Diogo Jota was on target again but Neco Williams and Takumi Minamino disappointed as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion.
Coming on the back of a defeat to Atalanta in the Champions League, Liverpool looked rusty in the first half, whereas Brighton looked the more likely to score. In fact, the hosts had two huge chances in the first period, but Aaron Connolly failed to hit the target after being put through while Neal Maupay missed from the spot after Neco Williams had fouled Connolly.
This seemed to spring Liverpool in action as Mohamed Salah found the back of the net after the half-hour mark. However, the goal was disallowed by VAR, with the Egyptian being adjudged to have strayed offside. Danny Welbeck tested Alisson in the Reds’ goal early in the second period, but it was the reigning champions who took the lead at the hour mark through a fine Diogo Jota strike.
There was plenty more VAR involvement late in the game as Liverpool saw Sadio Mane’s effort being chalked off for offside before Andrew Robertson was harshly adjudged to have fouled Welbeck in the box, handing Brighton a penalty in stoppage time. And, Pascal Gross made no mistake from the spot, salvaging a point for his side.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will feel hard done by the VAR call for the penalty, but they were far from their best on the afternoon. However, the draw was enough to see Liverpool move to the top of the Premier League standings. And here’s how we rated the performances of the Reds’ stars at the Amex Stadium.
Alisson Becker: 6.5/10
Making his 100th appearance for Liverpool, Alisson showed great alertness to charge out of his line and sweep any dangerous long balls from the hosts. Did not have much to do in terms of saves apart from a straightforward stop to deny Welbeck in the second half. Sent the wrong way for the equalising penalty.
Neco Williams: 4/10
Given the nod at right-back in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Williams had a difficult outing. Wasn’t solid enough defensively and failed to offer much in attack either, often playing wayward long passes. Conceded a reckless penalty but was lucky as Maupay missed. Understandably hooked off at the half-time break.
Nathaniel Phillips: 7/10
Nat Phillips vs Brighton:
• 80% passing
• 44/55 passes
• 8/11 aerial duels (most in game)
• 4/4 tackles (most for LFC)
• 3 clearances (=most for LFC)
• 2 interceptions (=most for LFC)
• Not dribbled past pic.twitter.com/lgCkWQfZ2E
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) November 28, 2020
The 23-year-old had a shaky start to the first period, with Connolly often getting the better of him, while his passing was astray at times as well. However, he improved over the game, while being a dominating presence in the air throughout, winning eight aerial duels in total. Made two interceptions and four tackles, with the one to deny Welbeck a chance being a standout.
Back in the lineup alongside Phillips, the Brazilian had a few hairy moments early on, most notably playing Connolly onside for the big chance in the first half. Grew more solid as the game wore on, while offering a composed presence while on the ball, as he misplaced just seven of his 61 attempted passes. Lucky not to concede a penalty for handball as the offside flag had gone up prior to that.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
Reinstated to the starting XI after being given a rest in midweek, Robertson tried to get forward and make things happen but wasn’t able to have the desired impact for most of the game. Had it difficult dealing with Joel Veltman early on, but managed to keep him quiet as the game wore on, making two interceptions and three clearances.
Played a key role in Jota’s goal but cost his team the win as he gave away the penalty as he appeared to kick Welbeck while attempting to clear the ball, although it was a rather harsh call.
? VAR drama. Ref checks screen, gives 92nd minute penalty kick. Brighton equalize v Liverpool.
Robertson kicked bottom of Welbeck’s foot, who went down a few seconds later. There was contact. Foul anywhere else on the pitch? Probably. Very harsh. #LFC & Klopp fuming #BHALIV 1-1 pic.twitter.com/sVmqesgkfo
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) November 28, 2020
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6.5/10
Starting in the No. 6 role once again, the Dutchman, who continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona, was solid if not spectacular. Covered lots of ground, did the dirty work and kept things neat and tidy when on the ball. Looked much better when playing with Jordan Henderson in the second half.
James Milner: 6/10
Started in the middle of the park and worked hard off the ball, while looking to push forward when on it. Moved to right-back after the half-time break and continued to perform steadily until hobbling off the pitch with what looked like a hamstring injury.
Takumi Minamino: 4/10
Handed a rare starting berth, the Japanese international failed to make the most of his opportunity on the day, with Brighton bypassing him with ease quite regularly. Lost the ball on three occasions and was dribbled past four times, while failing to create any sort of goal-scoring opportunities. Dull and unimpactful.
Mohamed Salah: 6.5/10
Lively in the attack in the first half and found the back of the net after being sent through by Firmino only to see the goal get scratched off by VAR for offside. A fine touch into Jota in the lead-up to the Reds’ only goal of the game. Apart from that failed to make the desired impact. Was left furious when subbed off soon after the goal.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
A dull performance from the Brazilian barring one moment of brilliance when he played Salah in on goal with a peach of a pass, although the strike was chalked off for offside. A peripheral figure for the rest of the game. Needs to pull up his socks and perform after what has been a slow start to the season.
Diogo Jota: 7/10
Only Mohamed Salah (10) has scored more goals for Liverpool this season than Diogo Jota (9).
A key player already. ? pic.twitter.com/4R15LkfMlO
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 28, 2020
Once again the liveliest Liverpool player on the field, the Portuguese continued to shine as he caused all sorts of problems to the hosts’ defence with his pace and movement. Opened the scoring with another fine goal – his ninth of the season already. Jota is proving to be a fine addition for the Reds.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Made his return from injury, replacing Williams at half-time and slotting into the midfield. Offered the leadership and authority that had been lacking in the first period. Provided the control and dictated the tempo, showing how vital he is to this team.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
On for Salah in the 64th minute. A quiet outing apart from the moment when he sent a headed effort into the back of the net only to see the goal chalked off for offside.
Curtis Jones: 6/10
Replaced the injured Milner for the final fifteen minutes or so. Slotting in an unusual right-back role, the youngster did what was asked of him without really standing out.