Luis the bold & what’s the point of VAR? – 5 talking points from Brighton 0-2 Liverpool – Liverpool FC

Liverpool are three points off Man City once more after a 2-0 win at Brighton made it eight Premier League victories in a row, with Luis Diaz standing out again.

Brighton 0-2 Liverpool

Premier League (28), Amex
March 12, 2022

Goals: Diaz 19′, Salah pen 60′


Diaz does the business…

Luis Diaz, what a player. Yes, we’ll probably say that a few more times.

He was exceptional in almost every way on Saturday, scoring one, showing tenacity and determination, showing skill and speed, showing intelligence and technique…and even recovering from a near-decapitation, which is always a bonus.

Diaz was the constant outlet for the Reds, especially on the counters or after defending set-plays, but his buildup work was again superb.

Klopp did really hammer him twice though: once for not getting a free-kick and then standing around complaining about it, then again for not squaring towards Jota near the end of the game.

His reaction both times was to put on a burst of speed, do some defending and get on with the game. Fast becoming a fan favorite and no surprise why.

…VAR does not

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 12, 2022: Liverpool's Luis Díaz lies injured after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Community Stadium.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton fans spent most of the second half complaining that the most marginalized decisions went against them, most of which were actually right to be Reds free-kicks.

But they seemed curiously oblivious to the most ridiculous officiating call of all going their way – no red card issued to Robert Sanchez.

Exactly how the goalkeeper was attempting to intercept the ball even if he hadn’t been three weeks slower than Diaz is anybody’s guess, but all his outstretched arms and legs managed to do was nearly chop the Colombian into multiple pieces.

It was a straight red. It was obviously a red. It’s actually totally understandable that the ref doesn’t see it, being at such speed and a collision from different directions, but this is completely what VAR is there for.

Another object failure of the system and the personnel.

Mo back on the scoresheet, but…

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 12, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shows manager Jürgen Klopp an injury as he is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Community Stadium.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was a big puff of the cheeks from Klopp when Salah’s penalty rattled the back of the net, straight down the middle.

Maybe it was the scoreline and the game on the edge, but maybe it was a bit more Salah-specific, too.

He’s had a week in the headlines again, not of his own making but of Klopp’s and his agent’s comments (or emojis).

Mo also missed two decent chances in the game and got a mouthful from the boss for not squaring instead of shooting in the first half, and this off the back of two big missed chances against Inter and now five games without scoring from open play for the Reds.

He has three penalties in that time, so the numbers keep ticking, but he’s still not quite where he was in the first half of the season – and we’ll hope it was absolutely nothing bad with his injury too, departing soon after scoring.

The perfect triangle

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 12, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) celebrates with goalkeeper Alisson Becker after the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Community Stadium.  Liverpool won 2-0.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joel Matip, Player of the Month and playmaker extraordinaire!

After his great goal recently, he also has a couple of assists to his name now after a brilliant pass for Diaz’s header.

Defensively he was great too, though: loads of headers clear, more than one occasion where he frustrated Maupay (who is a total pr*ck, by the way) and several late interventions to stop any hopes of a comeback.

On that same note, Alisson was required to make a great late save and had one or two quick rushes from goal to deflect any danger too, while of course, Virgil van Dijk completes that trio.

The No. 4 was exemplary with 99 percent of his touches and actions, just a few wayward passes and clearances which still came to nothing anyway.

He took the acclaim from the traveling Kop more than once, and looks in great shape right now.

Given impressive performances from Konate and Kelleher recently too, it’s not hard to suggest competition for places (and overall quality) having a really strong impact right now.

Keep the ‘cup finals’ going

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 12, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal from a penalty kick during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Community Stadium.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The way we talk about it all, it’s like we have 38 league ‘cup finals’ every season recently, which is a bit much. But even if it’s not quite as literal as that, the margin for error does remain almost next to nothing.

So, we have to beat Arsenal. And then Forest. And then all the other games and opponents afterwards.

Jurgen Klopp will no doubt rotate more heavily for some than others, but the lineups will all still be expected to manage the same outcome.

Win.

This is the run-in, this is the title charge and the silverware sprint and the entire meaning of the season, all in one non-stop, stressful collection of fixtures.

This is what we’re here for, what we want Liverpool to be involved in – and which there has to be real optimism in the Reds celebrating at least once more across the coming months.

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