Liverpool made hard work of it but eventually battled to a crucial 2-1 win over Brighton at Anfield to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.
Liverpool 2-1 Brighton
Premier League, Anfield
November 30, 2019
Goals: Van Dijk 18′, 24’; Dunk 79’
Alisson – 5 (out of 10)
Not a good day at the office for Liverpool’s No.1.
Rightly sent off for handball, but it came from his poor, unnecessary decision to rush out even though Brighton’s Leandro Trossard was under pressure from Virgil van Dijk and still had work to do.
Summed up a rare bad afternoon for the Brazilian, who was lucky not to concede when caught in no-mans-land on a corner and struggled with his distribution at times.
Showed why he was so sorely missed against Napoli with a typically influential performance which included two superb assists.
Two pin-point deliveries were beautifully headed home by Virgil van Dijk, and Trent’s overall quality on the ball made a big difference to Liverpool’s much-slicker attacking play.
Solid defensively – especially in a couple of testing 1v1 moments late on – but his work as the play-making, the marauding right-back was the crucial contribution to the win.
Dejan Lovren – 6
The Croatian has been in good form since stepping in for the injured Joel Matip, but this was one of his less impressive recent outings.
Had a couple of nervy moments early on against the busy Aaron Connolly, but simplified his game after the slow start, becoming more physical, and settled well thereafter.
Virgil van Dijk – 8 – Man of the Match
An excellent, leading performance from the No.4 who won the game for Liverpool with two imperious headers.
Impeccable in his defending throughout, with some fine positional play ensuring a couple of vital clearances were made, while he was also completely dominant in both boxes.
Kept a calm head in among the late chaos which was crucial to getting the Reds over the line.
Andy Robertson – 7
A solid performance from the left-back, who clearly enjoyed being able to link-up with Trent for those sweeping switches of play.
A constant outlet and provided good energy and quality down the left, with some dangerous balls delivered into the box.
Battled and scrapped in the nervy end to the game, showing he’s well and truly up for the fight.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Somewhat surprisingly chosen as the man to sit in the No.6 role in Fabinho’s absence and had a mixed afternoon on his return to the position.
Played some nice forward passes from deep to spring attacks in the first half and worked hard in his holding role.
Wasn’t able to grab control of the game though after the break, and at times was too easily bypassed while not offering full protection to his centre-backs.
That wasn’t all Henderson’s fault as the midfield was too open in general.
Retained as one of the box-to-box duo, as opposed to dropping into Fabinho’s role, but endured a slightly disappointing afternoon.
Didn’t have any real influence on the game, and needed to offer a lot more both on and off the ball as Liverpool lacked control for large parts.
Showed how he is much more comfortable in midfield compared to out wide with a busy, energetic performance as part of the three-man centre.
Lots of bursting runs from midfield to join the attack and was a genuine goal-threat from midfield, and after having to great chances, will perhaps be disappointed not to have scored.
Was the brightest of the midfield trio and adds a different dimension with his athleticism and directness. Should now be handed a run to prove it.
Sadio Mane – 7
Liverpool’s best attacking player so far this season and was the biggest threat of the front three again here.
Always a threat down the left, with his movement and persistence always making things happen.
Should have scored in the second half, but badly scuffed his effort from Andy Robertson’s cut-back.
Mohamed Salah – 6
The Egyptian isn’t enjoying his best run of form in a red shirt – perhaps due to his lingering ankle issue – and that continued at Anfield.
Started menacingly, with his runs a threat down the right early on, but lacked quality with his play in the final third and carried surprisingly little goal threat.
Faded out of the game which led to his early withdrawal for Adam Lallana.
Roberto Firmino – 5
It’s just not happening at the moment for Liverpool’s No.9.
Scored a crucial winner at Crystal Palace last week, but didn’t push on here, turning in an ineffective performance lacking his usual vibrancy and quality.
Looks a bit flat-footed and heavy-legged which is concerning as Liverpool really need a player of his importance on form.
Adam Lallana (on for Salah, 69′) – 6
Struggled to get up to the speed of the game but worked hard and helped grind through the nervy final 15 minutes.
Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 75′) – 6
Had a thankless task playing as the lone frontman in the last 15 minutes when a man down, giving him little chance to get in the game.
Adrian (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 79′) – 6
First action was to pick the ball out of the net, as Lewis Dunk’s quick free-kick caught him out as he lined up the wall.
Made a crucial save from Mooy to keep the Reds 2-1 in front, but got away with one as he almost spilt Christian Gross’ header into his own net – giving Anfield a collective heart attack.
Helped the Reds get over the line which was the main thing.
Subs not used: Gomez, Milner, Keita, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Man City’s draw at Newcastle meant this became a huge game all about winning for Liverpool, regardless of how it arrived.
Klopp’s winning mentality ensured his side got over the line for a crucial victory to open what looks like an insurmountable 11-point lead between the two teams.
The performance was secondary, but the boss won’t have been completely satisfied, with the Reds disjointed in midfield and lacking their usual attacking prowess.
Opted for Jordan Henderson to deputise for Fabinho in the No.6 role, which was a surprise, and the unconvincing midfield display means the boss could be forced into a re-think. Might also be concerned with key attacking players being off colour too.
However, the three points were everything and Liverpool got them.