10-man Liverpool edged past Brighton and Hove Albion despite a late scare at Anfield.
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Liverpool’s star goalkeeper was sent off for a deliberate handball and from the resulting free kick Lewis Dunk made it 2-1. Substitute goalkeeper Adrian had a tough time late on but managed to hold his nerve as Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points, momentarily.
3 things we learned
1. Van Dijk stands tall: He beat Brighton’s towering defense to score two headers in the first half and without Fabinho ahead of him and Matip alongside him, VVD put on a show. He was the leader in attack and at the back for Liverpool and when they went down to 10 men late in the game their leader stood tall.
2. Brighton not clinical enough: On another day Graham Potter‘s side should have scored three or four. Dunk missed a big chance in the first half and they squandered several opportunities. Brighton play some very good stay from box to box but must be more clinical if they’re going to get to the next stage.
3. Alisson adds to Klopp’s woe: Liverpool will now have to do without Alisson to add to Klopp’s woes, as he was put in a terrible situation by his defenders. He didn’t need to handle the ball, but the way Adrian played when he came on proved this is now a big problem for Liverpool going forward.
Man of the Match: Virgil van Dijk – Dominant at the back, especially late on, and popped up with two headers in the first half. With Joel Matip, Fabinho and now Alisson out, VVD has to step up once again in the coming weeks. A superb overall display.
A bright start at Anfield saw both teams have chances as Mooy and Connolly combined to cause havoc, while Liverpool’s front three were looking as dangerous as ever.
Roberto Firmino forced Mat Ryan into a fine save down low and from the ball then broke for a free kick as Alexander-Arnold’s cross found Van Dijk who nodded home.
Soon after Firmino and Mane were both denied by Ryan as Liverpool put their foot down on the accelerator, and then a second arrived in very similar fashion to the first.
A corner from the left found Van Dijk as he beat Shane Duffy and flicked home his and Liverpool’s second goal of the game with his meaty Dutch forehead.
Mane almost squeezed in another before half time as Liverpool totally dominated, but Brighton had a few chances as Davy Propper forced Alisson into a decent stop, then Lewis Dunk shanked an effort wide when wide open at the back post and the Seagulls put the hosts under pressure late in the first half.
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At the start of the second half Brighton continued to impress as Dunk flicked a header inches wide.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost wrapped up the win in style as he cut inside but Dunk denied him with a brilliant block.
Then, all hell broke loose.
A long ball over the top found Connolly who tried to lob Alisson but the Brazilian goalkeeper handled outside his box and was shown a straight red card. From the resulting free kick Lewis Dunk rolled in a bizarre finish to make it 2-1, and substitute goalkeeper Adrian was put under severe pressure late on.
Adrian denied Aaron Mooy but almost spilled a routine effort into his own goal as Liverpool held on for their 13th win from their first 14 games this season.