Liverpool conceded a late equaliser as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton 2-2 Liverpool
Premier League (8), AMEX Stadium
October 8, 2023
Goals: Adingra 20′, Dunk 78′; Salah 40′ pen 45′
Check out five talking points from a frustrating afternoon for Jurgen Klopp‘s side below.
Slow starts must be banished
That Liverpool have taken 10 Premier League points from losing positions already this season is handy proof that the ‘Mentality Monsters’ are back in the building.
However, that impressive statistic would not have been needed were it not for the Reds conceding first in seven of their 11 games this season in all competitions.
Again at Brighton, they were slow starters, preferring to engage in a game of chess with the hosts en route to giving away a sloppy opening goal.
That ultimately came back to hurt the Reds as they only unable to take more than a single point despite Mohamed Salah‘s brace late in the first half.
It is a habit that Klopp will have to stamp out if his team is to deliver on its promise as the season progresses.
Reds receive another questionable call
Given everything that followed Liverpool’s controversial defeat to Tottenham last weekend, it would have been nice if this game had passed without reason to comment on the officials’ performance.
And yet, even in giving the Reds a penalty in the final moments of the first half, the referees seemingly could not help but provide a major talking point.
Pascal Gross was not even booked for attempting to strangle Dominik Szoboszlai with his own shirt to give up the spot kick, despite failing to attempt to play the ball and seemingly denying a goalscoring opportunity – clear criteria for a red card.
This Is Anfield understands that the officials felt that a goalscoring opportunity had not been denied as Szoboszlai was moving away from goal and would have needed to gain possession of the ball.
But that is hardly bulletproof logic, and so you can see why Liverpool fans might wonder when they will start to get the rub of the green in these situations.
Mac Allister is NOT a No.6
It is perhaps overly harsh to criticise a player who is clearly not playing in the role he was expected to occupy upon signing for the club.
But, holding midfielder or not, it is hard not to feel that there has to be so much more to come from Alexis Mac Allister in a Liverpool shirt.
Too often during his start at Anfield it has felt like his complete lack of pace is not being mitigated for, creating the conditions for gaps to open up around him in midfield.
The Argentine is also prone to occasional bouts of hesitance in possession, which hard-pressing Brighton were all too happy to exploit in this game in particular.
Klopp already has much to ponder going into this second international break, but finding a way to get the best out of a class act in Mac Allister should arguably be top of his list.
Elliott struggles – and where’s Endo?
And the fact that the Englishman ended up being hooked after 45 minutes of action suggests that Klopp did not feel his decision ultimately paid off.
For all his undoubted quality, Elliott is not quite at the stage of his career where he has fully learned to mitigate for his lack of physicality in intense away games such as this.
His struggles on the defensive side are underlined by the fact he made zero tackles, zero interceptions, and did not win an aerial challenge before being brought off.
However, he did get the chance to show his awareness and quality with the most sensible of leaves for Salah’s equalising goal.
Of course, bumps in the road like this should be expected for young players, and so Elliott should be allowed to simply write this one off as just one of those days.
Promising start should not be forgotten
But they should not lose sight of the fact that, on the whole, this has been a hugely encouraging start to the new campaign.
Despite having come through an ugly fixture list featuring some extremely tricky away days, the Reds go into the second international neatly ensconced in the top four.
And, had certain decisions gone their way in the last two outings in particular, they could quite easily have been sat top of the pile.
Clearly, Klopp’s men have plenty of room for improvement, but their start to this season has already shown they have put a disastrous 20222/23 campaign firmly behind them.
And, with their upcoming schedule looking far kinder, do not bet against them making full use of the strong foundations they have laid so far.