In truth, a point was all that Liverpool deserved from a performance that, for the most part, was listless. Despite a brace for Mo Salah, Brighton more than merited an equaliser to make it 2-2 in the closing stages.
From the outset, the Seagulls appropriately harassed Liverpool. They were hungry for the ball, showed an intent sorely lacking from just about every player in red, and took the lead following sloppy play from Jurgen Klopp’s men. Lethargic in possession, Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk combined to gift Adingra an open goal. However, they were not alone in appearing to lack intensity. Time after time, a Brighton midfield that’s been picked apart by their Premiership rivals, played around and through a static Liverpool midfield.
A second for the hosts looked inevitable yet, with half-time approaching, Salah turned the game on its head. Lewis Dunk lost possession outside his penalty area and some quick precise passing set up the Egyptian to stroke the ball home. Moments later, it was 2-1. Having finally committed to pressing Brighton players with the ball and closing down the space to prevent easy Brighton passing through midfield, Liverpool won a penalty. Gross yanking Dominik Szoboszlai to the floor by his collar, yet somehow escaping a yellow card in the process.
At the interval, Liverpool led after Salah comfortably scored from the penalty spot. However, it was surely not a happy dressing room, on the eighth anniversary of Klopp’s appointment. Replacing Harvey Elliot with Ryan Gravenbech certainly gave the Reds greater solidity in the early stages of the second half and were unfortunate not to stretch their lead through the German, who struck the bar with a quarter of the game to go when he really should have scored.
A lucky escape for the home side seemed to galvanise them. Mitoma, who caused the right side of Liverpool’s defence problems throughout the game, won numerous free kicks and it was Dunk, atoning for his earlier error, who got across a static Liverpool defence with 10 minutes remaining, to win his side a point. Brighton had further chances to go on and snatch all three points, with Mitoma now causing chaos in the Liverpool back line and defeat looked a real possibility.
Half chances, though, came Liverpool’s way in the closing minutes, yet creativity, especially with the inexplicable withdrawal of Alexander-Arnold, was in short supply. The whistle blew after four added minutes, to the obvious frustration of Klopp and his charges. One point from the last six on the road does not champions make and it will take a home victory over city rivals Everton at Anfield in two weeks to get their league campaign back on track.