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Salah penalty edges leaders Liverpool past Brighton

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Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool were 'absolutely' deserved winners
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side are no longer "childish" in controlling matches after Mohamed Salah's penalty edged out Brighton to extend their lead to seven points at the top of the Premier League.The Reds dominated with more than 70% possession against their cagey hosts but created little in a workmanlike performance until Salah was felled in the area by Pascal Gross.The Egyptian duly lashed the spot-kick left-footed across his body and 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 as the home side failed to register a shot on target."I think it was the most mature performance we have made so far," Klopp told BBC Sport. "There were a few situations where we could have been a bit more inspired, creative and cool."We know we can control the game and we are not that childish anymore."Klopp's side were far from their fluent best but comfortably repelled their hosts to lengthen 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
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/16D56/production/_105162539_1pen.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Salah lifted his penalty over the dive of David Button">
Salah lifted his penalty over the dive of David ButtonKlopp 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 a loss to City and an FA Cup loss at Wolves, and the Reds can still boast being without back-to-back league defeats under Klopp's charge.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
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Liverpool restricted Brighton to just eight touches in their penalty area during the 90 minutesKlopp 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 later 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 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. They have now won all 16 games they have played against teams outside the league's top six.Such consistency means only four sides in English top-flight history have ever had more than the 57 points Liverpool boast at this stage of the season if league tables are adjusted to three points for a win.And only Chelsea's 2004-05 side have leaked fewer goals (8) than the Reds' 10 after 22 games. Klopp has grown a tough nut to crack.
Brighton disciplined but blunt
Brighton's fans were angered by referee Kevin Friend's display, though it did appear Gross placed his hands on Salah before catching the Liverpool player's leg in the key moment.In truth, Liverpool's brief increase in tempo immediately after the interval proved vital in undoing a Brighton side which had looked solid until that point.
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Chris Hughton 'incredibly proud' of Brighton performance
Sitting deep in a 4-5-1 set-up with no pressure on the ball until it entered their final third, the home side's caution meant their own attacks were minimal - a fact underlined by striker Glenn Murray having just seven touches in the opening 45 minutes.Klopp said his side were aware of the threat posed by a team with more set-piece goals than anyone else in the league, but even dead-ball scenarios proved fruitless and lacked threat.Seagulls boss Chris Hughton faces a testing trip to Manchester United next but his side are three points better off than at this stage last season. The addition of some attacking quality would no doubt help their survival cause but their general organisation remains admirable and will be key in their fight to stay up.
Man of the match - Virgil van Dijk
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Van Dijk has now been involved in 21 Liverpool clean sheets in 37 games. On a day where Fabinho provided a new central defensive partner, he mopped up, organised and led the back four to a largely trouble-free afternoon. He also saw more of the ball and played more passes than anyone on the pitch as he regularly stepped into midfield with Brighton offering little pressure on the ball
'We deserved something' - manager reaction
Brighton manager Chris Hughton:"We were always in the game and were very competitive. I felt we deserved something. "These are the best team in the country. I am conscious of where we are. We have developed well. We have to stay in the game and be compact and look for moments. I thought we had that today."Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "We controlled the game in a better way when we scored the goal. We could have done better but I am fine because the target is to win here. We had to perform and deliver and we did that."
Salah the difference again - stats
Brighton manager Chris Hughton has lost more league games to Liverpool in his managerial career (seven defeats from seven meetings) than any other side. His sides have conceded 26 goals across those seven games.
This was Liverpool's 50th clean sheet in the Premier League under Jurgen Klopp in their 128th match with the German in charge since his first in October 2015; 42% of those have come since Virgil van Dijk's league debut in January 2018 (21 in 37 games since).
Brighton have now lost as many games at the Amex Stadium in all competitions this season (four of 12) as they did in the entirety of 2017-18 on home soil (four of 22 matches).
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has scored the opening goal in nine Premier League games this season; at least three more than any other player.
Of the last 10 Premier League penalties taken by left-footed players, six have failed to score - the other four have all been scored by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.
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Line-ups
Match Stats
Live Text
Line-ups
Brighton
27Button
22Montoya
4Duffy
5Dunk
3Bong
20MarchSubstituted forKnockaertat 66'minutes
13GrossSubstituted forKayalat 79'minutes
6Stephens
24Propper
9Locadia
17MurraySubstituted forAndoneat 66'minutes
Substitutes
2Bruno
7Kayal
10Andone
11Knockaert
14Balogun
23Steele
41Sanders
Liverpool
13Alisson
66Alexander-Arnold
3Fabinho
4van Dijk
26Robertson
5Wijnaldum
14Henderson
23ShaqiriSubstituted forMilnerat 72'minutes
9Roberto Firmino
10ManeSubstituted forKeitaat 90'minutes
11SalahSubstituted forOrigiat 90+4'minutes
Substitutes
7Milner
8Keita
18Moreno
22Mignolet
27Origi
32Matip
64Camacho
Referee:Kevin FriendAttendance:30,682
Match Stats
Home TeamBrightonAway TeamLiverpoolPossessionHome29%Away71%ShotsHome7Away10Shots on TargetHome0Away3CornersHome2Away7FoulsHome15Away5
Live Text
Posted at
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Liverpool 1.
Full Time
Posted at 90'+6' Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Liverpool 1.Posted at 90'+5' Hand ball by Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Substitution
Posted at 90'+4' Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Mohamed Salah.Posted at 90'+3' Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Lewis Dunk tries a through ball, but Shane Duffy is caught offside.
Substitution
Posted at 90' Substitution, Liverpool. Naby Keita replaces Sadio Mane.Posted at 89' Attempt missed. Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jurgen Locadia following a set piece situation.Posted at 89' Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).Posted at 89' Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 88' Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by James Milner.Posted at 87' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Shane Duffy.Posted at 87' Attempt blocked. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.Posted at 84' Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 84' Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion).Posted at 83' Hand ball by Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion).Posted at 81' Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 81' Foul by Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion).Posted at 80' Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mohamed Salah following a corner.Posted at 79' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Lewis Dunk.
Substitution
Posted at 79' Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Beram Kayal replaces Pascal Gross.Posted at 79' Attempt missed. Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gaetan Bong with a cross.Posted at 76' Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).Posted at 76' Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 75' Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.Posted at 74' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Shane Duffy.Posted at 73' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Lewis Dunk.Posted at 73' Sadio Mane (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.Posted at 73' Foul by Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Substitution
Posted at 72' Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.Posted at 72' Fabinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 72' Foul by Florin Andone (Brighton and Hove Albion).Posted at 69' Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Sadio Mane.Posted at 68' Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Alisson.Posted at 68' Attempt missed. Jurgen Locadia (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from long range on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gaetan Bong.
Substitution
Posted at 66' Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Florin Andone replaces Glenn Murray.
Substitution
Posted at 66' Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Anthony Knockaert replaces Solly March.Posted at 66' Foul by Sadio Mane (Liverpool).Posted at 66' Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 64' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Lewis Dunk.Posted at 63' Hand ball by Davy Propper (Brighton and Hove Albion).
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