Mohamed Salah Penalty Sees Liverpool Past Brighton & Hove Albion in EPL

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2019

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with team mate Jordan Henderason of Liverpool after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Brighton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Liverpool got back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday by beating Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at the Amex Stadium to move seven points clear at the top of the table. 

After an uneventful first period, the Reds edged in front five minutes after the restart. Mohamed Salah was dragged down in the penalty after dreadful defending by Pascal Gross, and the Egyptian stepped up to convert from the spot.

It was Salah's 14th top-flight goal of the season, putting him level with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.

Manchester City are now seven points behind the Reds and are in action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday. Tottenham Hotspur are nine points off top following this result and face Manchester United on Sunday in the standout game of the round.

      

Klopp Needs to Solve Reds' Midfield Puzzle

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Brighton, United Kingdom.  (Photo b
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The majority of the Liverpool team has been functioning fantastically throughout the season. But being hypercritical, the one area where Klopp doesn't seem totally sure on his best formula is in midfield.

With four attackers on the field, it was the turn of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum to line up as a midfield pair. For long spells, it was a balance that didn't work, as both players were too safe in possession and unable to penetrate Brighton.

Football journalist Leanne Prescott was critical of the way the ball was being recycled in this area of the field:

Meanwhile, Fox Sports' Keith Costigan said the speed of passing was in part due to the opposition's setup:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offered a thrust last season before his recent injury layoff, while Naby Keita hasn't yet settled for the Merseyside outfit following his summer move from RB Leipzig

Fabinho has gradually started to impress after a slow start to the season, although he was required to fill in at centre-back on the south coast here amid a defensive injury crisis.

Klopp does have options in the middle third, and in the main, he's rotated well. However, with so much pressure on the Reds in pursuit of the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, it feels important he finds a preferred blueprint in this portion of the pitch.

      

What's next?

Liverpool welcome former manager Roy Hodgson and his Crystal Palace side to Anfield on Saturday. Brighton will travel to Manchester United looking to spring a surprise on the same day.

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