With a brutal stretch of December fixtures coming up, the expectation was that Jurgen Klopp may start rotating his squad more to keep key legs fresh. Not so much today! The injury to Fabinho forces Klopp to drop Jordan Henderson into the DMC spot, both otherwise only Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finds himself new into the preferred XI. Ox starts on the right behind Mo Salah.
With Manchester City drawing Newcastle 2-2, a Liverpool win points them 11 clear of the FOURMIDABLES. Let’s not screw around here, lads.
Liverpool pour it on early. They get 2 goals off two set pieces from Trent Alexander-Arnold to Virgil van Dijk (both times!). Brighton keeper Mat Ryan is the only reason it’s not 5-o by the half hour mark.
Liverpool frustratingly let their foot off the gas again. Brighton does well to control possession. Then, controversy ensued.
Alisson earned a red card, coming out of the 18 year box to thwart a shot by using his hands. He’s given a red card. When Adrian comes on, Brighton are setting up for a free kick. While Adrian is organizing the wall, referee / Liverpool tormenter Martin Atkinson blows his whistle, allowing Lewis Dunk an easy shot attempt and goal.
Liverpool cling on though for the 2-1 win. They’re up 11 now on Manchester City and it’s still November.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (5) – Only rotates in Ox, possibly tipping his hand to where the club’s priorities are (i.e. win the Premier League at all costs). Needs to get the lads to not take their foot off the gas. A third goal when they had the momentum would’ve put the game to bed.
After the Alisson red card, re-organizes the team in a 4-4-1 with Origi up top.
Alisson (4.5) – Not really challenged until the 36th minute, does well on first true test. In the second half…let’s dissect this. His options were to give up the clean sheet by not throwing his hands up or to allow the goal. He went with throwing his big paws up, earning a red. Now, he clearly didn’t know Martin Atkinson would immediately try to screw Liverpool again moments later on the free-kick. Still, the red card ultimately put Liverpool in danger of dropping points. It was the wrong call.
Trent Alexander-Arndold (9) – He’s so good. Another assist via set piece to VVD to open scoring. Perfectly placed ball. Then does it again on another set piece off a corner to VVD. Two set piece assists in 25 minutes. Good defending down the stretch when the squad needed it.
Virgil van Dijk (9.5) – Couple of good recoveries early, particularly snuffing out a Brighton chances in the 4th. Vocal. Less casual than lately. Uses his massive noggin to head in the opener with precision. Then in the 25th minute does it AGAIN from TAA, this time off a corner. Hat-trick in the works for the big man?
VVD is a colossus defensively in the second half, making interceptions and clearances left and right. Best match of the season for VVD.
Dejan Lovren (6) – Seems to be getting more and more comfortable back on the team sheet. All in all ok. Didn’t stand out, didn’t make glaring errors.
Andy Robertson (7) – After one of the worst showings I can remember from him vs Napoli, much better today. Recovering defensively and ambitious going forward. Almost looks goal-hungry. Great through ball to Mane in the 15th that almost led to a Firmino opener. Remained active with lots of possession throughout.
Jordan Henderson (6) – Gets the nod at the #6 over Adam Lallana. Not a natural fit for him or Gini but if there’s a match to get your sea legs in the role, it’s this one. Did what he needed to do. Was in right places. Couple of good interceptions and passes.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (7) – Is getting shots off but not making much happen otherwise. Pushes the action in the second half, unfortunate to not get a goal. Subbed off during the red card incident with Alisson. Another strong showing.
Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – Looking like a “Good Gini” day. Intercepting and active. Strong showing overall.
Roberto Firmino (6) – So close to opening scoring in the 15th with a well executed shot on target (strong-handed save by the keeper). Good link up play with Salah in first half. Denied another opportunity by Mat Ryan in first half. Deserved a goal but goes 11 straight at Anfield without one. Subbed off in the 75th for Origi.
Sadio Mane (7) – Touch is on today. Making smart runs too. Brightest of the front three today. Very active with six completed dribbles.
Mohamed Salah (5) – Playing with more confidence today. Would be good to see him get a goal and build confidence, the effort is there. So same old same old this match. Good effort, not much end product. Subbed off in the 69th for Adam Lallana.
Adam Lallana (NR) – Good to see him getting minutes given he may be playing more with Fabinho out. Does well tracking back at end and heading ball to Adrian to ice the match.
Divock Origi (NR) – Couple of good runs but doesn’t do much.
Adrian (6) – Hard to fault him for the goal. He was clearly still organizing the wall when Martin Atkinson (eff that guy already) blew his whistle to allow Lewis Dunk to take the free kick. Adrian had just come on. He should’ve been afforded all the time he needed to get organized. Comes up with a huge save in the 87th. Seals the game for the Reds.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Virgil van Dijk for sure. Two goals and awesome defending.