So you have to give them credit. But we wanted the three points and got them.

“We have to show character, we have to fight. It was not an easy game, especially at the end. We had to dig deep and we did.”

Stonadge’s MAN OF THE MATCH – Lewis Dunk

As an attendee of the match, it would be easy to say Virgil van Dijk, after his two goals, is the main candidate for this award. But for me it has to be Lewis Dunk.

The centre-back was not only solid defensively, but Brighton’s main source of attacking threat throughout the entire match.

I think I underestimated how good a footballer he actually is.

He displayed dogged blocks and your typical defensive prowess you expect. But it was his incisive passing and decision making, especially with their goal – top quality from the defender.


Liverpool: Alisson (Red 76); Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Adrian 77); Mane, Firmino (Origi 74), Salah (Lallana 69)

Unused substitutes: Milner, Keita, Gomez, Shaqiri

Brighton: Ryan; Montoya (Alzate 69), Dunk, Webster, Burn; Propper, Stephens, Bissouma (Trossard 69); Mooy, Connolly (Maupay 76), Gross

Unused substitutes: Button, Duffy, Schelotto, Murray


About Author

Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

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