The Media Review: Liverpool

The media outlets were impressed by Albion's comeback at Anfield.

By Nick Szczepanik • 31 October 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Enock Mwepu was Albion's Man of the Match in a terrific game at Anfield.

The regular occupants of the Anfield press box recognise good football when they see it – after all, they have witnessed plenty over the years, mostly from the home team.  

But like the paying spectators at that famous football ground, they are more prepared than most to acknowledge a good performance from the visitors. So there was plenty of justified praise for Albion’s display in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool, and for the manner of their comeback from a 2-0 deficit. 

As Andy Hunter wrote in The Observer, “the visitors fought back with style and belief in their methods to claim a merited draw. They never deviated from their positive approach, even when trailing 2-0 to goals from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mané, and richly deserved to reach half-time with renewed hope. Leandro Trossard’s second-half strike, after Enock Mwepu’s first Premier League goal, brought hope to fruition.

“The visitors could have been ahead one minute before Henderson opened the scoring when Trossard’s clever ball sent Solly March through on Alisson’s goal. March, completely unmarked on the left, had time and space to pick his spot but the Liverpool goalkeeper read his intention to save well.

“Alisson denied Brighton again when Bissouma broke from deep and sent a powerful, dipping shot towards the bottom corner. The Brazil international pushed the midfielder’s drive on to the post. He should have been beaten when Cucurella floated an inviting left-wing cross to Mwepu but the midfielder headed high over the bar.

“Mwepu made amends in superb style four minutes before the interval when Brighton’s patient build-up play stretched the defence and March found the midfielder in space 25 yards out. The Zambia international curled a stunning first-time finish over the back-tracking Alisson and into the top corner.


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Trossard on amazing Anfield comeback!

“Brighton were back in the game. In fairness, they never seemed to believe they were out of it. A flowing move brought them level when Cucurella found Adam Lallana and the former Liverpool midfielder, afforded a warm reception on his Anfield return, sent Trossard away from Van Dijk down the left of the area. Trossard cut inside Andy Robertson’s flying challenge and drilled his finish under the exposed Alisson – and Brighton handled Liverpool’s late pressure with ease to maintain their unbeaten Premier League away record this season.”

Chris Bascombe of the Sunday Telegraph was equally effusive, although his report would have made more enjoyable reading for Albion fans if he had not tried so hard to recommend manager Graham Potter to rival clubs. 

He wrote, “Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter embraced and gave each other a nod of approval at the end of this captivating draw. The mutual respect was already obvious before their latest meeting and confirmed in its aftermath. If anyone has lingering doubts as to whether Potter should be a serious contender for the biggest jobs in English football, they should watch a rerun of this game.


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PL Highlights: Liverpool 2 Albion 2

“Brighton won at Anfield last season, but their point here was more impressive. The easy assumption is Liverpool squandered a two goal lead and two precious points in the title race. As valid an analysis is they escaped with a draw.

“Two down, it was to Potter’s credit his side retained the belief and composure to not only earn their 2-2, but outplay their hosts for long periods of the second half, Liverpool occasionally run-ragged as they suffered without their midfield lynchpin Fabinho.

“The greatest compliment to Brighton is they occasionally reminded the Kop of Manchester City earlier in the season, unflustered in possession and prepared to play the risky forward pass, piling players forward in search of the win rather than retreat. As a blueprint to upset Klopp’s Liverpool, this has worked before. Not too many have the bravery to try it, particularly at Anfield.

“It did not look like paying off for Brighton when Liverpool dashed into a 2-0 lead courtesy of Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane. Then Enock Mwepu cut the deficit before half-time and Leandro Trossard struck the 65th-minute equaliser. It had been coming.  


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Potter: We played with such courage

“Brighton and Potter were a far more organised and formidable opponent than Manchester United. They had already threatened when Solly March forced Alisson Becker to save, and their determination to meet fire with fire ensured spaces to exploit at both ends. 

“Liverpool looked ready to score with each attack. Thrillingly for the neutral spectator, Brighton carried the same threat. It was immediately a brilliant game, each side exposing each other’s flaws.

“Brighton looked more likely to take the victory. They had the right to regret they didn’t. The scale of Brighton’s improvement - and the panache in which they play - proves Potter is the real deal.”

In the Sunday Times, Paul Joyce wrote: “Victorious here last term when the stands were empty, Brighton’s endeavour further validated the work of Graham Potter, who saw his side carefully adhere to his methods when other teams would have waved the white flag. 

“Brighton’s adventure was born out of resilience, given that they had trailed so early in proceedings. What appeared a yawning deficit did not faze his players. Shortly before the interval, the eye-catching March cut the ball back and Mwepu swept in an arcing shot. 

“The moment imbued Brighton with more confidence and the intelligence of their passing and movement was embellished by Trossard’s strike as Liverpool were pulled out of position.”


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Extended PL Highlights: Liverpool 2 Albion 2

In the Mail On Sunday, Joe Bernstein had his doubts about whether Mwepu intended to score Albion’s first goal but wrote that the point “was no more than the visitors deserved. While Mo Salah failed to score for the first time in 11 matches, Brighton could point to Yves Bissouma hitting the post and Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson having to make more saves than their own. 

“Klopp warned a week ago that his side had given up too many chances in victory at United and that happened again yesterday. Brighton always looked liable to score and eventually they did.

“Liverpool's luck finally ran out after 41 minutes when March slipped a pass to Mwepu who was outside the right-edge of the penalty area.

“The Zambian whipped a first-time finish Ronaldinho-style over the despairing dive of Alisson, who had ventured a couple of yards off his line, and into the top corner.

“Cynics may question whether Mwepu had intended to cross but the more charitable would like to think he'd spotted Alisson's starting position before trying an ambitious finish.

“Either way it was an eye-catching way to mark your first Premier League goal.

“Brighton started the second half period on the front foot and were relieved when Salah was given offside after converting Mane's pass.

“Most of the action was happening in the Liverpool half though. Lallana forced a save from Alisson and a concerned Klopp called over Trent Alexander-Arnold from the far side of the pitch to look at instructions from the coaching staff. 

“Brighton sent on Alexis Mac Allister for Bissouma after an hour to keep the momentum – and they deservedly equalised after 65 minutes.

“The move started with a pass by 'keeper Sanchez to Marc Cucurella. Then Lallana, who spent six seasons at Anfield, threaded a delightful ball into Trossard's feet and the Belgian kept his composure brilliantly to cut inside Andy Robertson's challenge and slot low past Alisson.

“Lallana got a nice ovation from The Kop – and applauded them back – as he made way for Pascal Gross with 14 minutes left. And the sporting Merseyside crowd showed their appreciation to Brighton at full-time for an impressive performance.” 

Frankie Christou of The Sun neatly referred back to the pre-match build-up, writing that “Graham Potter called Liverpool the best team on the planet before bringing them back down to earth.

“After waxing lyrical before the game about the Reds quality, Potter's side shackled Liverpool’s ego by clawing themselves back from two goals down.

“For the first twenty minutes, the Reds managed to start where they left off at Old Trafford as early goals from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane shocked the Seagulls.

“But by the end of the second half, Liverpool were camped on the edge of their box defending a point as goals from Enock Mwepu and Leandro Trossard levelled the score.

“For Brighton, It was a result they deserved after recent performances.

“Graham Potter seems every manager’s best mate after receiving plaudits from Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in successive weeks. But after bore draws over Norwich and Arsenal as well as a thumping by Man City, the Seagulls boss will know those compliments would soon fade if his side failed to bear the fruits of their labour.

“It is still no wins in five matches, but his side can host Newcastle next week knowing what they are capable of.”

On the BBC website, Neil Johnston looked at the stats. “Brighton continue to impress under Potter. Having won at an empty Anfield last season, they relished the full house surroundings, carving out nine attempts of which six were on target.

“They are moving in the right direction and now have 16 points from 10 games - six more than after the same number of games last season. Potter, meanwhile, will be confident his side can return to winning ways with matches against Newcastle, Aston Villa and Leeds on the horizon.”

Carl Markham of the Press Association also pointed out some pertinent facts about the scale of Albion’s achievement. “Brighton came closest of any opponent in six months to ending Liverpool's 24-match unbeaten run as Graham Potter's side recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Anfield.

“After last week's demolition of Manchester United, the sight of the hosts establishing what appeared a comfortable advantage after only 24 minutes thanks to Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane appeared to spell trouble for the Seagulls.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana received a warm welcome on his return to Anfield.

“However, pre-match Jurgen Klopp had said he expected a tough examination and that is what he got as Enock Mwepu's first Premier League goal just before half-time was followed by a Leandro Trossard equaliser and in fairness Brighton had better chances to win it from that point.

“Part of their success was becoming only the second team this season after Burnley - here in August - to stop Mohamed Salah finding the net as his 10-match goalscoring run was brought to a halt with his only chance seeing an effort ruled out for offside.

“Credit must go to the visitors, and their manager, who never cowered in the face of Liverpool's pressure and had by far the better of the second half to be fully worthy of their point.

“They are in good company as only title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City have left Anfield with anything other than a defeat this season and to have Liverpool's nerves jangling as they did in the last 20 minutes was an indication of how their focused and committed approach paid dividends.”