Brighton 0-1 Liverpool: Mohamed Salah penalty puts Reds seven clear
Report and highlights as Liverpool extend lead over Manchester City and Tottenham
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 13/01/19 7:32am
Mohamed Salah's penalty earned Liverpool a gritty 1-0 win at Brighton that moved them seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Having lost their previous two matches in 2019, the Reds were frustrated in a tight first half at the Amex Stadium.
However, Salah scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 50th minute after he was clumsily fouled by Pascal Gross.
Brighton: Button (6), Montoya (5), Dunk (6), Duffy (6), Bong (5), Stephens (5), Propper (6), March (5), Gross (5), Locadia (6), Murray (5)
Subs: Andone (5), Knockaert (5), Kayal (5)
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Robertson (7), Van Dijk (7), Fabinho (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (7), Shaqiri (6), Mane (6), Salah (7), Firmino (6)
Subs: Milner (6), Keita (5), Origi (5)
Man of the match: Fabinho
Brighton did not manage a shot on target and Liverpool will now wait and see if title-rivals Tottenham and Manchester City can close the gap when they play live on Sky Sports on Sunday and Monday respectively.
Jurgen Klopp had said before the match that Liverpool's situation remained "very positive" even though they had suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
And even though it took them a while to break down Brighton, a third straight defeat never looked on the cards.
The Premier League leaders soon asserted control of the game as Roberto Firmino slid and poked wide from Andy Robertson's low cross in the ninth minute before Xherdan Shaqiri flicked a header wide after a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who played despite suffering a slight injury in the warm-ups.
Fabinho, playing at centre-back, was hardly tested, aside from a header that Glenn Murray nodded over the bar.
It was a similar story in the second half, albeit Brighton were chasing the game after Gross clumsily fouled Salah in the box and the Premier League's joint-top scorer fired the penalty past David Button.
Brighton occasionally threatened on the break but Fabinho blocked a shot from Gross in the box and Alisson tipped away a shot from Jurgen Locadia.
Brighton made one change from their last Premier League game as Bong replaced Bernardo. Fabinho started at centre-back for Liverpool and Shaqiri made the XI ahead of Milner. Mane made his 100th Premier League appearance for the club.
Otherwise Liverpool remained in control until the final whistle, even though Salah spurned a fantastic chance to make it 2-0 when he shot wide from eight yards out in the 88th minute.
- Liverpool have 57 points from 22 Premier League games this season; in English top-flight history, only Preston (58 in 1888-89), Tottenham (59 in 1960-61), Chelsea (61 in 2005-06) and Manchester City (62 in 2017-18) have ever had more at this stage when adjusting to three points for a win.
- Liverpool have conceded just 10 goals in their 22 league matches this season; only Chelsea in 2004-05 (eight goals) have ever conceded fewer after 22 matches in an English top-flight season.
- Brighton manager Chris Hughton has lost more league games to Liverpool in his managerial career (seven defeats from seven meetings) than any other side. His sides have conceded 26 goals across those seven games.
- This was Liverpool's 50th clean sheet in the Premier League under Jurgen Klopp in their 128th match with the German in charge since his first in October 2015; 42% of those have come since Virgil van Dijk's league debut in January 2018 (21 in 37 games since).
- Brighton have now lost as many games at the Amex Stadium in all competitions this season (four of 12) as they did in the entirety of 2017-18 on home soil (four of 22 matches).
- Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has scored the opening goal in nine Premier League games this season, at least three more than any other player.
- Of the last 10 Premier League penalties taken by left-footed players, six have failed to score - the other four have all been scored by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.
Chris Hughton: "There's no intent and referees have a hard job, but sometimes you feel things go your way and sometimes you feel some of the decisions don't go your way. I felt today it was one of those days. No malice or anything towards the referee but I thought the bulk of decisions favoured Liverpool today."
Jurgen Klopp: "I thought it was an unbelievable mature performance from my side, I really like that because it's really a new skill and we have to keep that. It's not opera football but it's still a really nice song."
Man of the match - Fabinho
Asked to play as a makeshift centre-back for the second game in a row due to injuries, Fabinho did not disappoint. He was strong in the air, made a couple of crucial blocks and looked composed in possession.
Brighton travel to Manchester United next Saturday before hosting West Brom in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, January 26. Liverpool are at Anfield for their next two Premier League matches as they host Crystal Palace on Saturday, January 19 and then Leicester on Wednesday, January 30.