The media review: Liverpool

What the newspapers and websites made of Saturday's six-goal thriller.

By Nick Szczepanik • 02 October 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Joel Veltman is the first to congratulate Leandro Trossard after he completes his Anfield hat-trick.

Albion’s dramatic 3-3 draw away to Liverpool in Roberto De Zerbi’s first game in charge contained a number of gifts to the reporters in the Anfield press box. 

Our third successive appearance without defeat in front of The Kop had so many facets that the assembled scribes had a rich vein of subjects to pick from for their intros, including of course the finishing of hat-trick hero Leandro Trossard.  But most went for a combination of the Italian head coach’s Premier League debut and the highs and lows of the match itself.

Perhaps Rob Maul put it best in the Sun on Sunday, writing: “Welcome to the Premier League, Roberto De Zerbi – this is really not a place for the fainthearted. Top-flight football in England can be cruel, crazy, unpredictable and delirious and the new Brighton boss discovered all of that and more in 90 madcap minutes. The Italian went through the full tumult of emotions in his first match in English football as Brighton took a 2-0 first-half lead, seemingly threw it away and then deservedly snatched a point at Anfield.”

Paul Joyce echoed the thought in the Sunday Times: “Brighton had always been confident Roberto De Zerbi’s adaptation to English football would be swift, yet they could not have expected the Italian’s managerial bow to encapsulate everything the Premier League has to offer.

“The sight of his new side swaggering into an early 2-0 lead, the majesty of their approach leaving Liverpool utterly befuddled, would be followed by the creeping fear that a see-saw afternoon was to end only in gut-wrenching disappointment.”

Daniel Orme pursued a similar theme on the Mirror website: “Roberto de Zerbi was handed a baptism of fire in facing Liverpool,” he wrote. “Should he have not been aware already, he now knows the task that faces him regarding life in the Premier League. For large portions of the game, it looked as though the Seagulls were on their way to a memorable victory only to see the game slip away from his side.


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PL Highlights: Liverpool 3 Albion 3

“It feels like Anfield is among those grounds to have seen most of the drama in the Premier League and that continued with Firmino's brace and Webster's own goal seemingly condemning the Seagulls to defeat, only for Trossard to step up in the closing minutes. De Zerbi might well need a heart rate monitor should he want to enjoy a long stint in the top-flight of English football.

“Since arriving at Brighton from Belgian outfit Genk in 2019, Trossard has regularly been one of the Seagulls' most consistent performers, but the wide man looks set to take his levels to even greater heights this campaign. De Zerbi will certainly be hoping that he continues his stunning performances as he aims to continue Graham Potter’s excellent work at the Amex Stadium.”

To the Mail on Sunday and Joe Bernstein for some match action: “There was extra anticipation at Anfield for Liverpool’s first league outing in 28 days but it was Brighton who started on the front foot without mourning the loss of manager Graham Potter to Chelsea.

“Brighton’s movement was brilliant around the box. Alexis Mac Allister fed Danny Welbeck and his backheel allowed Leandro Trossard to turn Alexander-Arnold, the luckless Liverpool defender stumbling onto the floor as Trossard finished crisply into the corner.

“It got even worse for The Reds after 17 minutes when Alexander-Arnold failed to chest down a clearance and Danny Welbeck nipped in take control.

“The former England forward broke forward and crossed low from Brighton’s left and Solly March played a sharp first-time ball into Trossard who struck home with a firm left-footer having been kept onside by Joel Matip.


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Hat-trick hero Trossard on thrilling Liverpool display

“It was the Belgian’s fourth goal of the season and celebrated wildly by De Zerbi and his staff on the touchline.”

Andy Hunter of the Observer wrote that “Leandro Trossard launched the Roberto De Zerbi era in style with a clinical hat-trick that earned Brighton a merited point at Liverpool. The Brighton forward scored the first treble by a visiting player at Anfield since Andrey Arshavin’s four goals for Arsenal in 2009 as Jürgen Klopp’s inconsistent team dropped valuable Premier League points for the fifth time this season.

“De Zerbi had wanted brave football and that is exactly what he got. The confident visitors were prepared to play through Liverpool’s press inside their own penalty area and thread inch-perfect passes through central midfield and shredded the home defence repeatedly as a result. But for a brilliant save by Alisson and a poor header from Danny Welbeck they would have been four goals ahead inside the opening 18 minutes and cruising before Firmino changed the complexion of the game.

Paul Joyce remarked that “De Zerbi had studied all of Brighton’s performances this season , but he still might have struggled to comprehend just what he was witnessing, so slick had they been.

“He would have recognised too that the failure to make the most of all those gilt-edged openings offered Liverpool hope where there should have been none. A shift in momentum appeared complete after 63 minutes when Alexander-Arnold sent in a corner that Sanchez succeeded only in punching straight at Webster, the ball bouncing in off his arm.

“Yet, having wriggled off the hook, Liverpool could not keep a foothold. Alisson had saved superbly to deny a Welbeck header, but Brighton remained patient and would glean their reward. Salah allowed Webster to step out of defence too easily and when substitute Kaoru Mitoma crossed from the right [left, surely?], the ball went through the legs of Van Dijk and Trossard made hay.”


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De Zerbi: I asked Trossard to score more goals!

Chris Bascombe, the Sunday Telegraph’s Merseyside man, concentrated on Liverpool’s failings, but found space to appreciate yet another battling Brighton performance at Anfield.  He wrote that “It took only 14 minutes of the De Zerbi era to reaffirm that the most courageous managers think they have worked Klopp’s team out.

“Trossard’s hat-trick could have been sealed long before his 83rd minute equaliser ended any chance of Klopp being consoled by Liverpool recovering from two goal deficit. The Belgian began with two accomplished finishes in front of away supporters only marginally less disbelieving than the Kop.

“De Zerbi deserves credit for doing his homework, although there are so many recent reference points available there is plenty of room for plagiarism should anyone wish to copy a tactical blueprint. Brighton accepted three of the gifts, their second and third ensuring there will be more scrutiny on Trent Alexander-Arnold as he lost possession to Welbeck in the build-up to the second goal before Solly March weighted the perfect pass for Trossard and was then exposed by substitute Kaoru Mitoma when he crossed for the late third.”

Finally, some credit to the supporters at the Anfield Road end from Gary Rose on the BBC Sport website, who wrote that “Brighton fans travelled in good numbers despite the distance and rail disruption to witness first-hand what a team under De Zerbi looked like.