Roberto De Zerbi admits Brighton equaliser came from ‘no foul’ free-kick

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has admitted his side were fortunate to be awarded the free-kick which led to Lewis Dunk’s equaliser vs. Liverpool.

The Reds were leading 2-1 midway through the second half when Solly March attempted to drive through Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate.

March was caught between bodies and went down, with referee Anthony Taylor convinced it was a free-kick and Brighton going on to score through Dunk.

It was a situation which Liverpool should have done better with, as Andy Robertson pulled out of a clearance, but De Zerbi has claimed it wasn’t a free-kick.

However, in his post-match press conference, the Brighton manager insisted the earlier handball incident involving Virgil van Dijk was a penalty for his side.

“I think there was a penalty, but there wasn’t a foul when we scored the second goal,” he told reporters.

“I’m honest. I told Jurgen my opinion.”

De Zerbi and Klopp, who share a mutual respect, were involved in a number of exchanges on the touchline, with the Liverpool manager explaining that he tried to diffuse his counterpart as he risked a red card.

“I love Klopp,” De Zerbi continued.

“He can do what he wants, because I have a big respect and I consider him one of the best coaches in the world.

“I like his behaviour. When he says something, 99 percent [of the time] I agree with him.

“In that situation, I think there was a clear penalty, and I told the referee – I think in a good way – what I thought in the moment.”

There was another flashpoint during Sunday’s game as Dominik Szoboszlai was hauled down by Pascal Gross, who made no attempt for the ball and pulled the Hungarian back by his shirt.

Liverpool were awarded the penalty and Mohamed Salah scored, but IFAB laws indicate that Gross should have been sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Asked whether he felt his side were lucky to end the first half with 11 men, De Zerbi pointed to a number of issues Brighton have faced with VAR themselves.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“If you speak like this, you have to analyse the offside in the second goal of Aston Villa, the third goal of Aston Villa.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi speak after the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“You have to analyse last season in the Palace game, we scored one 100 percent goal; the Leicester game, there was a clear penalty.

“We can speak until tomorrow night and we are not able to find an agreement.

“I think there was a penalty, but for me, it’s finished. I spoke two minutes ago, the Dunk goal, the set-piece wasn’t a foul for me.

“I think I’m one of the most honest when I come to speak with you, with your journalist colleagues.”