Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were rare shining lights as Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Liverpool were hot off the gates and were in front just three minutes in, as Jordan Henderson unleashed a first-time shot from Mohamed Salah’s squared pass. Brighton & Hove Albion, though, were in no mood of enduring a repeat of last week’s crushing 4-1 defeat to Manchester City and took the game to their hosts with elan.
However, Liverpool went on to double their advantage midway through the first half as Sadio Mane headed in a fine cross by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to make it 2-0. Shortly after, the Reds thought they had gone three up after successfully pressing Robert Sanchez into a mistake. But upon the intervention of VAR, it was revealed that Mane had handled the ball before it ricocheted into the goal.
That moment sparked Brighton into life, with the visitors pulling a goal back through a moment of genius from Enock Mwepu, who lobbed the ball over Alisson Becker from 25 yards out, as the two teams went into the break with Liverpool leading by the most slender of margins. Liverpool seemed to have started the second half just as they had kicked off the game, as Mohamed Salah found the back of the net.
However, the Reds’ talisman was offside by the barest of margins, with Brighton getting another trigger put the hosts under enormous pressure. Their push for the equaliser deservedly bore fruit, as Leandro Trossard finished off a well-worked team move to bring the game back on level terms. After that, the Seagulls were easily the better of the two sides.
However, the deadlock was not broken for a second time, with the teams forced to share a point. The result comes as a blow to Liverpool in the title race, with Chelsea stretching their advantage at the top of the table to three points following their 3-0 win over Newcastle United. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
An exasperating outing for Alisson, who was helpless in the face of the resolve shown by Brighton. One could argue that he should not have been off his line for the first goal scored by the Seagulls, but it was a brilliant strike by Enock Mwepu, in fairness. He could not have done anything to deny Leandro Trossard. He did make a couple of blinders of saves to keep Liverpool within sight of a win.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6/10
Although that does not reveal much, Alexander-Arnold was the best of the lot at the back for Liverpool. While the English international was not nearly as troubled as the rest of the Liverpool defenders, he still looked suspect in a couple of instances. However, Alexander-Arnold did not carry any threat whatsoever on his forays down the right flank and lost the ball cheaply a fair few times.
Ibrahima Konate: 5/10
Starting alongside van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence once again, Konate was solid for the most part and made several clearances and interceptions to steer the danger away from Alisson. However, Brighton played all around him for the equaliser, and he did not look entirely comfortable in the final quarter of the game. He found himself in a promising position to score a late winner but mistimed his jump.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
Yet another game showed that patience will be the key in handling van Dijk, as he struggled to keep the Liverpool defence organised. On top of that, he was sucked out of position in the build-up to the second Brighton goal, wherein the Dutchman showed some naivety. He has to do better.
Andrew Robertson: 4/10
A disastrous performance by Robertson, who is just not managing to find his best touch this term. The Scot suffered some embarrassing moments in the defensive phases, with Tariq Lamptey, in particular, making a mockery of his pressing abilities. He was barely an outlet in the final third on top of that, and all in all, this was an evening to forget for Robertson.
Naby Keita: 6/10
Having recovered from the heavy knock, Keita was drafted back into the starting lineup straight away. However, after a bright start to the game, the Guinean midfielder was forced off with yet another injury, making it an incredibly frustrating way to end a difficult week for him.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
Liverpool’s final goal against Manchester United:
Liverpool’s first goal against Brighton:
Returning the favour. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/RlfRM8MSbE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 30, 2021
Henderson started the game on the best possible note, producing a brilliant first-time shot for which Robert Sanchez had no answer. However, the Liverpool captain ought to have done so much more to help out the defenders behind him, with Brighton overrunning him with ease at times.
Curtis Jones: 6/10
The only Liverpool player to have started each of the three games in the gruelling week, Jones did not show any signs of fatigue and linked up play nicely. The English under-21 international only misplaced two passes, but his output on the defensive front was rather disappointing, as he got overrun in the middle of the park, along with Henderson.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
Salah’s fine scoring run might have ended on Saturday, but he was still one of Liverpool’s best performers on Saturday. The Egyptian forward played a joint game-high two key passes while setting Henderson up for the opener. However, he hardly got any chances to score, with Brighton looking to crowd him out.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
A game to forget for Firmino, who did have decent enough numbers to show for his efforts but still left little mark on the game. The Brazilian had a couple of shots blocked while playing a key pass. However, he was just not as influential off the ball as he usually is, which played a part in Liverpool’s struggles in the second half.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Mane was the clear standout for Liverpool in this game. While the finish for his goal was superb, Mane’s work ethic earns him this rating, as he put in the hard yards off the ball and was sometimes also a part of the defensive line to help his team out. He might not have inspired a win in the end, but this was still a promising performance.
Only three players have scored 50+ home goals in the Premier League since Sadio Mané made his Anfield debut:
◎ Mohamed Salah (59)
◎ Harry Kane (58)
◉ Sadio Mané (53)
On the scoresheet again this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/JOnRHwyraq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 30, 2021
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6/10
Sent on earlier than anticipated, Oxlade-Chamberlain would have been glad for a rare opportunity in the Premier League. The Englishman started well, providing the assist for Mane’s goal but faded just as soon as Brighton grew into the game.
Diogo Jota: N/A
On for Firmino, Jota was sent on to make a telling difference late on. However, the Portuguese international barely saw the ball in the final 15 minutes, managing a mere six touches.
Takumi Minamino: N/A
A late introduction, Minamino could not do anything to sway the momentum Liverpool’s way.