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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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Afternoon to you all,

Liverpool players and fans will no doubt have a Pep (see, what we did there?) in their step after Guardiola’s boys dropped points yet again against Newcastle United.

It means the Reds are now eight clear of the champions and can extend that lead to 11 with victory over Brighton at Anfield.

Or maybe the returning Aaron Connolly, who is back to lead the line for the visitors, can make things interesting.

Kick-off is 10 minutes away and team news will follow.

Well, isn’t this a sight for sore Irish eyes. Aaron Connolly, who was out of action with a groin injury and missed the Republic of Ireland’s final Euro 2020 qualifier with Denmark earlier this month, is back and has been thrown straight in.

10 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Brighton

No goals at Anfield as of yet. The home crowd waiting for a bit of magic to inspire them and Mo Salah almost provided it with a shot into the side netting from the right.

Fair dues to Brighton, some nice play for the back and looking comfortable. Shame Shane Duffy is watching from the bench, though.

15 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Brighton

Smashing save by Matt Ryan! Roberto Firminho takes apass near the penalty spot and gets a right-footed shot away before he can be closed down. It has plenty of zip to it but the Brighton goalkeeper is down quickly to save.

GOAL LIVERPOOL!

19 mins: Liverpool 1-0 Brighton.

What a header this was. Virgil van Dijk rises at the back post to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s perfectly-delivered free-kick (no surprises there) and he directs his header into the top corner. 

Liverpool rampant now and Mane comes close with a snap shot just moments later. Ryan gets down to save with his feet.

23 mins: Liverpool 1-0 Brighton

All of a sudden Anfield is buzzing. The Kop is in full voice and their team looks dangerous with every break… And just like that, a second goal!

GOAL LIVERPOOL!

24 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

Lethal stuff. Mane wins a corner down the left wing, Alexander-Arnold trots over to deliver and he pings it straight onto the head of, you guessed it, van Dijk. The Dutchman timed his run across the six-yard box perfectly and glanced it in.

It’s going to be a long day for Brighton…

28 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton.

Just a little update on Aaron Connolly. He’s fed off scraps so far, as you would imagine, but on the couple of occasions he has got the ball he’s worked it well. Two runs down the right channel have led to some respite for his side. 

But Brighton need to steady themselves here and try to get a handle on the game. 

33 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

This could be a handy enough day for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp is still patrolling the touchline issuing instructions and has just thrown his arms to the sky in frustration at Alisson for a careless pass out of play. A mistake by the home side looks to be Brighton’s best chance of getting back in this game.

CHANCE FOR BRIGHTON!

37 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

Just like that Liverpool could have been pegged back in slightly odd circumstances. A Brighton corner is cleared only for Dan Burn to regain possession on the left and cross into the box. Yves Bissouma is in an offside position 10 yards out but leaves the ball for centre back Lewis Dunk who scuffs a shot wide. Major let off and Brighton now coming into their own.

Half time: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

A trademark Liverpool counter attack almost leads to a lovely third goal right on the stroke of the interval. Mane breaks down the left and feeds a sharp pass to Roberto Firmino. He quickly lays it off to Salah and the Egyptian sets up the advancing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a first-time shot that is well saved. 

The break actually came just when Brighton were at least looking dangerous. 

And the second half is underway…

Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

No changes for either side at the break and it’s Liverpool playing into the Kop. 

47 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

Quiet start to the half but news of a West Ham goal away to Chelsea means another of Liverpool’s title challengers are in danger of dropping points this weekend. Christmas could be coming early for Jurgen Klopp.

53 mins : Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

Liverpool in control here but haven’t started the second period with the same energy as they finished the first. You can tell Jordan Henderson is not impressed because seconds after knocking Aaron Connolly over and regaining possession, the Liverpool captain lets out a roar to his teammates. 

BIG CHANCE FOR BRIGHTON!

55 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton

Let off for Liverpool. In an almost carbon copy of Virgil van Dijk’s second goal, Lewis Dunk easily beats Dejan Lovren with a glancing header at the near post. Alisson is beaten but his effort is inches wide. The Brighton centre back should have scored twice this afternoon. 

58 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton.

Mo Salah has just sliced a volley from the edge of the box out for a throw-in. That is all.

CHANCE BRIGHTON!

63 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton.

Brighton are threatening and Aaron Connolly is the danger. First, the Ireland international almost gets in behind Virgil van Dijk with a burst of pace down the right flank. The Liverpool centre back gets a toe to the ball to prevent the forwards bearing down on goal.

Seconds later, Connolly shows his class in the box with a deft touch from a cross whipped in from the right. It takes him away from Lovren and van Dijk can’t close him down but his snap shot across the face of goal is well saved by Alisson. 

CHANCES FOR LIVERPOOL!

65 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Brighton.

Now it’s the league leaders’ turn to be wasteful in front of goal. First, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scuff a left-foot shot wide from 12 yards and Sadio Mane does the same seconds later. 

This has turned into a cracking game. Definitely more goals in it.

69 mins: Substitutions for both sides.

Mo Salah is replaced by Adam Lallana as Klopp gives one of his star men a rest. Salah looked liked he needed it.

Montoya and Bissouma go off with Leandro Trossard and Steven Alzate introduced for Brighton.

Approaching the last quarter of this game so let’s see if those changes make a difference.

76 mins: Substitution for Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp makes another change with Divock Origi on for Roberto Firmino. 

ALISSON SENT OFF!

 

GOAL BRIGHTON! 

80 mins: Liverpool 2-1 Brighton.

What a crazy couple of minutes. First, Alisson is shown a straight red card for handling outside the box when Brighton sub Trossard attempted to lob him.

The straight red was the correct decision from Martin Atkinson and then there was even more controversy as Brighton pulled one back through – of all people – Lewis Dunk!

Sub keeper Adrian was introduced for Oxlade-Chamberlain and as he lined up his wall Dunk acted swiftly to fire into an almost-empty net from 25 yards.

Adrian complained but the goal stands to set up a tantalising final 10 minutes! 

83 mins: Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

Slightly comical scenes as Dejan Lovren ties Adrian’s laces while the goalkeeper complains to Martin Atkinson about the goal he has just conceded. The Spaniard will have a run in the team now and it hasn’t got off to a great start.

That also means Caoimhín Kelleher could gain more experience on the bench, although a loan move for the Cork native had seemed likely.

DODGY KEEPER!

89 mins: Liverpool 1-2 Brighton

Almost an absolute howler from Adrian. The poor fella is shook from his horror start. He drops a tame header from Pascal Gross and needs to scramble to collect the ball inches from the line. All Brighton as we enter injury time and they look dangerous.

Four minutes of added time to be played.

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton.

92 mins

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

Liverpool can’t get out of their own half as Brighton probe. 

FULL-TIME

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

FULL-TIME

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton

What a game. Anfield erupts as the final whistle blows. With Manchester City drawing earlier in the day and Chelsea losing at home to West Ham, the league leaders now have an 11-point lead thanks to two first-half goals from Virgil van Dijk.

Leicester can cut that advantage to eight points with a win over Everton tomorrow but that won’t be of much concern to Jurgen Klopp right now.

The Liverpool manager will be relieved more than anything heading into Wednesday’s Merseyside derby with the Toffees.

 

He will be without first-choice Alisson after his red card and the German will have to use all his powers of motivation to pick Adrian’s confidence up off the floor.

That’s it from Anfield and Jurgen Klopp is a happy man. 

Thanks for joining us today and hope to have you here with us again soon.

liverpool-v-brighton-and-hove-albion-premier-league-anfield Source: Anthony Devlin

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