Second impressive away win in four days recorded despite an injury crisis at the back…
Liverpool’s first ever Premier League trip to the American Express Community Stadium ended in an emphatic 5-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
The Reds made light work of their newly-promoted hosts despite the absence of Joël Matip and Joe Gomez, coupled with concerns over Ragnar Klavan following illness, forcing Kop boss Jürgen Klopp to play midfielders Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can as part of an unfamiliar and untested back three.
Despite the reshuffle, two goals in two minutes by Can and Roberto Firmino around the half hour mark, both assisted by a recalled Philippe Coutinho, sent Liverpool into the break with a comfortable lead.
Firmino was on target again shortly after the restart to make it 3-0, before a late Coutinho strike and a Lewis Dunk own-goal added gloss to the scoreline after Glenn Murray had pulled a goal back via a contentious 51st minute penalty.
The outcome could have been closer had Murray not earlier missed a couple of clear chances, one of which was devastatingly punished by the visitors on the counter, but the Merseysiders fully deserved a victory that moves them back into the top four for a first time since August.
“I didn’t see a lot of non-performing players on our side tonight,” analysed Klopp at his post-match press conference. “We had big problems line-up-wise, but it was a little bit close to the end of training that we got the information.
“We couldn’t get it earlier and then from the medical department; ill, ill, injured or not cool – and all of them were centre-halves and that makes life difficult….
“The boys did really well and it was difficult place for us. For this game today, the formation fitted really well because we needed the wingers and we had it with the wing-backs.
“We needed to be patient as well and it’s always good when we have this kind of quality at set-pieces offensively. We’d had already two really good set-pieces and then the third one was fantastic and a nice goal from Emre.
“The second goal, outstandingly good play, winning the ball and then two passes. To make this kind of goal is really exceptional. The third one was good again, a fantastic counter-attack after winning the ball again.
“Then the penalty, which I think we all agree is not a penalty. It made it a little bit more exciting, but then we finished the game with a fantastic, smart free-kick.”
Liverpool, who have now netted 15 goals in their past four away games in all competitions, are next in action on Wednesday when Spartak Moscow visit Anfield in the Champions League.
Klopp’s men are assured of a place in the knockout stages as long as they avoid defeat, while victory will confirm them as Group E winners.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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