Salah caps fightback as Liverpool go top

In Sports
April 01, 2024


Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool to the top of the Premier League as the Egypt star’s clinical finish capped a stirring fightback to beat Brighton 2-1 on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were rocked by Danny Welbeck’s blistering strike after just 85 seconds at Anfield.

Luis Diaz restored order with an equaliser later in the first half, before Salah netted after the interval to seal a vital victory.

Salah’s third goal in his last three games was his 22nd in all competitions this term.

Unbeaten in their last six league matches, Liverpool sit two points clear of second-placed Arsenal, who drew 0-0 with third-placed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium just a few hours later.

Thanks to Salah, treble-chasing Liverpool are in the driving seat as they eye a record-equalling 20th English title — and first since 2020 — in Klopp’s final season.

“Being that calm in the decisive moment with the biggest chance we had from the best football we played, then that makes a real goalscorer so we are happy with everything,” Klopp said of Salah.

“Brighton’s centre-halves were outstanding and it was just a really good game, against an opponent you know it will be the hardest work.

“To defend them needs the highest intensity in English football and we did well. More possession, better possession, a really good rhythm.”

Unbeaten in their last 27 home league games, Liverpool are back in action at Anfield against lowly Sheffield United on Thursday.

After former Liverpool star Xabi Alonso confirmed he intends to stay at Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is a reported candidate to replace Klopp when the German steps down at the end of this term.

Klopp is a big fan of De Zerbi’s attacking philosophy and praised him as a “top coach” this week.

Asked after the game about the link to Liverpool, De Zerbi said: “I have another two years of contract. My focus is on Brighton this season, the next season.

“But before starting next season I would like to listen to the plan of the team. I think it is a serious thing.”

Playing for the first time since their painful FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Manchester United before the international break, Liverpool had a shocking taste of De Zerbi’s enterprising tactics after just two minutes.

Brighton’s Simon Adingra broke quickly in a devastating counter-attack that caught Liverpool right-back Conor Bradley out of position.

When Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed clearance rolled to Welbeck just inside the penalty area, the Brighton forward lashed a strike into the top corner to leave Klopp shaking his head.

Salah was making his first league start since New Year’s Day after an injury-plagued beginning to 2024.

Looking to make up for lost time, Salah nearly grabbed the equaliser with a curler that whistled just wide.

The Egypt forward threatened again from Bradley’s cross, but he couldn’t keep his shot on target from a good position 10 yards out.

Liverpool’s dominance was rewarded in the 27th minute when Brighton failed to clear Salah’s header from a corner and Diaz volleyed home from close range.

Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister squandered a chance against his former club with a header that flashed narrowly wide early in the second half.

Dominik Szoboszlai fired past the far post from 20 yards, while Darwin Nunez was denied by Bart Verbruggen at the near post.

Wave after wave of Liverpool pressure crashed against Brighton’s defensive wall before De Zerbi’s men cracked in the 65th minute.

Mac Allister was catalyst with a perfectly-weighted pass that picked out Salah’s run into the area and the forward dispatched a composed low finish past Verbruggen.

In a tense finale, former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana should have punished his old team, but he rolled his shot wide to Klopp’s immense relief.

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