Liverpool is not smiling this season. Right now, the sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table after 22 games. They are in the moon right now because they appear to have left their woes behind. Liverpool was beaten in the Premier League by Manchester City the last time out, which was the first time they would lose in the league this term. They were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves.
But with the win over Brighton, which did not come easy, Liverpool may just have pulled their title challenge back on track and settled the nerves of their supporters. They are now seven points clear at the top again now, at least until Spurs play Manchester United on Sunday and Manchester City face Wolves on Monday. But even if Man City were to win their game, Liverpool will still sit pretty at the top of the log.
Jurgen Klopp’s side was not at its most fluent but it was vital that they did not drop more points and they eked out their victory courtesy of another penalty won and converted by Mo Salah early in the second half. Those who had been predicting a Liverpool collapse after their first league reverse of the season at Manchester City will be disappointed. Liverpool were under pressure going into this game and winning at Brighton is not easy but with Fabinho deputising for Dejan Lovren as a makeshift centre half, Liverpool stayed rock solid at the back.
That was the foundation of their victory even though the Brighton fans preferred to give the credit to referee Kevin Friend for his award of the penalty and a perceived bias towards the league leaders. ‘One-nil to the referee,’ they sang towards the end but Liverpool will not care. Their lead is seven points again. The ship has been steadied. Before the game, Klopp had reacted with amusement to talk of a crisis because his team had suffered two successive defeats. Until the turn of the year, he pointed out, people had been telling him Liverpool had built an unassailable lead in the league.