LIVERPOOL 1 – ALBION 0

Brighton & Hove Albion were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Liverpool, despite an impressive display at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah’s strike was enough to give the Jurgen Klopp’s side all three points, but Albion will take plenty of plaudits following a positive and disciplined performance on Merseyside.
Chris Hughton gave Leon Balogun and Yves Bissouma their first Premier League starts, as the duo replaced the injured Lewis Dunk and Pascal Gross in the starting line-up.
The hosts created their first chance inside five minutes when Salah spotted the onrushing Sadio Mane, but the latter fired wide from close range.
Albion made inroads into the Liverpool defence through Anthony Knockaert, as the Frenchman’s low strike was saved by Alisson after being picked out by Glenn Murray.
But Brighton had Mathew Ryan to thank for keeping the score goalless moments later, when the Seagulls shot-stopper made an outstanding stop to keep out Roberto Firmino’s close-range header.
Dale Stephens was penalised for a challenge on Naby Keita on the edge of the area, and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s resulting set-piece clipped the top of Ryan’s crossbar.
Liverpool’s pressure translated into a goal with 23 minutes on the clock, after Bissouma was caught in possession and the ball was played through to Salah – the Egyptian beat Ryan with a composed left-footed strike.
The hosts almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time through Firmino, but the Brazilian’s effort just cleared the crossbar.
Albion broke forward brilliantly after the re-start with some brilliant link-up play involving Murray and Knockaert. The Seagulls frontman did superbly to work his way into the box and find the Frenchman, who fired wide from close range.
Leon Balogun was shown the first yellow card of the game for a late challenge on James Milner, and the Yorkshireman played a short free-kick to Salah, allowing the Egyptian to cross for Joe Gomez, whose header was comfortably saved by Ryan.
Bissouma was a key protagonist in Albion’s attacking play and he was given the chance to level the scores with a free-kick, after Milner’s handball on the edge of the area.
The Malian stepped up to take the set-piece, only to see his strike take a deflection off the wall and go behind.
Albion’s defence had to be alert to keep tabs on Liverpool’s dangerous front three, as Balogun did well to force Firmino out wide, with the Brazilian’s shot comfortably kept out by Ryan.
The Seagulls rallied late on and Bissouma’s delivery caused all sorts of problems in the Reds’ defence, before the ball was hacked clear.

It proved to be the Malian’s final contribution of a tireless display, as he was replaced by Gross, as Hughton went all out in search for a share of the spoils.

It almost proved a masterstroke from Hughton in the 88th minute, when Gross powerfully headed Martin Montoya’s cross towards goal, but Alisson dived to his left-hand side to make a fine save.

The German’s chance proved the final opportunity of the game, and despite a superb effort from the Seagulls, Hughton’s side departed Anfield with pride but no points.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton reflected on his team’s positive display at Anfield, and believes the Seagulls could have taken something from the match with more precision in front of goal.

He said, “Over the 90 minutes, you know you’ve got to have a defence who throw their bodies in front of the ball, and a goalkeeper who’s going to make a few good saves for you.

“But I thought we had chances of our own. They made changes towards the end of the game to get that extra goal – but we finished really strong and we won’t have many opportunities like that.

“At 1-0 down, you expect Liverpool to push on, especially going into their favourite end of the ground, but we got stronger as the game went on and played a system that helped us.

“We were good on the ball and had some really good moments. If we were a little more clinical with our chances, then we would have taken something from the game.”

Salah was played in on goal after Yves Bissouma was dispossessed in the centre of midfield, and although Hughton admitted his disappointment at the nature of the goal, he praised his players for their reaction to going behind.

“We conceded a very poor goal and you have to make sure you stick in the game. At that stage you can crumble a little bit, particularly here with the quality they’ve got, but we stuck in there.

“When you concede a goal like that, the disappointment can spread through the team and that can show, but I don’t think it showed. We raised our game again.

“I knew that the longer we didn’t concede, we’d have opportunities of our own. On the balance of play, particularly as the away team, we maybe deserved to get something.

“To come here and finish strong, like we did in the game today, it’s not normal. Most teams that come here, by the 70th minute, the game is generally over. But we were still in there and had two really good chances, especially Pascal’s chance.”

Albion occupy 12th position in the Premier League after taking three points from their opening three games, and Hughton reflected on his side’s recent form, which has attracted plaudits.

“It’s a very difficult division but we’ve been very good in the last two games. They were of course against Manchester United at home and Liverpool away, so it’s not a bad thing to be good in those games.

“We need to make sure we have the same level of performance in the games we can realistically get points from. If we get that level of performance throughout the season, then we’ll be fine.

“We’ve had two very difficult games and we’ve come out with a lot of credit. We got a result last week and of course didn’t this week, but we gave everything to get a result.”

Photo gallery HERE
ALBION: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Balogun, Bong; Knockaert (Locadia 75), Stephens, Propper, March (Jahanbakhsh 75); Bissouma (Gross 79); Murray.
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Bernardo, Suttner, Kayal.

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