By Nathan Brennan – @NathanBrennan___
Coming into the game against Brighton, Liverpool were looking to make it three wins from three in the Premier League this season after seeing Manchester City stumble away to Wolves earlier in the day.
It put added expectation upon Jurgen Klopp’s lads to put ourselves top of the league going into the international break. An unchanged line-up sparked little surprise among the fans also.
During the build-up to this match, Klopp had explained his reasoning behind Fabinho’s lack of appearances so far this season, as the boss said he’d look to ease him into the style of the Premier League slowly.
Although, in my personal opinion, I thought it was utterly baffling that Fabinho wasn’t at least on the bench for this game, as Brighton at home is probably one of our more calm and favourable fixtures in the next few weeks.
The Reds go on a trip to Leicester once the international break ends and then a huge game against Spurs after that. If Fabinho isn’t ready to play at home against Brighton then surely he won’t be playing any part in either of those two games? I’m not sure, but the decision to not give him some minutes today was a little surprising.
The lads looked comfortable in the first-half as Brighton clearly had a gameplan to let us have as much of the ball as possible as they attempted to remain in the game until the latter stages of the match.
Liverpool played well but that wasn’t because of our own doing but rather due to Brighton’s gameplan to try hold on until the end of the game and then try to snatch a late goal.
What I said about Brighton’s game plan came through in the second-half as the Seagulls began the half where they left off in the first, sitting back and allowing us to have the ball.
But, as the minutes passed and they remained only a goal down, they then activated the final stages of their game plan as they brought on their attacking options from the bench.
Liverpool struggled with this massively in the final 20 minutes and we depended on Alisson multiple times to make some important saves to preserve the victory.
A special shoutout to the Brazilian stopper who showed his class on and off the ball as he wowed fans and picked up his third clean-sheet in his first three appearances. This ensured his status as the only goalkeeper yet to concede a goal in the Premier League this season.
Gini proves me wrong
I was critical of Wijnaldum last week in our win against Palace, as I thought he put in a complete polar-opposite performance in comparison to his showing on the opening day against West Ham.
I don’t think he should have started this week and would have much rather have seen either Fabinho or Jordan Henderson get their first starts of the season.
That being said, Gini played well against Brighton and I expect him to keep his place in the starting line-up after the international break.
More consistency needed from Mané
Despite his goal last week, we all know Sadio Mané didn’t have the best game of his career against Crystal Palace.
Saturday’s match against Brighton was the perfect fixture to get back into that all-round good performance throughout an entire game, but that was not the case.
The Senegalese produced nothing short of a ‘disasterclass’ before being subbed off for Daniel Sturridge in the 79th minute and his inability to pass the ball in the first-half and his all-round invisibility in all of our attacks ensured that he had little-to-no effect on the game.
This is a theme with Mané – he sometimes produces a terrible performance but still gets a goal or an assist, but today he produced the terrible performance with no end product whatsoever.
Overall, it was a huge win for the Reds today despite it not coming in flashy fashion. But had you offered Klopp the three points and a clean-sheet before the match, I’m sure he would have taken it in an instant.
We look forward to Leicester City now after the international break as the Reds can enjoy the next two weeks knowing that they sit atop of the Premier League.