Liverpool ensured they will play Champions League football again next season with a 4-0 home win over Brighton on the last day of the season.
Liverpool 4-0 Brighton
Premier League, Anfield
May 13, 2018
Goals: Salah 26′, Lovren 39′, Solanke 52′, Robertson 85′
Liverpool came into the final day of the Premier League season knowing they needed a positive result to secure a top-four finish.
A home game against Brighton proved the defining match of the league campaign after recent results allowed Chelsea back into the race for fourth.
And the players chosen didn’t let anybody down with a performance much sharper and energetic than had been the case of late, sealing a top-four berth with ease in the end.
- Solanke starts, Milner injured
- Reds switch to a 4-2-3-1 with Firmino in the No. 10 role
- Rampant first-half sets up victory
- Reds end season fourth in the Premier League
The Reds were clearly dominant and in control of possession from the off, looking to make a positive start to a match they could not afford to lose.
Clever movement down the flanks provided a flurry of early chances and there were in particular two penalty shouts for handball, both turned down by the referee in the opening 10 minutes.
Solanke also found himself in dangerous areas twice, but a lack of game time perhaps was on show as he lost his footing.
Firstly he chased down a poor back-pass, but failed to make a square pass when Roberto Firmino would have had a tap-in.
Then he attempted a clever chest-down for Mohamed Salah, but couldn’t quite make enough contact with the ball.
Worse was to come when Salah was clearly scythed down in the box just yards from the referee, who again failed to react—but it shouldn’t have mattered as the Reds should have taken the lead moments later.
Solanke freed Sadio Mane into the box, but he opted to shoot straight at Mat Ryan with Firmino again begging for a simple square pass and a tap-in.
But the Reds didn’t have long to wait—and it was a record-breaking goal from Salah.
Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant run opened Brighton’s defence, Solanke slipped a pass in and the No. 11 buried a low finish, his 32nd of the Premier League season—more than any other player in a 38-game campaign.
Salah almost doubled the lead moments later after Mane this time was perhaps overly unselfish and passed, but he was thwarted by Ryan.
The chances kept coming as Liverpool dominated utterly, with Firmino, Mane and Gini Wijnaldum all missing the target from presentable chances before the half was out.
After the break the Reds were straight back at it and there was a big moment less than 10 minutes in, as Solanke nearly broke the net with his first-ever goal for Liverpool.
Salah freed the striker down the inside right channel and the young forward lashed a finish high past the keeper into the near top corner for 3-0.
Understandably, it was somewhat more of a low-key event thereafter, though the Reds were still completely in control throughout.
A notable moment came with around 20 minutes remaining, as Adam Lallana made his latest return from injury.
The versatile performer could yet be a key option off the bench in the Champions League final, so it was vital for him to get minutes under his belt.
And the party was just getting started, as Andy Robertson belted in his first goal for the Reds from just inside the box.
Liverpool saw out the game in comfort to round off the season in impressive fashion—unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League and with 17 clean sheets, the highest tally since 09/10.
TIA Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Referee: Kevin Friend
Next Match: Real Madrid (N) — Champions League final — May 26