Football News

Liverpool cement their position as Premier League’s comeback kings after Brighton win

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:00, 31 March 2024

Liverpool required the full extent of their recovery powers to run out 2-1 winners against Brighton on Sunday afternoon.

Jürgen Klopp’s men found themselves behind for the 13th time in 29 outings this season only to mount and complete another sensational comeback.

Danny Welbeck marked his 100th Premier League appearance for Brighton by scoring the opening goal 87 seconds into the match. This was the earliest a visiting team had taken a 1-0 lead at Anfield in England’s top division since Tottenham did so in October 2019 (courtesy of Harry Kane after 47 seconds).

Welbeck has scored twice in his last three league meetings against Liverpool, having previously scored once across 17 previous outings. Furthermore, the Seagulls are only the second side to open the scoring in four consecutive league games against Klopp’s team, with Arsenal being the other club to achieve this feat (currently on a run of four).

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A bemused Klopp only knew an equaliser was forthcoming, given Liverpool’s immediate reaction to grab hold of the game and press forward. That reward came in the 27th minute through Luis Díaz, who netted his 15th league goal for the Reds, with all but three coming at home. The Colombian forward has scored in four of his last five home matches in the competition.

However, the visitors were not going gently into that good night and had several opportunities to score either side of Liverpool’s equaliser. Simon Adingra was a constant thorn in Conor Bradley’s side. The recent African Cup of Nations winner, dovetailing with Welbeck, proved a constant threat, with 62% of Brighton’s attacks in the opening 45 minutes coming down their left flank. Adingra even recorded the most dribbles of any player in the first half (four).

Roberto De Zerbi came to rue those missed chances. Having only led at half-time in just one of their last nine Premier League home games (level in six and behind in two), Liverpool went ahead four minutes past the hour through the inevitable Mohamed Salah, whose seven efforts in the first half was the joint-most by a player in a single half of an English top-flight match this season, alongside Darwin Núñez’s seven in the first half against Chelsea in January.

It had to be him. Salah has been directly involved in 15 Premier League goals against Brighton (nine goals and six assists), his most against a single opponent. Alexis Mac Allister feeding the Egyptian forward was even more annoying for the away support. In doing so, he registered his fifth Premier League assist for Liverpool (24 appearances) —as many as he had in his Brighton career in the competition (98 appearances).

Salah, who registered a career-best 11 shots in a single Premier League match, was denied becoming a provider as Díaz ended up being offside. On returning to a former stomping ground, Adam Lallana saw an 85th-minute strike go agonisingly wide.

The full-time whistle couldn’t have come sooner for Klopp’s title hopefuls. This latest win cemented their status as the Premier League’s comeback kings. On no fewer than 14 occasions had they found themselves behind, only to win half of those while accumulating a league-high 26 points won from losing positions.

In what’s shaping up to be an intense run-in, with fellow title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal facing each other after this game had wrapped up, every single point matters, and the ones fought hard to attain this afternoon may go a long way to determining who finishes as champions.