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The Media Review: Liverpool

Nick Szczepanik rounds up all the media reports of Albion's historic win at Liverpool.

By Nick Szczepanik • 04 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Man of the Match Adam Webster walks off the Anfield pitch alongside Robert Sanchez.

This may be the most redundant press round-up ever written. Many Seagulls fans will no doubt already have been out to their local newsagents to get their hands on every possible report of Albion's most memorable Premier League result.

But for anyone who chose not to pick up the papers during their early-morning run or brisk walk, we can assure you that the national dailies' Merseyside men were uniformly impressed by the performance of Graham Potter's men in the 1-0 victory at Anfield.

Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph enjoyed Albion's bold approach. “Brighton succeeded where Liverpool's top four rivals from London recently failed, capitalising on [Liverpool's] defensive vulnerabilities, and exposing the lack of attacking potency,” he wrote. “Take a bow, Graham Potter. Ambition can work. One wonders what Spurs and West Ham fans thought watching this. Brighton, despite their lower position, have more ambition.

“Their three centre-backs, Ben White, Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk, were often looking around wondering if they would have a striker to mark. They looked comfortable in the knowledge only Salah would attempt to run beyond them.

“But when invited, Brighton sent more forward than usual Anfield visitors. By the time they took the lead, it was no shock. They had two of the better chances of the first half, Dan Burn scuffing his shot skyward from six yards after Neal Maupay teased Jordan Henderson on the edge of the penalty area, and then Maupay glancing a header wide in first half injury time from Pascal Gross' cross.

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay celebrates with Steven Alzate, after the Columbia international grabbed his first Premier League goal.

“Brighton went ahead on 56 minutes. Solly March's cross from the right bypassed Liverpool's backline as Burn sprinted unwatched along the left. The wing-back's header into the six yard box caused more indecision, allowing Alzate to make enough contact to beat the young Irish goalkeeper.”

Paul Joyce of The Times reached back into the archives to put the result into context. He wrote: “Brighton & Hove Albion prospered to claim only a second [league] win at Anfield, their first since Andy Ritchie scored in another 1-0 in March 1982, and to post a landmark triumph in Graham Potter's tenure thanks to Steven Alzate's goal.

“Potter's side are prepared to be patient in possession, building attacks, and if they do not usually create a multitude of chances then neither, of late, have they conceded many. There was little seen of Liverpool's forward line as Brighton's imposing defence negated the threat of Roberto Firmino and proceeded to push Xherdan Shaqiri to the periphery of proceedings.

“It was the away side who would conjure the breakthrough on 56 minutes, with Klopp's rearguard unaware of the danger. A cross from Brighton's right by Solly March reached the back post, where Trent Alexander-Arnold was completely unaware of the presence of Burn. He headed the ball across goal where a stretching Phillips touched the ball on to Alzate, and his effort looped inside the post from six yards, having first brushed his team-mate Leandro Trossard.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez kept a fourth consecutive Premier League clean sheet.

As The Sun's chief football writer, Charlie Wyett, pointed out, “you would have thought Liverpool - and in particular right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold - would have noticed the 6ft 7in Burn lurking at the far post.

“Yet Burn got his head to March's cross and while Phillips attempted the clearance, he merely ended up seeing his effort cannon off Alzate and into the net, albeit with that minor touch of Trossard.

“Ahead of the trip to his former home, [Adam] Lallana would have laughed had you told him he would be coming on with his team defending a 1-0 win. Liverpool's best chance came through Salah who just missed the target but the fact it came with 20 minutes left tells you everything you need to know. 

“Brighton were rewarded for their organisation and work-rate with one of their finest wins since arriving in the Premier League. It was a stunning team performance from Graham Potter's much improved team and Adam Webster was just about the pick.

“Brighton were excellent in the first half and the most bored man on the pitch would have been visiting keeper Robert Sanchez, who had absolutely nothing to do in the opening 45 minutes.”

10:17

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Extended Highlights: Liverpool 0 Albion 1

One of this column's favourite football writers, Tim Rich, who co-produced former Albion skipper Brian Horton's recent autobiography, compared Albion’s victory to that of Burnley in Liverpool's previous home game in The i. “Burnley's victory was a smash-and-grab raid. Brighton, who had not won at Anfield since their Goldstone Ground days, outplayed them,” he wrote.

“The last four managers to have won a league fixture at Anfield have curiously all been English and it is a fair bet that none oversaw victory more completely than Graham Potter.

“Burnley had ended the 68-match unbeaten run at Anfield by riding out the pressure and taking their chance. Brighton, naturally, aimed for something similar with the proviso that they are a much more sophisticated side than Burnley.”

The Daily Mail's Dominic King gave “Full credit to Brighton. They had not won at Anfield since 1982 and had not beaten Liverpool in any competition since 1984 but Steven Alzate's 56th minute goal was just reward for a performance full of grit and determination, in which their defenders never put a foot wrong.

By Paul Hazlewood
Trent Alexander-Arnold can only watch on as Dan Burn heads across goal, which Albion convert from.

“Klopp knew Brighton were opponents who could inflict maximum punishment if Liverpool were not at it from the start and the words he used to depict their threat at his Tuesday press conference were not hollow.

“Brighton set up to frustrate, with three central defenders, but there was nothing negative about their approach. Graham Potter had instructed his wing-backs to get forward whenever possible and the attractive way they kept the ball posed Liverpool questions.

“It made for an intriguing contest. Both sides were comfortable on the ball but whenever Liverpool looked to break, they found blue shirts blocking every avenue; Mo Salah epitomised the hosts' frustrations, flinging his head back in angst each time a pass to him was cut out.

“If anything, Brighton looked the team most likely to find a way through during an opening period that resembled a game of chess. Really, Brighton should have been in front in the 24th minute when Dan Burn found himself with only Caoimhim Kelleher, Alisson's replacement, to beat.

“Salah had Liverpool's best moment but was thwarted by an outstanding challenge from Lewis Dunk, who flung himself in front of the Egyptian's thumping shot, while the half ended with Solly March whipping a drive over the bar from 20 yards. 

“You sensed the longer Liverpool went without finding a way through, the more Brighton's ambitions would grow and so it proved in the 55th minute. The way Alzate forced the ball over the line may have been scruffy but everything that preceded it was high-class football.

01:46

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Alzate: I'm claiming the goal!

“There were a number of key moments in the move, from a glorious, back-heeled lay-off by Leandro Trossard to a dipping, curving switch of play by March, but it was Burn's header back across the six-yard box that caused panic and Nat Phillips could only divert his clearance into Alzate's body.

“For a spilt-second, Brighton's players didn't want to celebrate too much in case the joy-killer of VAR was brought into play but replays showed there was no need to be worry. As Potter and his coaches punched the air in delight, Klopp looked a man who realised his pocket had been picked.”

David Maddock of The Mirror, one of a number of Reds fans among the Liverpool-based football writers, put aside his own loyalties to praise the men in blue and white. “Brighton could have had more, the unlikely figure of Dan Burn spurning two amazing chances.

“They won though, thanks to a goal in the second half from Steven Alzate, the boy from Camden who plays for Colombia through his parents' nationality.

“He produced one of the biggest moments of his career so far, though he probably knew little about it as the ball looped up off him, perhaps even flicking up off Leandro Trossard to leave stand in Liverpool keeper Caoimhín Kelleher bemused.

“Kelleher was forced into two more decent saves, but It was Brighton's clean sheet that impressed the most, and their defensive resolve, with the three man central defence barely giving the home side a chance.

“The visitors had kept three consecutive clean sheets coming into this game - only the second time they've ever achieved that feat in the Premier League - and it was not hard to see why, each defender throwing everything on the line.”

In The Guardian, Andy Hunter wrote that “Brighton, defensively superb and dangerous whenever they broke, remained composed en route to a merited victory.

“Steven Alzate provided the winning goal courtesy of a huge strike of fortune, but the polished move behind it illustrated the confidence and style of Graham Potter's improving side. 'It was no accident,' said the proud Brighton manager. 'We deserved the three points. It wasn't like we parked the bus and nicked a 1-0 win. It was a performance of quality, courage and effort. I'm so proud of the players. It is a great result for everyone connected with the club’.”

02:22

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Potter: That was for the fans