Brighton put huge dent in Liverpool's Premier League title hopes

Liverpool (AFP) –


Brighton condemned Liverpool to their second straight Premier League home defeat on Wednesday, winning 1-0 to leave the champions with a mountain to climb if they are going to retain their title.

Jurgen Klopp's men appeared to have turned the corner with impressive victories against Tottenham and West Ham after a five-match winless run.

But defeat to lowly Brighton at Anfield leaves them seven points behind leaders Manchester City, who also have a game in hand.

Graham Potter's men executed their gameplan to perfection, snuffing out Liverpool's dangermen and offering a threat up front.

The only goal of the game came in the 56th minute courtesy of a Steven Alzate strike and Liverpool could not respond.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was again drafted into central defence in the absence of any of the club's senior centre-backs, with new signing Ben Davies on the substitutes' bench.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker was absent due to illness, meaning Caoimhin Keller made only his second Premier League appearance.

Forward Sadio Mane was also missing from Liverpool's attack.

- Brighton threat -

Liverpool enjoyed the bulk of possession in the early stages but in-form Brighton were organised at the back and offered a threat on their forays forward.

Mohamed Salah had a golden chance to give Liverpool the lead in the opening minutes when he collected a long ball from Henderson.

The Egyptian forward, who scored twice in Liverpool's 3-1 win at West Ham at the weekend, controlled the ball but put his left-footed shot over the bar.

Salah offered an occasional threat down the right but Liverpool looked short of ideas in the final third when faced with the massed blue shirts of Brighton.

The visitors had a chance to take the lead midway through the first half when the ball fell to Dan Burn after Neal Maupay's shot was blocked but he skied over from close range.

Brighton, full of confidence after taking seen points from their past three matches, were hoping to match the heroics of Burnley, who won at Anfield last month.

The visitors showed ambition when they had the chance to get forward, attempting to use their height advantage to full effect.

Ben White headed over from a free-kick and Maupay also put a header over in the closing moments of the first half.

Jurgen Klopp's men went in at half-time having failed to muster a single shot on goal.

The second half shaped up like the first, with Liverpool probing but looking short of inspiration.

Roberto Firmino had a deflected shot wide but it was Brighton who took the lead with the game's first shot on target.

Burn, on the left side of the Liverpool area, headed a cross-field ball back across goal and Alzate ran onto it to loop a shot inside the far post.

Klopp threw on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi for Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri as he sought a way back into the match.

Salah flashed a left-footed shot over after Trent Alexander-Arnold fizzed a ball across the area and Adam Webster produced a superb, muscular challenge to stop the Egypt forward in his tracks.

But Brighton were still threating at the other end. Keller saved smartly from Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard also forced a save.

The result lifts Brighton to 15th in the table, 10 points clear of the relegation zone.