Liverpool's 1-1 Draw With Brighton Sums Up the 2020/21 Season

Ali Rampling
Nov 28, 2020, 3:23 PM GMT
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton | Pool/Getty Images

Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Brighton on Saturday was the perfect summation of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign; a plethora of injuries, a little too much VAR and ultimately the Reds dropping points once more as this season's title race looks to be one wide open, multifaceted, intriguing affair.

In a tightly fought contest, a moment of magic from Diogo Jota appeared to have given Liverpool all three points - only for Brighton to be awarded a controversial penalty in stoppage time to secure a draw.

Defeat would have been harsh on Brighton, who had enjoyed the better of the first half; the lively Aaron Connelly blazed a terrific opportunity wide before Neal Maupay sent a spot kick the wrong side of the post.

Maupay then hobbled off minutes later out of embarrassment/because of a hamstring injury.

Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net before the half was out, Mohamed Salah latching onto Roberto Firmino's terrific lofted pass and slotting home, only for the fun sponges at Stockley Park to get their lines out and judge the Reds forward to be marginally offside.

Was a millimetre of Salah's toe slightly ahead of Ben White? Yes. Was he gaining an advantage? No. But that's the offside rule in 2020. Liverpool are not the first team, and won't be the last, to be left feeling aggrieved by such a decision.

Salah saw a goal ruled out for offside
Salah saw a goal ruled out for offside | Pool/Getty Images

Brighton had turned in a dogged first half performance and were seeing a lot of joy getting in behind the Reds' backline. Nat Phillips and Fabinho struggled to contend with the pace, energy and movement of Connolly, while Yves Bissouma was absolutely everywhere.

Jordan Henderson was introduced at half time and he injected a bit of authority and intensity into the Reds midfield. With Georginio Wijnaldum and Takumi Minamino pushed further forward, Klopp's side looked more threatening.

Liverpool were rewarded for their improved second half showing as Diogo Jota feigned his way into the Brighton box and slotted home. It appeared to be a moment of quality that would separate this spirited Seagulls side from this below par but ultimately world class Liverpool outfit.

There was still half an hour left on the clock, meaning plenty of time for more injuries. Adam Lallana hobbled off eight minutes after entering the fray, before James Milner joined the Premier League soft tissue injury club - which is growing less and less exclusive by the weekend - as he was forced off clutching his hamstring.

Another healthy serving of VAR soon followed as Sadio Mane headed home a second for Liverpool, only for it to be ruled out for offside - a decision more obvious and clear cut than Salah's in the first half.

The Reds were denied all three points at the death as Andy Robertson clipped Danny Welbeck in the area with a swinging boot. Stuart Attwell was recommended to check out his monitor and the penalty was awarded. As penalties go it was as soft, controversial and 2020 as they come.

Pascal Gross duly dispatched from 12 yards out to give Brighton the point that their efforts largely deserved, but with Liverpool feeling understandably hard done by following two marginal VAR decisions. But the result does mean that either Tottenham, Chelsea, Leicester or Liverpool could be top of the pile come Monday evening.

Three injuries in the space of 38 minutes two controversial VAR calls and one thrilling title race.

2020, eh?