Premier League

Brighton 0-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as Diaz & Salah score in comfortable win

Jude Summerfield
Liverpool secured a straightforward win
Liverpool secured a straightforward win / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

From the AMEX - Liverpool again cut the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to three points as they strolled to a 2-0 victory at Brighton courtesy of strikes from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah.

Brighton went close through a Neal Maupay drive from outside the box but the Reds took the lead in the 19th minute when Diaz nodded in Joel Matip's excellent pass.

The Colombian was wiped out by Seagulls goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, who seemed to be saved from a red card by the ball going in.

The Seagulls had started positively but their threat dissipated after Liverpool's opener and it was the visitors who would go closest before the first half came to an end.

Salah was sent clear down the left and managed to leave Yves Bissouma behind, but his strike from a tight angle was repelled by Sanchez.

Brighton were in on goal immediately at the start of the second half, with Maupay eventually setting up Leandro Trossard who disgracefully blazed over when extremely well placed. There was a suspicion of handball in the build-up, so it may have been disallowed in any case.

The Reds could have doubled their lead through Salah, but the Egyptian first hit the bar with a deflected effort before scuffing one wide when well placed, but he made no mistake when referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty.

Naby Keita smacked a shot at Yves Bissouma whose arm was raised, allowing Salah to convert straight down the middle from the spot for his 20th league strike of the season.

The victory means Liverpool stay tight to Manchester City in the Premier League title race, while it's a fifth successive defeat in the division for Brighton.

Brighton player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Lewis Dunk, Sadio Mane
Dunk battled with Mane / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Robert Sanchez (GK) - 5/10 - Extremely lucky to avoid a red card for a reckless challenge on Diaz. Bizarrely saved by the fact the header went in. Made a few other stops.

Tariq Lamptey (RB) - 6/10 - Some miscommunication between Lamptey and Veltman saw Diaz get in behind for the opener. Attacking threat was somewhat nullified by Diaz's persistent work in defence, but still had some decent moments.

Joel Veltman (CB) - 5/10 - Similarly at fault with Lamptey for Diaz's goal. Doesn't seem like playing in a central two works for the former Ajax defender.

Lewis Dunk (CB) - 5/10 - A few unconvincing moments against Liverpool's rapid front three. Was still accurate with his distribution.

Marc Cucurella (LB) - 6/10 - Did get some space when Alexander-Arnold tucked in but couldn't do much with it.

2. Midfielders

Steven Alzate (CM) - 4/10 - Has good memories of playing Liverpool, scoring a winner at Anfield last season, but had no such luck here. Not influential and brought off for Lallana.

Yves Bissouma (CM) - 5/10 - Mopped up well at times but strangely lost his balance and gave the ball away a few times. Gave away a penalty with his arm raised and going towards the ball.

Alexis Mac Allister (AM) - 6/10 - Nice headed flick sent Maupay in on goal. Made a couple of key passes.

3. Forwards

Joel Matip, Leandro Trossard
Trossard should have scored / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Solly March (RW) - 5/10 - Didn't get much joy out of his battle with Robertson so tried his luck on the opposite side. Similar story.

Neal Maupay (ST) - 6/10 - Went close with a fierce drive early on. Dived to try to get a penalty out of Van Dijk, to no avail. Sent in on goal at the start of the second half and eventually teed up Trossard who should have scored.

Leandro Trossard (LW) - 5/10 - Quiet first half but should have buried one from Maupay's pass. Had to hit the back of the net.

4. Substitutes

Adam Lallana (CM) - N/A - Came on at half time, sadly picked up an injury and off seven minutes after his introduction.

Pascal Gross (CM) - 6/10

Danny Welbeck (LW) - 6/10

Liverpool player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Alisson (GK) - 6/10 - Seemed to handle the ball outside his box at one point, drawing screams from the home crowd. Only properly brought into action late on, saving well from Welbeck.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - 7/10 - Got into excellent positions as always in the first half, though the final ball was lacking.

Joel Matip (CB) - 8/10 - Excellent pass to pick out Diaz for an assist. Brought the ball out well and took up good positions to deal with Brighton's crosses.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - 7/10 - Actually lost out to Mac Allister in an aerial duel which sent Maupay free. Aside from that, Brighton's diminutive attackers gave him little grief.

Andy Robertson (LB) - 7/10 - Charged up and down the left in his own indomitable style and gave March little joy.

6. Midfielders

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 6/10 - Decent shift in midfield, if not particularly flashy. Lacked power with one shot as he took the ball to the edge of the box. Scuppered a few good counter-attacking opportunities with bad passing.

Fabinho (CM) - 6/10 - Gave Liverpool enough protection in central areas and ensured they were rarely in danger. Booked for bringing down Maupay.

Naby Keita (CM) - 7/10 - No standout moments but did some good dirty work in central midfield. Won the penalty by booting a shot at Bissouma.

7. Forwards

Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson
Salah scored his 20th league goal of the season / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Mohamed Salah (RW) - 7/10 - Smashed his first chance well over the bar. Shot straight at Sanchez having shrugged off Bissouma well. Hit the bar with a deflected effort and missed a sitter soon after. Eventually got his goal - his 20th in the league this season - from the spot before being subbed.

Sadio Mane (ST) - 7/10 - Brought a save from Sanchez with Liverpool's first real chance. Some lovely turns and flicks, particularly one where he scooped the ball over Veltman before firing a tame shot at Sanchez.

Luis Diaz (LW) - 8/10 - Opened the scoring with a brave header but took a whack for his troubles. Thankfully was back up quickly. Went stride for stride with the attacking Lamptey and came out on top more often than not. A perfect fit for this Liverpool team.

8. Substitutes

Thiago (CM) - 6/10

Diogo Jota (LW) - 6/10

James Milner (CM) - 6/10

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