9/10 Salah just misses hat trick at Brighton

9/10-salah-just-misses-hat-trick-at-brighton

10:49 PM BST

  • Nick JuddTransfer writer

Liverpool are still on course for a record Premier League points haul following an edgy 3-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s men, who hadn’t scored in seven hours and 42 minutes on the road before this game, raced to a 2-0 lead thanks to Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson, but the home side rallied and looked the better side in the second half after pulling a goal back before the break. Leandro Trossard got Brighton back into the game with a well-taken goal, but Liverpool held on before Salah made sure of the win late on.

The Reds now just need three wins from their last four games to overtake Manchester City‘s previous best of 100 points.

Positives

Liverpool attacked with vigour in the first half and caused problems when pressing Dale Stephens and Davy Propper in the centre of Brighton’s midfield. Naby Keita in particular was in electric form, a menace when Brighton had the ball in front of their own area, while Salah could have had four or five and was disappointed to only have two to his name.

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Negatives

Brighton were the better side in the second half and Klopp may feel disappointed in the way his team let Brighton back into the game, especially after dominating the early exchanges. His defence once again looked on edge, though they held firm until Salah made the game safe.

Manager Rating out of 10

6 — Klopp freshened things up and rested Sadio Mane while also offering Neco Williams a first league start. It looked an inspired team selection as Liverpool threatened to run riot early on, but his side were caught out on numerous occasions as Brighton attacked and entertained in search of an equaliser.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 7 — The Brazilian keeper didn’t have much to do in the first half, but he reacted well when Alexis Mac Allister broke free on goal following a long punt down the middle. Alisson raced out of his area to head clear. He then saved well from Trossard as Brighton tried to battle their way back into the game.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 — Delivered a trademark cross early on and another that was almost headed home from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following a Roberto Firmino flick, but he had a job on his hands keeping up with Brighton’s electric breakaways.

DF Joe Gomez, 7 — Gomez and Virgil van Dijk have been uncharacteristically shaky recently, but he made a key block at Trossard’s expense before the break, and looked solid in the second period, showing his pace when tested against a dangerous Brighton side on the break.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 — It was a shaky performance by the big Netherlands international’s standards, though he recovered well enough to keep Brighton’s impressive attacking talents at bay. He looked imperious in the air, but was definitely troubled by Brighton’s pace.

DF Neco Williams, 6 — The 19-year-old was quick out of the blocks on his first league start and he made a key contribution in the first half with a crucial block after Gomez had failed to clear with Propper lurking. He was however tested by the pace of Tariq Lamptey on occasion, and earned a yellow card.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 — The skipper was at his pressing best, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a goal from 25 yards, a lashed effort into the top left corner. He limped off in the second half, but it was another solid night.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — The midfielder was as consistent as ever, keeping the ball moving and linking defence to attack. He came close to adding a goal to his impressive performance late on, but couldn’t quite guide his header under the bar.

MF Naby Keita, 8 — Keita was a menace all evening. He managed to press the Brighton defence to win the ball back inside the first five minutes for Salah to score, and the duo combined again shortly afterwards, Keita breaking into the Brighton half at speed.

FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — The attacking midfielder found himself in the wars in the first half and was clattered twice, but he still managed to attack at pace. He got close to heading home an Alexander-Arnold cross but couldn’t quite jump high enough.

FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — The Brazilian linked well with Salah and was provider on numerous occasions. He showed a blistering turn of pace shortly after the break but no one managed to get on the end of his teasing cross. Firmino was a constant threat from the left.

FW Mohamed Salah, 9 — The Egyptian striker got Liverpool off to a flier when he opened up his body to calmly slot home inside five minutes. He came close to a second goal twice before the break but expertly headed home the third late on from Andy Robertson‘s wicked corner, and should have completed his hat trick at the death but he couldn’t keep his header down.

Substitutions

DF Andy Robertson, 7 — The Scot came on at half-time to replace Williams and he added another assist to his rapidly growing collection. His corner was headed home by Salah with 15 minutes left on the clock.

FW Sadio Mane, 8 — Mane looked dangerous after coming on and he linked well with Robertson on the left. He worked hard too, at one point recovering the ball when defending in his own area under pressure. A constant threat when running at the Brighton defence, his introduction definitely put the hosts on the back foot.

MF Fabinho, 6 — The Brazilian was introduced in an effort to add further protection to his back line, but he was often exposed in the centre. The 26-year-old just couldn’t quite get into the pace of the game.

MF James Milner, N/R — The ever-dependable Milner slotted in seamlessly to add some muscle to the midfield while also joining the attack. His introduction was his 536th top-flight appearance, and only four players have made more since 1992.

FW Takumi Minamino, N/R — The forward had the perfect chance to open his Premier League account when he was released by Milner in injury time, but he took a heavy touch and the chance was gone.

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