Liverpool 4-0 Brighton: Mohamed Salah sets Premier League record as Liverpool secure fourth
By Jack Wilkinson at Anfield
Last Updated: 14/05/18 12:02am
Liverpool secured fourth place in the Premier League with a thrilling 4-0 victory over Brighton at Anfield on the final day of the season.
Mohamed Salah's 32nd goal of the season - a record in a 38-game Premier League season - got the dominant Reds going on 26 minutes before Dejan Lovren doubled their lead five minutes before half-time.
Brighton offered little by way of a response and Dominic Solanke's stunning first goal for Liverpool and a maiden strike from Andy Robertson added further gloss to the impressive performance.
The victory, coupled with Chelsea's defeat at Newcastle, means Liverpool will be playing in Europe's premier competition next season, regardless of the outcome of their Champions League final date with Real Madrid on May 26.
Liverpool: Karius (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Van Dijk (7), Lovren (8), Robertson (8), Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (7), Solanke (7), Salah (9), Mane (8), Firmino (8).
Subs: Lallana (5), Woodburn (5), Ings (5).
Brighton: Ryan (7), Bong (5), Dunk (5), Duffy (4), Schelotto (5), March (6), Stephens (5), Propper (6), Kayal (5), Knockaert (6), Locadia (5).
Subs: Gross (5), Murray (5), Goldson (5).
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah.
In a straight shootout with Chelsea for the final Champions League qualification spot, Liverpool entered their final league game of the season simply needing to avoid defeat to finish in the top four, but a tense and frustrating first half unfolded.
After Solanke failed to punish Shane Duffy after he under hit a back pass, Liverpool were denied two penalties as the Brighton centre-back's handball and challenge on Salah in the area went unpunished by referee Kevin Friend.
Sadio Mane failed to convert Liverpool's first clear opening on 19 minutes before Virgil van Dijk glanced a header wide shortly after.
But 26 minutes of frustration finally came to an end when Solanke poked the ball through to Salah and he fired his record-breaking goal beyond Mat Ryan.
After Roberto Firmino fired over, Salah should have had a second on the half hour but Ryan thwarted him after Mane's selfless square pass and Duffy blocked his follow-up off the line.
Dominic Solanke replaced the injured James Milner in the Liverpool line-up while Sadio Mane allayed pre-match fitness concerns to start. Chris Hughton made three changes for Brighton as Jurgen Locadia, Solly March and Beram Kayal were recalled.
Ryan prevented Georginio Wijnaldum from added a second but his defences were soon breached again as Lovren rose high to head Robertson's cross home.
Solanke clincally finished a scintillating counter involving Salah and Firmino to finally break his Liverpool duck on 53 minutes before Robertson made it two first-time scorers for the afternoon as he rifled a shot home after Lewis Dunk failed to clear Danny Ings' cross.
Trent Alexander-Arnold strengthened his claims to be included in Southgate’s 23-man squad with a flawless performance at right-back which would have yielded a number of assists on another day. Jordan Henderson was solid in midfield while Adam Lallana got more precious minutes under his belt as he continues his comeback from injury.
- Liverpool have finished in the top four in consecutive Premier League seasons for the first time since a run of four between 2005/06 and 2008/09.
- The Reds have remained unbeaten at home in a top-flight season for the seventh time in their history, more than any other side has managed.
- This was the fourth time Liverpool won both Premier League games against an opponent by a 4+ goal margin, and first since doing so against Spurs in 2013/14.
- Liverpool have had 16 different Premier League goalscorers this season - only in 2015/16 have they ever had more in a single campaign (17).
- Mohamed Salah now holds the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign, with 32 this season.
- Salah has also scored against 17 different opponents in the Premier League this season - no player has ever scored against more in a single campaign.
- Dominic Solanke scored his first ever goal for Liverpool in all competitions, in what was his 27th game for the club.
Man of the Match - Mohamed Salah
The Egypt international paved the way for Liverpool to secure their place in the top four. Salah's 32nd league goal - his 44th in all competitions - settled whatever nerves may have been lingering around Anfield and took him past the milestone for a 38-match season shared by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.
Liverpool travel to Kiev on May 26 in search of a sixth European crown when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final.