Liverpool slipped to a second successive defeat at Anfield after suffering yet another 1-0 loss to Graham Potter’s Brighton.
Just 10 days ago, the Premier League champions hadn’t tasted league defeat at Anfield for 68 games, though saw that run come to a crashing halt as Sean Dyche’s Burnley secured a 1-0 win less than two weeks ago.
Since then, the Reds have shown signs of getting back on track, putting in good displays against Spurs and West Ham, only to be brought back to Earth with a bang against a well-drilled Brighton side.
Mohamed Salah spurned an early chance to give Liverpool the lead, the Egyptian latching on to a raking ball from makeshift centre-back Jordan Henderson, only for the Premier League top scorer to lift the ball over the bar.
However, it was Brighton who played the more adventurous football as they pressed the champions high up the pitch, with Jurgen Klopp’s side struggling to get into the game in the first half.
The Seagulls eventually took the lead just before the hour mark, switching the play to find the towering figure of Dan Burn at the back post. The left wing-back put his header back in towards the middle, and while Nat Phillips got something on his attempted clearance, the ball found its way somewhat scruffily into the back of the net through a combination of Steven Alzate and Leandro Trossard in what was the first attempt on goal of the match.
1984 – Liverpool have failed to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 1984, with the Reds’ goalless run at Anfield currently standing at 348 minutes. Bereft. pic.twitter.com/10UTHWSqfa
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 3, 2021
Liverpool – who were without a number of key players including their entire central defence, Sadio Mane and goalkeeper Alisson – were wildly underwhelming for the vast majority of the game, while stand-in ‘keeper Kelleher was forced into a couple of smart saves as Brighton looked to extend their lead.
The south coast club defended resolutely throughout to hold on for the three points which saw them condemn Liverpool to back-to-back home defeats for the first time in nine years, and speaking afterwards, Jurgen Klopp put his teams toils down to mental fatigue.
“We played against really good opposition, that’s clear,” he told BT Sport. “We looked mentally not fresh. They deserved to win.
“We wanted to play better and more convincing. We lost too many balls in promising situations. I know the boys can play pass A to B but today B did not seem reachable.
“We had a really tough week. Brighton is a football-playing team.
“We were not fresh tonight and that’s when you have to find a way. Each player can play better than they did tonight. I know them, it’s not because they didn’t want to. Something else must be the reason.
“If we make too many chances we lose rhythm. That leads to the situation where Brighton beat Liverpool and deserve it.”
The result means Liverpool are now seven points behind Manchester City in the table – the league leaders also possessing a game in hand – with the two sides set to meet each other at Anfield at the weekend in what is shaping up to be a mouthwatering encounter in this season’s title race.