Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Liverpool: Mo Salah scores winner from spot

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Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Liverpool: Mo Salah scores winner from spot
Salah won and converted the penalty for Liverpool’s winner

Mohamed Salah’s penalty extended Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points after a workmanlike display at Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated with over 70% possession against their cagey hosts but created little until Salah was felled in the area by Pascal Gross.

The Egyptian duly lashed the spot-kick left-footed across his body and high into the net for a 17th goal of the season.

Brighton briefly rallied, with Fabinho – at the heart of Liverpool’s defence for the injured Dejan Lovren – producing a key block to deny Gross in the area.

It helped Liverpool to a gritty win on a day they were far from their fluent best but comfortably lengthened their advantage in the title race, with third-placed Tottenham playing on Sunday and nearest rivals Manchester City not in action until Monday.

‘Mature’ Reds get job done

Klopp embraced Salah at the final whistle after his side had seen off sporadic bursts of pressure from their hosts in the closing stages.

The threat of a third straight defeat was held at bay after defeat to City and an FA Cup loss at Wolves, and the Reds can still boast being without back-to-back league defeats since September 2015.

At the Amex, they demonstrated the efficiency and control of a side capable of winning while not at their best.

Salah – who had just 13 touches in a quiet first half – produced a single moment of game-defining trickery to tangle with Gross, and it proved enough as Liverpool eased to a 13th clean sheet of the season.

Georginio Wijnaldum flashed a shot wide and Salah missed a glorious chance from six yards after a James Milner pullback, which would have provided late breathing space.

But on a day where the heart of Liverpool’s defence was shuffled – with Fabinho joining Virgil van Dijk to cover for injuries – Klopp pointed to an “unbelievably mature” display by his side as they returned to form.

Grown-up Reds set relentless pace

Klopp will also be thrilled by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s completion of 90 minutes after the right-back hurt himself during a fall in the warm-up.

The 20-year-old appeared tentative early on but his presence was key late on when he stretched to flick a Florin Andone cross out of the path of Jurgen Locadia in the area.

It was an example of the occasional opening Brighton created without ever getting a clear sight of the league leaders’ goal.

Klopp said afterwards his side are no longer “childish” in the way they control games as not for the first time this season, they found a win when below par.

The German was quick to state the seven-point gap “means nothing” but the manner in which his side are grinding out results is setting a pace rarely seen at the top of the English game.

More to follow.

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