Liverpool conceded a stoppage-time penalty to draw 1-1 at Brighton on Saturday lunchtime, as VAR once again made the headlines.
Brighton 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League (10), Amex Stadium
November 28, 2020
Goals: Jota 60′; Gross pen 90′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
The Brazilian was a reliable presence, as ever.
He was quick to race off his line a number of times, bailing out the defence, and he did everything else in solid fashion.
Such a safe pair of hands.
Neco Williams – 5
Williams was in at right-back, with James Milner needed in midfield.
The Welshman, though, was well off the quality required and was subbed at half-time for the second season running at Brighton.
He was let off the hook when Neal Maupay missed the penalty he recklessly conceded, and too often punted the ball aimlessly and long.
Phillips started in place of the absent Joel Matip, and like Williams, this was a major assessment of his credentials.
He looked out of his depth in the opening 45 minutes, showing shaky positional sense and a lack of pace, playing a huge role in Liverpool’s struggles.
Aerially he was fine, though, and he was much improved after the break, which he deserves enormous credit for.
Fabinho – 6
Fabinho carried on in the centre-back role he is expected to play in for much of this season.
He struggled in Liverpool’s high-line, failing to spark a relationship with Phillips, but did make a couple of well-timed tackles.
Would have conceded a penalty for handball, but fortunately the offside flag had been raised.
Andy Robertson – 7
After a mini-rest in midweek, Robertson returned to Liverpool’s starting lineup in place of Kostas Tsimikas.
The Scot was one of his side’s better players, using the ball well and defended solidly while others around him floundered.
Gave away the penalty though – whether or not it was the right call is subjective.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Taking up the No.6 role he has shone in lately, Wijnaldum was neat and tidy, but arguably never stamped his true authority on proceedings.
He didn’t offer the defence enough protection for large chunks, especially given its inexperience, and he lacked any kind of creativity in the final third.
Grew in stature late on, in fairness.
James Milner – 6
The Reds’ vice-captain made his third start in a week and he was another who didn’t find his top-level against the Seagulls.
It should hardly be a surprise that the 34-year-old wasn’t able to produce his best, nor that he succumbed to a muscle injury, pulling his hamstring in the second half
Takumi Minamino – 4
Minamino had a rare chance to impress but he didn’t take it at all, producing a woeful showing.
The match seemed to completely pass the Japanese by, with possession lost too often and seemingly a lack of tactical nous.
We might not see him again for a bit.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Salah took up his usual right-sided role, but he was relatively quiet by his world-class standards.
Liverpool’s No.11 had a goal ruled out that he took superbly, but he was ineffective on the whole and looked fuming to be replaced.
Will play better this season.
Diogo Jota – 7 (Man of the Match)
Jota has been the Reds’ man of the moment recently and that proved to be the case yet again.
He was guilty of being bundled off the ball too many times in the first half, but he then delivered the opening goal.
The Portuguese took his effort brilliantly, dummying the defender and finishing well. What a signing.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Firmino was back to a muted performance barring one moment of sheer brilliance.
He was robbed of a world-class assist after Salah’s goal was disallowed, but such moments were few and far between.
Still a shadow of his former self, which has to change.
Jordan Henderson (on for Williams, 46′) – 7
The skipper made a difference, dictating the play in midfield and bring leadership that was lacking before his arrival.
Sadio Mane (on for Salah, 64′) – 6
Had a header ruled out for offside, but was otherwise quiet.
Curtis Jones (on for Milner, 74′) – 6
Used at right-back, the youngster was reliable enough.
Subs not used: Adrian, R. Williams, Tsimikas, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Klopp rang the changes again, with his decision to leave out Matip arguably a risk – but arguably it would have been more of a risk to play the injury-prone centre-back three times in a week.
Liverpool’s performance was never good at any point, which the boss has to take some of the blame for, and his decision to play Williams at right-back didn’t work – but again he was limited as Milner was required in midfield.
This is a gruelling run of fixtures and it might not be a terrible point come the end of the season.