Liverpool’s dire season took another turn for the worse as Solly March’s double helped Brighton and Hove Albion to a superb 3-0 Premier League win on Saturday.
March, who saw a penalty award overturned by VAR in the first half, scored twice in the opening eight minutes of the second half to put the game out of Liverpool’s reach.
Substitute Danny Welbeck added a glorious third late on to put the seal on a sixth top-flight defeat of the season on Jurgen Klopp’s beleaguered Reds.
The result helped the Seagulls move above Liverpool into seventh, with the eighth-placed Reds staying seven points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.
8 – All eight of Solly March’s Premier League goals have been in the second half of games; the most goals by any player without ever netting in the opening 45 minutes. Fashionably. pic.twitter.com/6fsZjkFRWb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 14, 2023
Brighton were comfortably the better side in the opening 30 minutes, yet despite a number of promising opportunities, they were unable to beat Alisson.
The Liverpool goalkeeper breathed a huge sigh of relief shortly before half-time when a penalty awarded against him for a foul on March was overturned after the Brighton midfielder ventured marginally offside in the build-up.
March was not to be denied a minute into the second half when he met Kaoru Mitoma’s prodded ball across the face of goal with a simple finish past Alisson.
It got even better for Brighton and March seven minutes later when the 28-year-old latched onto Evan Ferguson’s pass, took the ball away from his marker and clipped a fine left-footed finish across Alisson from 15 yards.
Liverpool’s misery deepened nine minutes from full-time when former Manchester United forward Welbeck lifted the ball over Joe Gomez’s head and clipped past Alisson for a fine third.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) January 14, 2023
What does it mean? Lousy Liverpool punished by Seagulls
Klopp’s position at Liverpool is seemingly rock solid, but more questions are going to be asked of the German manager after another hapless defeat. The Reds, who could be 10 points adrift of the top four after Sunday’s games, were second best throughout and have now started a calendar year with two league defeats in a row for the first time since 1993.
Brighton, meanwhile, look in rude health under Roberto De Zerbi, whose decision to jettison Leandro Trossard from the first-team squad in midweek was fully justified by his side’s superb display.
March has never been one of Brighton’s most heralded players, but that might be about to change after a headline-stealing display. These two goals doubled his tally for the season, giving him the best scoring return in his Premier League career.
Gakpo’s debut to forget
Cody Gakpo’s Premier League debut did not go to plan. The Netherlands international – a big-money arrival from PSV earlier this month – had just one shot, which was blocked, and failed to play a single key pass.
Key Opta facts
– Brighton picked up their first home league victory against Liverpool since January 1961 (3-1), ending their 10-game winless run on home soil against the Reds in league competition.
– Liverpool have lost back-to-back Premier League games for a second time this season, suffering six defeats overall, three times as many as in the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign. The Reds have also lost as many as five away league matches in a season for the first time since 2017-18 (5).
– Liverpool have lost a Premier League game kicking off at 3pm local time on a Saturday for the first time since February 2017 (2-0 vs Hull). Klopp’s side were unbeaten in 32 such matches prior to this loss.
– Only Southampton (15) and West Ham (13) have conceded the first goal in more different Premier League games this season than Liverpool (11).
– All eight of March’s Premier League goals for Brighton have been in the second half of games, the most goals by any player without netting in the opening 45 minutes. He has four goals in his last four Premier League appearances, as many as in his first 156 games in the competition.
Liverpool have an FA Cup third-round replay against Wolves on Tuesday, before a Premier League clash with Chelsea on Saturday – the same day Brighton visit Leicester City.
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