Despite going 11 points clear at the summit of the Premier League the talk of the weekend will be Alisson’s first ever red card of his professional career.
After handling the ball outside his area the Brazilian will now miss part of Liverpool’s busy Christmas schedule as he will be unavailable for the Merseyside Derby, an away trip to Bournemouth and the visit of Watford.
Liverpool stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points following a scrappy 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Jürgen Klopp made three changes from the side that drew with Napoli in midweek. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to the squad, replacing Joe Gomez, James Milner and the injured Fabinho.
Chants of ‘Justice For The 96’ rang out around Anfield in the opening minutes of the match as Liverpool pressed Brighton deep in their own half in search of the opening goal.
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Wave after wave of Red pressure smashes against Brighton’s defensive wall, with Roberto Firmino coming closest in the opening 15 minutes.
Exquisite wing play by Andy Robertson and Sadio Mané saw the Senegalese left 1-on-1 with Martin Montoya. Mane skipped past him with ease before feeding Firmino who drew a world class save from Matt Ryan in the Brighton net.
The Brighton goalkeeper couldn’t do anything to stop Liverpool taking the lead however, as the Reds powered ahead moments later through Virgil Van Dijk.
A typical Trent free-kick found the head of the unmarked Dutchman who climbed highest and headed a looping ball over the helpless Australian goalkeeper. 1-0 after 18 minutes.
The opening goal only seemed to provide the home side with further momentum as they almost doubled their lead twice in the minutes following.
Both Firmino and Mané came close from inside the penalty area, but came up short as a seemingly possessed Ryan produced save after save to keep Brighton in the game.
Despite his world class attempts, the Brighton keeper could not continue to keep the Premier League leaders out, as another set piece delivery from Trent found an unmarked Van Dijk who doubled Liverpool’s lead.
This time coming from a corner, Trents front post delivery was fizzed in and met commandingly by his defensive partner who gave the two time Australian Player of the Year no chance with a bullet header. 2-0 after 24 minutes.
The Reds took their foot off the gas following the second goal as Brighton began to keep possession and tested Alisson for the first time after 32 minutes.
The south coast side almost got a goal back through Lewis Dunk in the 35th minute as he beat the LFC offside trap to connect with a curling low ball across Alisson’s goal. The centre back however couldn’t sort his feet out and ended up shinning the ball wide of the post.
Towards the end of half Brighton really began to pile on the pressure on the home side as the won a string of corners in quick succession. Unfortunately for the visitors, Klopp’s side was well drilled and cleared their attempts with ease as they looked to register their first Anfield clean sheet of the season.
Despite Brighton’s continuous pressure, the Reds provided their visitors with a reminder as to why they are so feared across Europe as a rapid counterattack needed yet another quality save from Ryan to deny the hosts a third.
At half time, and largely thanks to their goalkeeper, Brighton went in only 2-0 down.
The start of the second half saw Liverpool control the majority of possession. However, Brighton continued to push and almost got a goal back through Dunk as they searched for a way back into the game.
As the half ticked on Brighton continued their attempted fight back and registered the first shot on target of the half as Aaron Connolly’s tame effort tested provided catching practice for Alisson.
With this being said, the Reds remained dangerous in the counter as a last gasp block by Dunk saw Chamberlain’s goal bound effort deflect away from danger. Minutes after Mané also had an attempt to notch Liverpool’s third however his mis-hit effort bounced harmlessly into Ryan’s grasp.
Dunk continued his impressive last minute defensive performance as he also stretched to seemingly deny Van Dijk his hat trick after the Liverpool centre back brought the ball down in the Brighton penalty area and looked to direct an effort on goal.
As the game ticked over into the final 15 minutes Liverpool found themselves a man down as Alisson was sent off after the Brazilian handled the ball outside the area to deny Brighton getting a goal back.
Alisson will have been kicking himself whilst he marched down the tunnel as Brighton scored from the resulting free kick.
Martin Atkinson allowed Brighton to take the set piece early and Dunk proceeded to pass the ball into the net as Adrián was organising his defensive wall. Jeers whistled round Anfield as Atkinson was at the heart of the controversy again however the goal stood and the Reds graced themselves for a final 10 minutes of massive Brighton pressure. 2-1 after 79 minutes.
Despite late nerves Liverpool held on to win the three points, but must now face Merseyside rivals Everton with Alisson absent.