Brighton 2-2 Liverpool: Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk’s late close-range strike sees honours even on the south coast – as Mohamed Salah’s first-half double is unable to inspire Reds to victory
- Liverpool and Brighton failed to find a way past each other at the Amex
- Simon Adingra opened the scoring before Mo Salah fired in two quick goals
- Lewis Dunk rescued a point for the hosts with a thumping strike late on
It was not the anniversary present Jurgen Klopp would have wanted but it was markedly better than his team’s last two trips to the south coast. Brighton fought back to claim a well-earned draw against Liverpool after Mo Salah scored a brace.
Klopp, who celebrated eight years at the club, described this fixture last season as the worst performance of his many years in management, with Liverpool getting thrashed 3-0. They went behind here to a cheap goal which evoked memories of that dark day.
But they salvaged some respect as Salah scored twice for Liverpool to put behind them the monumental mess-up by VAR that dominated discussion for a week after their loss at Spurs, but they could not see out a win with Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk equalising late in the game.
And so it was Roberto De Zerbi’s turn to fume at VAR on another poor day for the officials. De Zerbi felt his team were denied a stonewall penalty, while Albion midfielder Pascal Gross might have seen red for a tug on Dominik Szoboszlai when he was the last man back.
De Zerbi, who spent most of the afternoon up in arms through anger at one thing or another, saw his side go ahead after 20 minutes following an incredibly sloppy passage of play from Liverpool.
Simon Adingra scored the opening goal after capitalising on a Liverpool error in midfield
Liverpool only managed a point against Brighton as Mohamed Salah scored twice at the Amex
Salah scored his second from the penalty spot as Liverpool took the lead before half time
Virgil Van Dijk slowed the game down to a walking pace and played an undercooked pass to former Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister. The World Cup winner, facing his own goal, was pick-pocketed by Simon Adingra and the Ivorian winger slotted past a poorly-positioned Alisson.
Adingra scored 15 goals on loan at sister club Union Saint-Gilloise, the Belgian club who Liverpool beat in the Europa League on Thursday, last season and his pace and directness caused Klopp’s side all sorts of issues.
Another dominant performance came from Carlos Baleba, who was signed from Lille for £23.2m in the summer. Mac Allister got a warm applause before the match but Brighton have moved on and Baleba looks the part. That’s what they do around here: one moves on, another steps up.
But for all the promise in a bright start for the Seagulls, they could only have themselves to blame as Liverpool scored two goals in six minutes to go in at half-time somehow in the lead.
The first goal came from a careless error from captain Lewis Dunk, who gave away possession cheaply in his own half and was made to pay. Liverpool exchanged slick passes and Darwin Nunez teed up Harvey Elliott. The Englishman moved out of the way to allow Salah to finish.
If the amount of space Liverpool were afforded for that goal was worrying, the second goal was even more alarming. Bert Verbruggen, the goalkeeper who has shared playing time with Jason Steele at four starts each, gave the ball away cheaply.
Pascal Gross was forced to tug Dominik Szoboszlai to the floor after being stitched up by the goalkeeper and the referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the penalty spot. It looked slightly soft but Salah did not care as he stepped up and confidently dispatched from 12 yards.
Many pointed out how Gross was the last man back and denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity and should have been shown a red card as well as the penalty being given. It was another poor day for the officials, who left both managers frustrated at times.
Brighton captain Lewis Dunk (middle) rescued a point for the hosts at the end of the game
Alexis Mac Allister (right) endured a difficult return to Brighton but shared a touching moment with former boss Roberto de Zerbi (left) at the end of the game
Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch (left) missed a glaring chance for Liverpool in the second half
Elliott, who made a rare start for Liverpool in midfield, was hauled off at half-time after perhaps being dominated by Baleba and Gross in central areas. Ryan Gravenberch entered the fray and should have scored minutes after his introduction but hit the bar from close range.
Brighton thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Kaoru Mitoma rattled the ball at Van Dijk’s hand from close range. It clearly struck the arm of the Dutchman but nothing was doing according to referee Taylor.
De Zerbi was shown a yellow card for his protests, in which he referred to footage of the incident shown on the iPad of his coaching staff. ‘We want a replay,’ chanted the Brighton fans as Klopp acted as peace-maker between De Zerbi and fourth official Chris Kavanagh.
But minutes later, the Italian’s side were level. Captain Dunk headed home a perfect cross after Mac Allister fouled March. From there, they looked the most likely team to add another and really should have done when Joao Pedro shanked a shot over from close range.
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