Liverpool’s title ambitions were further dented as Brighton made it back-to-back defeats at Anfield for Jurgen Klopp's team in a 1-0 victory.
Just as the defending champions looked to have got back to their relentless selves with away wins at Tottenham and West Ham, they were back in ponderous mood as Steven Alzate's scrappy winner was enough for brilliant Brighton.
Graham Potter's side were anything but scrappy in their performance levels, playing confidently and bravely in attack while defending with great cohesion at the back.
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After going 68 games unbeaten at home, Liverpool, who were missing Alisson through illness, have now suffered straight defeats to Burnley and Brighton and have not scored in the last 348 minutes of action at Anfield. They had just one shot on target against the Seagulls in a toothless attacking showing.
The defeat leaves Liverpool seven points off league leaders Manchester City ahead of Sunday's meeting between the two teams, live on Sky Sports.
Liverpool: Kelleher (6), Robertson (6), Alexander-Arnold (5), Henderson (7), Phillips (6), Milner (6), Thiago (6), Wijnaldum (6), Salah (6), Shaqiri (5), Firmino (5)
Subs: Origi (4), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6)
Brighton: Sanchez (8), Burn (8), Webster (8), Dunk (8), White (8), March (7), Bissouma (7), Alzate (8), Gross (8), Trossard (7), Maupay (7)
Subs: Lallana (6), Connolly (6)
Man of the match: Adam Webster
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With leaders Manchester City beating Burnley earlier on Wednesday, Liverpool knew their job: a win was the only option.
We are usually accustomed to Klopp's side playing with such intensity at Anfield but they are a shadow of their relentless best and Brighton were the team with the zip in their pressing.
Clear cut chances were few and far between though as a wild Dan Burn effort from close range after some smart work by Neal Maupay was the best either team had to offer. That was just fine for the visitors, who were controlling Liverpool's attacks with ease as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson were both stifled.
In fact, the first attempt on target in the match came on 56 minutes and it resulted in the winning goal.
Brighton again targeted the impressive Burn up against Alexander-Arnold in the air and the Liverpool defender switched off. His knock back into the danger area found Alzate who looped a shot inside the far post, possibly via a deflection from Leandro Trossard.
All eyes were on Mohamed Salah to inject some life into the Liverpool response and he side-footed wide from an Alexander-Arnold cross and drilled a shot against the upper-arm of Yves Bissouma but there was no claim for a penalty.
However, up the other end Jordan Henderson's last-ditch tackle denied Ben White after Caoimhin Kelleher, making only his second Premier League appearance in the absence of Alisson, saved Pascal Gross' shot.
There was to be no late siege from Liverpool, who missed the thrust of Sadio Mane, whom the manager will hope has recovered from a muscle injury in time for the visit of City on Sunday.
Brighton held on comfortably to move 10 points above the relegation zone while you have to go back to 1983 for the last time Liverpool went three home games without scoring. Their title defence is in tatters.
- Brighton beat Liverpool for the first time in 13 meetings in all competitions, since a 2-0 FA Cup win in 1984. Meanwhile, this was the Seagulls' first away win against Liverpool in the league since March 1982.
- Brighton have won three of their last four Premier League games (D1), as many as they had in their previous 23. This was the first time the Seagulls have won back-to-back league games since November 2019.
- Brighton have conceded just 10 goals in 11 Premier League games with Robert Sánchez in goal this season (5 clean sheets), compared to 19 in 11 with Mat Ryan in goal (2 clean sheets).
- Brighton have kept four consecutive top-flight clean sheets for the very first time.
It's the showdown with City next up for Liverpool, live on Super Sunday at 4.30pm. Meanwhile, Brighton are back in action on Saturday with trip to Burnley.