Liverpool made it three wins in three games, as they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at Anfield, courtesy of a first-half goal from Mohamed Salah at Anfield.
The home team started out strongly with Roberto Firmino coming close with a headed effort before full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold rattled the crossbar from a free-kick. Halfway through the first period, Salah broke the deadlock with a clinical strike after being set up by Firmino.
Brighton defended with doggedness and determination, not allowing the Reds many clear chances at goal. They did come close to leveling things up on a couple of occasions in the second period, with Anthony Knockaert firing wide from a promising position while Pascal Gross had a shot saved by Alisson in the dying minutes of the game.
Liverpool held on to maintain their perfect start to the campaign. The win catapulted them to the top of the league table, with Manchester City being held to a draw by Wolves earlier on Saturday.
Here’s how Jurgen Klopp’s men fared on the day against the Seagulls;
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Was aggressive in his approach, as shown by the challenge on Solly March just outside the box in the first period. Showed good command in his box, coming out to collect crosses and high balls. Displayed his confidence and skills with the ball as he cheekily chipped the ball over Knockaert who was bearing down on him, drawing loud cheers from the Kop.
His most important contribution came in the 89th minute when he produced a brilliant stop to keep Gross’ header out and protect his side’s narrow lead. Another clean sheet for the summer signing.
🚫 goals conceded.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 25, 2018
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5/10
Once again preferred over Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, the England international started off impressively as his free-kick thumped off the crossbar in the 15th minute. Continued to provide a great outlet going forward on the right-side, but the end product was found wanting on occasions, as has been the case in the previous games as well.
Got caught out defensively by Jurgen Locadia in the second period, leading to a foul and a booking. Otherwise, fairly solid at the back as well.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
The 21-year old continued his strong start to the new season, showing signs of a formidable partnership alongside Virgil van Dijk. Dealt fairly well with the physical threat offered by veteran forward Glenn Murray, despite being troubled at times. Another assured display, that is likely to lead to a call-up in Gareth Southgate’s England squad when he announces it next week.
Virgil van Dijk: 6.5/10
Started off by misplacing a simple pass, but settled in nicely soon. Was not asked a lot of questions by the Brighton attack for large parts of the game. Played some sharp and accurate cross-field passes all through the game, was commanding in the air against aerial balls. Almost sold Alisson short with a pass in the second period, but the Brazilian was unflustered.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Another enterprising display filled with great energy and relentless running down the left-flank from the Scottish international. His teasing cross for Firmino almost led to a goal, but the Brazilian’s effort was denied. Operated as an auxiliary winger on occasions and was a constant outlet for the home side. Not really tested defensively by the visitors.
James Milner: 8/10
The veteran midfielder continued his fine start to the new season, putting in another accomplished display in the middle of the park. Regained possession with a strong tackle on Yves Bissouma to start the move for the goal and was extremely influential going forward for the Reds with his passing and crossing.
Was on the receiving end of some poor challenges by the opposition players but soldiered on bravely.
Gini Wijnaldum: 7/10
Stuck with in the No.6 role once again by Klopp, after having impressed in the last two games, the Netherlands international continued his good form with another solid showing in the middle. Kept things ticking with his industry and intelligent passing, was strong and alert defensively when needed. Forced Mat Ryan into a save with a powerful strike.
Naby Keita: 6.5/10
Liverpool’s No.8 has been brilliant since arriving this summer and while he did little wrong on Saturday, he didn’t exactly impose himself as he did in the last two games for the Reds. Won a free-kick in a dangerous position after a driving run.
Strong in tackles, not shy of doing the dirty work in the midfield, his ability to run with the ball at speed was hard for Brighton to deal with. Seemed to fade as the game progressed and as a result was taken off for Henderson a little after the hour-mark.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
Looked brighter than he did against Crystal Palace last weekend, with his movement much sharper and purposeful. Was often well marshaled by the Seagulls, but made no mistake when presented with the chance, curling home brilliantly past Ryan in the first period. It was his second goal of the season and his 29th strike at Anfield in 29 appearances. Skied an effort late in the game.
Roberto Firmino: 6.5/10
Another player who put in an improved display compared to last week against the Eagles. Was off to a bright start, drawing a save from Ryan before setting Salah up for the only goal of the game. Continued to work hard at the top, was lively and penetrative, but is yet to open his goalscoring account for the season.
Sadio Mane: 5.5/10
A rare subdued display from the Senegalese speedster. Spurned a decent opportunity early in the game and failed to have a go at the Brighton defence with his pace. Was guilty of iffy decision-making and poor passing in the final third on a number of occasions.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
The club captain came on for Keita in the 66th minute and kept the team ticking over with crisp passing and showed good energy.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A
Came on to replace Mane with a touch over ten minutes left on the clock. Positive presence on the field.
Joel Matip: N/A
Replaced Alexander-Arnold in the dying stages of the game to make his first appearance since March.