Firmino double helps Liverpool down Brighton
Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Roberto Firmino scored twice as Liverpool continued their recent fine run with a 5-1 win away to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho were also on target for the visitors at the Amex Stadium before a late own-goal from Lewis Dunk took Liverpool's tally to 25 goals from their last eight games.
Glenn Murray's penalty gave Brighton hope at 3-1, but the outcome of this game was never truly in doubt.
Liverpool are beginning to develop impressive momentum and they have now collected 16 points from their last six league games. Jurgen Klopp's men no longer look as vulnerable as they did earlier in the season and the manager will believe his side are on the rise.
For Brighton this was a painful defeat ?- their first at home since the opening day ?- and manager Chris Hughton will be anxious for his players to put this loss behind them after an otherwise impressive start to the season.
Can had been asked to fill an unfamiliar centre-back role as Liverpool manager Klopp was forced to make changes to the defence that kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 league win at Stoke midweek.
Joel Matip was injured, Joe Gomez ill and Ragnar Klavan not fit enough to start, leaving the manager short of recognised centre-back options.
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Liverpool?s attack has proved too strong for a number of Premier League opponents this season and Brighton became the latest team to find the pace and movement of Mohamed Salah, Coutinho and Firmino too much to handle.
But the Reds' biggest early threat came, somewhat surprisingly, in the air.
Firmino should have done better with a free header from an early corner and was denied only by a late challenge from Shane Duffy when he appeared set to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold?s right-wing cross.
It was not that surprising, then, that the opening goal came from a header with Can rising above the Albion defence to meet Coutinho's right-wing corner from six yards out in the 30th minute.
Brighton?s impressive start to the season has owed much to their defensive organisation so it was surprising to see the south coast club side undone by a set-piece.
There was little they could do to prevent Liverpool doubling their lead two minutes later, however.
Salah led the move, breaking from halfway through the centre of the pitch before playing the ball wide to Coutinho on the left as the Brighton defence battled to get back into position.
And the Brazilian exposed Albion's stretched backline with a low cross that was met at the far post by Firmino who finished with a first-time shot.
Brighton had offered little, with Murray spurning their only real opportunity of the opening period in the 16th minute, and it was clear Hughton's side would have to improve significantly if they were to force their way back into the game.
They appeared to have done just that two minutes into the second half when Izzy Brown again found space on the left and clipped in a cross that Murray met with a volley just six yards out. A goal appeared certain but Simon Mignolet managed to save with his legs.
And, agonisingly for the home side, Liverpool broke immediately with Salah again leading the way to the edge of the Brighton area before laying off for Firmino to score his second goal.
It was a crushing way to concede, but to their credit, the Seagulls responded well, replying through Murray's penalty three minutes later after Jordan Henderson pushed Duffy as the defender attempted to meet Pascal Gross's corner.
Murray had another chance to cut the lead but Coutinho scored Liverpool's fourth goal in the 87th minute when he struck a free-kick under the defensive wall, a minute before his shot was diverted home off the head of Dunk to make it 5-1.
© 2017 AFP