Brighton rocks as Naby Keita produces some of his best yet in a Liverpool shirt

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Liverpool became the fastest side to record 30 league wins in the history of English football on Wednesday night, and did so against a Brighton side who deserve credit.

Swings and roundabouts, it is then. The worrying concern of an injury to Jordan Henderson, offset by a promising performance by Naby Keita.

More promise that, in Neco Williams, we have a player that can cover for both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.

Three points gained and more records broken. This time, a record that was set only two years ago, by our prime contemporary rival; this time, a record that was expected to last for a considerable amount of time.

As I said the other day, breaking records is a nice side-effect to success, without being all that important when it comes to the bigger picture of collecting trophies of substance.

Even Jurgen Klopp has made similar noises in how chasing the points record isn’t all that important to him. I’m sure he’d like it if it were to happen, but if it doesn’t, so what?

We set out to be Premier League champions and here we are, Premier League champions. I even like the concept which Klopp floated that we won’t be setting our stall out next season to defend our title, but to win a new one instead.

All. The. Right. Noises.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

I like this newly acquired record from Wednesday evening, though, as it will rankle with Pep Guardiola and his players. It is the type of occurrence that will make that itch we plant under their skin more incessant.

It isn’t the record that is so important, more the dig in the ribs it provides.

Once it became evident that Alisson was in all-black, this game was over as a genuine contest. He should always wear all-black.

A 3-1 victory in which a bold Brighton side couldn’t have been more generous in the buildup to what were two excellent early goals.

After the initial generosity, it took fine work from Keita, plus a truly unique show of restraint from Roberto Firmino, to lay on the opening goal for Mohamed Salah.

Very swiftly, the hosts were punished again, for having the temerity of trying to play the ball out of defence. Henderson’s strike was beautiful.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah kneels to pray as he celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

In a season of magical moments, Firmino’s restraint and Henderson’s finish at Brighton will sit comfortably alongside a myriad of other moments that will flash across the mind, on the cold winter nights of January, to warm the soul.

I’m glad it seems that Brighton will be staying up.

At nine points clear of the relegation zone, with only four to play, it should now be a matter of when they secure Premier League football for next season, rather than if.

Without intending to be condescending, Brighton showed a huge amount of composure in not allowing those two early blows to alter the way they approached the game.

It would have been far easier for them to curl up into a ball, in the hope that Liverpool wouldn’t pick on them any more than they already had. Many other teams have found themselves in such a position and opted to defend what they had at 2-0 down.

Being expansive is a gamble for a team like Brighton. Sometimes it can pay off, but at other times there is a costly price to be paid.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (L) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Norwich took an idealist’s approach to their campaign, after sweeping all before them in the Championship last season, only to bomb resoundingly in the top division.

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in great risk of following the Canaries out of the Premier League, having preached an aesthetically pleasing ethos for much of their five-year residency in the top flight.

Meanwhile, West Ham labour along with David Moyes, in with a very real chance of survival, despite themselves. At Vicarage Road, Nigel Pearson’s pragmatism currently has Watford heads above water.

In such circumstances, Brighton’s take on matters is nothing but admirable. They have claimed the mid-range Premier League mantle that once took Swansea City to League Cup success and one of their managers to the Liverpool job.

I wish them well and hope that they kick on for a higher placing in 2020/21.

After the opening exchanges and gifts were presented, by the time Brighton pulled their goal back it felt like it had been coming for some time.

Brighton began the second half in a similar frame of mind. It gave Liverpool food for thought, they adapted and wrestled back the initiative, from opponents that posed a puzzle for Klopp and his players to solve.

Henderson’s injury aside, it was a very satisfying night down in Sussex.

Williams will benefit from a start, despite being opted out at half-time. Virgil van Dijk offered his marvellous brand of calm authority. At one point, he diffused a long looping ball by heading it to himself.

Van Dijk essentially deals in the defensive version of Cruyff turns. It is an emotional experience to watch him in action.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Keita’s performance was arguably his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. Now, if only he can string together a run of injury-free seasons, then big, big things would be ahead for him.

It is all about turning that promise into a lasting presence.

Firmino was majestically whimsical and Salah is hungry for a splurge of goals to end the season—as he likes a Golden Boot, does our Mo. Sadio Mane just wanted to play.

Mane will get that on Saturday, at home to Burnley. Another game closer to the end of the most remarkable of seasons; another game closer to being handed the Premier League trophy.

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