Liverpool title hopes tank quicker than the pound after Leandro Trossard hat-trick

Liverpool title hopes tank quicker than the pound after Leandro Trossard hat-trick - PA
Liverpool title hopes tank quicker than the pound after Leandro Trossard hat-trick - PA
  • A historic hat-trick from  Trossard stopped Klopp's men from kickstarting their title charge

  • Liverpool came from 2-0 behind after Firmino scored twice

  • Webster's own goal put the home side ahead but Brighton fight back

Liverpool’s title hopes are tanking quicker than the pound. So is their defence.

Leandro Trossard took his place in history by becoming the first visiting player to score an Anfield hat-trick in the Premier League since Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin in 2009. It was not enough to give the Roberto De Zerbi era the perfect lift-off at Brighton, but it further exposed the frailties of a Liverpool team which must rediscover its mojo before it can be considered a contender for this year’s biggest prizes.

Klopp’s heavy metal has momentarily given way to kamikaze football. For the neutral, this made for a thrilling spectacle as Liverpool recovered from being two-down after 14 minutes and secured a position of superiority only for Trossard to claim the match ball late on.

“Trossard is a crack (star player. A very good player,” said De Zerbi. “When he was in the national team I sent him a message that he has to increase the number of goals.”

Leandro Trossard's opening goal caught an imperfect Liverpool off-guard at pace - EPA
Leandro Trossard's opening goal caught an imperfect Liverpool off-guard at pace - EPA

Trossard’s hat-trick could have been sealed long before his equaliser ended any chance of Klopp being consoled by Liverpool’s fightback. The Belgian began with two accomplished finishes in front of away supporters only marginally less disbelieving than the Kop. Had Danny Welbeck headed in from six yards moments earlier, the sense of bewilderment at Liverpool’s sudden allergy to applying themselves when out of possession would have spread like an epidemic. Confusion did not recede when a combination of a Roberto Firmino double and Adam Webster’s own goal momentarily appeared to restore order in the second half.

As they often did under Graham Potter, Brighton arrived on Merseyside ready and able to go punch-for-punch.

De Zerbi charitably thanked Potter ‘for leaving him a great team’ but his adventurous approach reaffirmed the suspicion that an increasing number of coaches are finding ways to locate the weak links in Klopp’s arsenal, albeit they are being assisted by a serious deterioration since last summer.

There are too many recent reference points available for managers’ doing their homework, so there is plenty of room for plagiarism should anyone wish to copy a tactical blueprint.

There was predictability about the equaliser as Brighton targeted Liverpool’s right where Trent Alexander-Arnold was unable to provide a defensively sound performance to make Gareth Southgate squirm.

The right-back lost possession to Welbeck in the build-up to Brighton’s second goal and was then exposed by substitute Kaoru Mitoma when the Japanese international crossed for the late third, although at least two other defenders could have cleared. By that stage, Klopp acknowledged every cross into the Liverpool area was ‘causing a heart attack’, his gaze fixed on collective rather than individual responsibilities.

Going forward? Liverpool’s issues remain negligible, if structurally unstable.

Mohamed Salah could not summon his goal-scoring powers to see off Brighton - REUTERS
Mohamed Salah could not summon his goal-scoring powers to see off Brighton - REUTERS

With the ball they are still full of enterprise and clever movements, even if the Sadio Mane-sized hole remains when midfielders look up and see only Mohamed Salah darting into the penalty area.

As Salah demonstrated when creating for Firmino to reduce the deficit just before half-time, sometimes that can be enough. Firmino danced his way through a couple of defenders to make it 2-2 early in the second half. But when trying to retrieve possession Liverpool problems are plentiful - not so much gegenpressing as plain unimpressive.

There was a telling moment midway shortly after substitute James Milner won a 50-50 tackle in midfield when, having stopped fist-pumping, Klopp started gesticulating at Fabinho. It is a fair assumption he was telling the Brazilian that Milner had just done what he had not been doing enough. The anchorman is a shadow of himself, laboured and an absentee when runners collect the ball in front of Liverpool’s backline.

Liverpool players losing the first ball can be forgiven. The hesitancy in failing to challenge for the second is a greater concern.

By the closing stages, Liverpool looked shambolic, chasing a winner with a 4-2-4 formation and reduced to desperate long balls to 89th-minute substitute Darwin Nunez. Early conclusions are not advisable - and retrospective wisdom is the luxury of the pundit - but it is looking like the £85 million committed on a work in progress striker who is not ready to start may have been wiser invested in stabilising the midfield.

Every time Klopp thinks his side has turned the corner he encounters another cul-de-sac.

First the hammering of Bournemouth looked like it would ease early season rustiness. Then it was a Champions League win over Ajax to sweep away the debris of a heavy loss in Naples.

Now he faces more soul-searching to understand why his side looks so fragile, their football chaotically inconsistent. All the poise, panache and game management which made them Manchester City’s most likely challengers has gone.

Mikel Arteta will be salivating when he watches the video of this before next week’s meeting with Klopp. Arsenal could go 14 points ahead of Liverpool next weekend. Klopp needs to restore order before the title race is next back on the Anfield radar.

Liverpool 3 Brighton 3: As it happened

05:18 PM

Chris Bascombe's report from Anfield

... is now above the line. Thanks for following along this afternoon, in what was a thrilling start to the De Zerbi era.

05:07 PM

Leandro Trossard speaks

Obviously it's always nice if you can score but especially three at Anfield. We're disappointed not to get a clean sheet but it's good to get a point here. It's always tough.

We could have scored more of course, especially if you are 2-0 up but at the end I think we should be happy with a point. It was a great performance from us.

I love all fixtures but obviously this is a big game so you want to show yourself in the best possible way. Hopefully I can carry this form on.

[De Zerbi] tried to work a lot already this week on the technical stuff. You could see how passionate he is and I think we will have some good times with him."

Trossard celebrates his third - Phil Noble/Reuters
Trossard celebrates his third - Phil Noble/Reuters

05:04 PM

An impressive performance from Brighton

Not the three points that they arguably deserved to take from today's trip up north, but with a draw from spirited, high-pressure play not only strengthens their grip on fourth place, but marks a promising start to life under Roberto De Zerbi.

Per Opta, with his hattrick, Trossard becomes only the third opposition player to score three in the Premier League at Anfield, after Peter Ndlovu, then of Coventry City, and Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin. Astounding, on all fronts.

04:55 PM

Full time: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

A big kick from Sanchez flies deep into the Liverpool half as Brighton look for a late winner. Liverpool retake position, and go flying back up the pitch. Nunez on the run fouls a troublesome Veltman for a goal kick, the last of the game.

What a match: Liverpool should consider themselves lucky not to have dropped more points today.

04:54 PM

90+4 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Fabinho sends in a long cross from halfway inside the Brighton half, looking for Nunez head in the box, but to no avail. A goal kick for Sanchez, and Nunez can get his time in the sun, overturning Brighton's position to streak through the centre of the pitch.

As Liverpool advances, Dunk takes a knock, slowing down Liverpool's momentum as Milner waits on the sidelines for a throw-in, and running down the clock.

04:51 PM

90+2 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Alexander-Arnold takes the freekick, and he bends it perfectly - but Sanchez makes the save! With the tip of his fingernail, as he stretches for some late heroics. Brighton defends the ensuing corner well.

04:50 PM

90 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Liverpool hold on to possession in Brighton's half as the visitors look to lock up their draw. Salah's hand gets a glancing touch on a Liverpool shot, which is given as deliberate.

Change for Liverpool: Nunez on for Thiago. Brighton recapture possession, looking to move into the Liverpool half, but are stymied by the high-pressing home side.

Welbeck catches Fabinho 30 yards out, and it's a free kick for Liverpool. White-knuckle time for Brighton, with 5 mins extra on the clock.

04:47 PM

88 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Brighton have a throw-in in the Liverpool half as they look for their winner. But Salah makes the break this time, on the hunt for Jota. Jota sets up Diaz, but Veltman defends his attempt on goal capably.

04:46 PM

86 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Diaz falls in the box, grappling with Veltman, but play moves up the pitch, the referee not pausing to consider reassessing his decision. Jota goes looking for a way in from the left, but Webster keeps a lid on it, forcing the ball off for a throw-in.

Liverpool are crowding Brighton's half, looking for that winner. Milner takes a shot, but Sanchez leaps to collect it.

Mitoma gets the better of Alexander-Arnold on the break, and is overturned for his troubles. Yellow card for Alexander-Arnold.

The change finally comes: the heroic Trossard off for Lamptey.

04:44 PM

84 min: GOAL!!!! Liverpool 3 Brighton 3

Brighton hold possession, looking to cut through a clogged midfield. Welbeck is set up by Mitoma, as the Brighton players flow forward, and then comes the opportunity to level: Trossard picks up an excellent ball from Mitoma which Van Dijk can't even touch and blasts the ball past Alisson! Hattrick for Trossard!

trossard - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
trossard - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

04:41 PM

82 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Brighton enjoy some fast play in the middle of the field, Trossard coming on to link up with Mitoma, then Lallana, to whip the ball into Liverpool's half. But Alexander-Arnold defends well, and sets up Salah running back down the right wing.

Lamptey has put his jumper back on, Trossard looking comfortable. On the ball, March defends well against Salah, slipping in the box, to stop another Liverpool run.

04:39 PM

80 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Lamptey gets ready to come on and take Trossard's place. Trossard makes his way over to the sidelines as Liverpool take their corner.

Elliott plays it short to Milner, and Mitoma knocks his attempt into the box out of play for a throw.

04:38 PM

78 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Trossard goes down at the hands of Milner, who held back the player looking for a header. Trossard appeals for the foul, but the plea falls on deaf ears.

Jota looks fresh, and motors away for a Liverpool attack down the left. His attempt yields a Liverpool corner.

In the meantime, Trossard is down again, and this time, physios are looking at his knee, stretching him out on the pitch.

04:36 PM

76 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Off comes Firmino, unable to seal the hattrick, and on comes Jota. Brighton get Lallana on for Estupinan, who has played very well this afternoon.

Liverpool get a corner, Milner swinging in from the left. It's cleared by Brighton heads, but not far: Liverpool get several more bites, including an impressive bicycle kick from Elliott, but Brighton win the goal kick in the end.

04:34 PM

74 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Mitoma strikes into the Liverpool defence from the edge of the box, the ball next falling to Welbeck. Brighton keep looking for a way through, but Liverpool are holding up under scrutiny. Mac Allister crosses across the goalmouth, but Mitoma cannot control it in time.

Welbeck heads the ball towards goal off some smart play from Estupinan, but Alisson saves the ball out for a Brighton corner. The attempt is defended well by Van Dijk, and Salah gets the break. Estupinan has to hustle, muscling the ball out of play.

04:32 PM

72 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Elliott keeps the pressure up on Brighton, keeping possession in the attacking third. Liverpool nick the ball back off his quick play, and they reset all the way to Alisson.

Dunk clears a Liverpool attack, but not well enough to feed his teammates. Instead, Trossard profits up the field, setting up Mitoma, who dribbles down the left all the way to the box.

04:29 PM

70 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Thiago is fouled by Estupinan, already on a yellow card, who looks to have clipped the Spaniard as he twisted past him. Alexander-Arnold takes the free kick, just inside the Brighton half, quickly, and it travels nicely, but sways just wide of any real danger.

04:28 PM

68 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Mitoma picks up a valuable ball in the Liverpool half off some sloppy play from the match leaders. Both Welbeck and Trossard go for the ball at the front post, but neither can get the ball under control.

From Chris Bascombe, at Anfield:

As James Milner wins a crunching 50-50 tackle, Klopp furiously gesticulates to Fabinho as if to say ‘that is what you should have been doing’. Liverpool’s manager is far from happy despite the turnaround in this game. Nor should he be.

04:26 PM

66 min: Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Change for Brighton, Gross off for Mitoma. The momentum is entirely with Liverpool now, and Brighton will have to keep cool heads after a disappointing own goal.

04:23 PM

63 min: GOAL!!! Liverpool 3 Brighton 2

Gross mops up Alexander-Arnold's saved attempt, drawing the action back to Liverpool's half. The home side retake possession, Alexander-Arnold collecting a pass on the right wing which he runs down for Diaz. Veltman has to defend well, out for a corner.

And Diaz gets his goal! The goal may go down as an own goal, having sprung off Webster instead of Diaz's head, as first thought. Brighton could have set up much better there, but Anfield, now in full voice, are delighted at this turn of events.

04:20 PM

60 min: Liverpool 2 Brighton 2

Brighton look to chip through Liverpool's defence, trying first via Estupinan, then Webster. Estupinan gets another chance moments later, looking to set up Welbeck in the box, but the pass is misjudged.

04:18 PM

58 min: Liverpool 2 Brighton 2

A lovely pass from Diaz in the centre of the field ends up with Tsimikas, who goes looking for a chance in the box. Sanchez leaps to save it.

Changes for Liverpool: Milner comes on for Tsimikas, and Elliott for Henderson.

04:17 PM

56 min: Liverpool 2 Brighton 2

Diaz has been a game changer in the ten minutes he's been in the pitch, which Liverpool looking much more assured and sharp out of possession.

On the sidelines, Elliott and Milner warm up, getting ready for their introduction.

Another big chance for Liverpool! Alexander-Arnold sets up a great play in the middle of Brighton's half, and Firmino clips the result off his head in the box. Sanchez makes a great save to deny him his hattrick.

04:14 PM

53 min: GOAL!!! Liverpool 2 Brighton 2

Brighton try and hold possession for a run, and Estupinan looks to set up March in the box. But quick as a flash, Diaz runs down the left to play into the box for Firmino - and he gets the shot off!

Veltman has a terrible time trying to stick to Diaz, and when Firmino has the ball at his feet, the goal comes easily, the ball burying itself in the right bottom corner.

firmino - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
firmino - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

04:11 PM

51 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Diaz plays to Alexander-Arnold on the right, who sets up Diaz again. Seeking out Firmino, the Brazilian's shot is blocked by Webster, who has been very reassuring for Brighton today.

Estupinan plays up the field on the left, and Caciedo outsmarts his Liverpool tail, but Alisson can make an easy save. The ball flies up the field, Thiago driving play back into the Liverpool half, but Estupinan gets back in time to defend well.

04:09 PM

49 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

But Brighton have something to say too, Gross streaking through the middle looking to distract Liverpool against the run of play. Defensively, Liverpool lock up to keep their opponents out.

After a Liverpool counter, Brighton break them up, Trossard running in hope of that third goal. This is zippy, end to end stuff.

Chance for Salah - a slim one - Firmino flicking forward to Salah on the edge of the box, but the pass is over-hit and skids past him. Within seconds, Brighton mount the attack, making in-roads in the Liverpool half.

04:07 PM

47 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

A loose ball which Sanchez moves slowly to scoop up attracts a buzzing Firmino. Liverpool have come out fired up as they look to restore parity in this match.

04:06 PM

Second-half: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

A change for Liverpool, Diaz on for Carvalho and Liverpool, within seconds of the whistle blowing, put Brighton under pressure on the right wing, Diaz looking feisty. Brighton bundle the ball out for an early corner which bounces cleanly into Sanchez's arms.

04:04 PM

Opta notes

... that Leandro Trossard is the first player to score a first-half brace at Anfield since October 2008.

trossard - Peter Powell/Shutterstock
trossard - Peter Powell/Shutterstock

03:59 PM

Our man at Anfield, Chris Bascombe

Another highly unusual first half from Liverpool - horrendously inefficient when out of possession. Brighton look dangerous with every attack, but the Firmino goal to reduce the deficit changed the complexion before half-time. The broader concern for Klopp has to be how easy Brighton are beating Liverpool’s high press - reminiscent of Napoli last month.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will need to tighten up his defensive capabilities for Liverpool in the second half - Phil Noble/Reuters
Trent Alexander-Arnold will need to tighten up his defensive capabilities for Liverpool in the second half - Phil Noble/Reuters

03:51 PM

Half-time: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Liverpool make a final attack, Tsimikas again looking for space down the left wing, but there's no time: the whistle blows, and Liverpool will hope a team talk proves the difference in the second half. Brighton have been allowed to really punish Liverpool in this first half.

03:49 PM

45+2 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Liverpool get a strong chance, Salah sending a well-timed cross over a packed box, but the chance in is ably defended with a volley from Estupinan.

Brighton look to run down the clock, slowing a throw-in.

03:47 PM

45 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Estupinan picks up an excellent long ball on the left, keeping the ball in play with a dipped header. As he attempts to play an attack, Salah intervenes, the ball glancing off him to gift Brighton a free kick.

The area is enticing, but March's ball is well defended by Liverpool. Brighton keep possession, however, looking for another to round out the half.

Estupinan sets up Gross in the box, and there's some very messy defending as Van Dijk looks to tip over Dunk in front of goal awaiting the cross. No penalty, nor should there be.

3 minutes added time.

03:44 PM

43 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

March keeps out Tsimikas on the left, who looks for a way in. When Liverpool move the ball back for a different route in, their advance finds the box, and a fracas between Estupinan and Salah stops the run and fells both players. No calls for a penalty, however.

Liverpool have been slower in the past few moments of the match, as the first half comes to a close.

03:42 PM

41 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Alexander-Arnold runs down the right, looking for Salah who twists and turns into the box. Carvalho is the one with the shot on the edge of the box, but Brighton defends well, and Sanchez can make a straightforward save.

Alexander-Arnold is caught out in possession again, this time on Brighton's right wing as Brighton look to make gains in Liverpool's half, but the ball is won back quickly. Liverpool try and hold possession in Brighton's half, looking for a chink in Brighton's armour.

03:40 PM

39 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Liverpool have had the lion's share of attempts, but Brighton's have all been shots on target, still looking the more clinical and efficient of the sides.

In the left corner, Tsimikas sends in a well-timed cross, looking for Alexander-Arnold in the box, but Estupinan gets to volley the shot out. Alexander-Arnold tries to respond, but the chance is lacking.

03:38 PM

36 min: Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

A long delay for VAR there, which proved frustrating for the flow of play, but Liverpool would have waited even longer for the same result. By a fine margin, Salah was onside, and Liverpool can try and climb back into the game.

Alexander-Arnold tumbles Trossard, twisting past him to restore Liverpool's possession. Salah gets the ball in the middle of Brighton's half and fires the ball towards goal on the edge of the box. The shot gets a lot of air over the cross bar.

03:35 PM

34 min: GOAL!!! Liverpool 1 Brighton 2

Liverpool pin back Brighton to their own half, but with a succession of throw-ins, Brighton can gain some ground. Welbeck gets his pocket picked by Tsimikas, however, and Liverpool are able to advance.

Liverpool think they have their goal but the flag goes up! Salah tricks the ball away Sanchez, off his line, to bypass the Brighton defence and set up Firmino. Firmino strikes cleanly into the back of the net.

It goes to VAR, looking at Salah collecting that initial ball... tension rises. And the goal is given!

03:33 PM

32 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

A huge missed chance for Liverpool, with Sanchez playing heroically to maintain their lead. Out of the melee in the box, a toe poke to Salah forces him to shoot at close range, but Sanchez buckles to deny the ball.

Alexander-Arnold takes the corner, which dips into Sanchez's gloves.

Roberto Sanchez makes a breakneck save to deny Mohamed Salah - John Powell/Liverpool FC
Roberto Sanchez makes a breakneck save to deny Mohamed Salah - John Powell/Liverpool FC

03:31 PM

30 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

Van Dijk mistimes a simple pass to Alexander-Arnold on the right, kicking the ball out to the touchlines. Estupinan takes his time with the pass, eliciting whistles from the crowd, and eventually the referee. He's awarded the first yellow card of the match for time-wasting.

Liverpool are first to profit off the throw-in, Firmino nicking the ball to look for a route in through the centre.

Salah gets a chance in the box but can't quite find Firmino, in a run of imperfect play for the home side.

03:28 PM

27 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

Trossard takes a terrific ball up on the right, pushing up past Alexander-Arnold after overturning a Liverpool attack in his half. Alexander-Arnold eventually pushes the ball out, but Brighton are high up within the Liverpool half.

Liverpool can break, Salah on the left spilling forward to set up Firmino. Liverpool look for an angle in before Thiago, in the centre, looks to cross into the box, but he overweights his shot and it flies out of play.

03:26 PM

From Chris Bascombe at Anfield

Liverpool’s defence has not turned up. Brighton two up after 14 minutes. It could easily have been four but for Alisson Becker. Both Brighton goals also have come down Liverpool’s right, Alexander-Arnold caught in possession in the build-up to Trossard's second. Anfield in a state of shock as Brighton fans sing ‘we’re gonna win the league’.

03:26 PM

24 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

Liverpool look far messier and prepared for pockets of opportunity than Brighton. March keeps Tsimikas under pressure as he jauntily plays forward, but Alisson can scoop the ball up and evade trouble.

Salah picks up a ball in the middle of the Brighton half, to set up Alexander-Arnold on the right. He crosses to Carvalho, who goes for goal, but Veltman defends well for a Liverpool corner which comes to nothing.

03:23 PM

22 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

Quick as a flash, Brighton are on the attack again, Estupinan picking up a travelling ball on the left wing. Van Dijk has to forcefully defend the ensuing attack out for a corner, which Gross takes, with little reward.

03:22 PM

20 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

These opening twenty minutes have set up perfect start for De Zerbi, but now his side have a corner to defend, Alexander-Arnold sending the shot into the box. All of Brighton defend to keep Liverpool out, and they push them back incrementally.

Brighton give away a foul, and there's an opportunity halfway inside the Brighton half, with Tsimikas taking the free kick. Alexander-Arnold pulls the ball down when it rebounds, and he sends a wild volley way past the far post.

03:19 PM

17 min: GOAL!!!! Liverpool 0 Brighton 2

Liverpool are yet to thoroughly break Brighton down, and their chances go wanting.

But Brighton's don't! The moment Liverpool show weakness, Brighton capitalise, marauding down the pitch. Estupinan finds March through the left passage, and Trossard in the box plays a terrific left-footed goal speeding through Alisson's gloves.

A second for Trossard - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
A second for Trossard - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

03:16 PM

15 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Salah, weaving down the centre of the pitch and off to the right, shifts passed Webster as he makes for the box, curling the ball in, but Sanchez gets to the ball to make the save.

Firmon fouls Estupinan on the touchline, and Brighton can take possession to set up their own run, Gross sprinting down the right of the pitch. Collecting, Trossard in the centre sets up a running Gross coming in from the right, but he doesn't quite get his shot off for an easy save by Alisson.

03:14 PM

13 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Brighton are on the run again, Trossard and Gross teaming up to scythe through the Liverpool defence. Alisson is forced into making a front-footed save, coming forward to keep out Welbeck. Without his quick thinking, Welbeck would be on the scoresheet.

03:13 PM

11 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Brighton look to go 2-0 up, as Welbeck leaps up to overcome Matip and power a header down for Alisson to save. The Brazilian stretches to muffle the strong chance.

Brighton are looking handy here, with Liverpool under pressure. But Klopp's men have the possession, and with it, an opportunity for another attack. Firmino in front of goal goes for the target, but he's too late, and Sanchez gathers the save quickly.

03:11 PM

9 min Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Salah takes a magnificent run down the right to set up his teammates clogging up the box with a cross from the right corner flag, but Brighton defend the onslaught well.

Pushed back, Alexander-Arnold takes the throw-in from the Liverpool half to set up an attack on the left. Carvalho looks to trouble Sanchez, chipping the ball over him from the edge of the box, and whilst the shot loops over Sanchez, Brighton look a little sleepy to have allowed Carvalho a try.

03:08 PM

7 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Liverpool seek an immediate response, Firmino moving at speed into the box. He fires, but Sanchez is unruffled, saving comfortably for a goal kick.

Caicedo picks up the ball in midfield, resetting to Dunk. Liverpool disturb a brief run of possession, but cannot unpick Brighton, moving back instead for a kick from Alisson.

Tsimikas gains territory in the Brighton half, but is quickly shut down.

03:06 PM

5 min: GOAL!!! Liverpool 0 Brighton 1

Brighton draw first blood! Trossard picks up a lovely take from Caicedo in front of the box, running in with good pace but largely untroubled by Alexander-Arnold, to slot coolly past Alisson.

A dream start for the visitors.

Alisson cannot get the better of Trossard's shot for Brighton's opener - Phil Noble/Reuters
Alisson cannot get the better of Trossard's shot for Brighton's opener - Phil Noble/Reuters
A start to remember for incoming manager De Zerbi - Phil Noble/Reuters
A start to remember for incoming manager De Zerbi - Phil Noble/Reuters

03:04 PM

3 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 0

The ball is sent back from Dunk to Webster, as Brighton look to hold possession, paddling the ball around in their half. Liverpool buzz around them, seeking the mistake and playing their opponents under pressure.

Estupian tries to play up the left wing, but Salah nicks the ball back from him. Firmino fouls Caicedo, for a Brighton goalkick.

03:02 PM

1 min: Liverpool 0 Brighton 0

Henderson kicks off for Liverpool, taking the early opportunity to get into Brighton's half. Firmino sprints down the middle of the pitch, seeking Tsimikas, but Brighton able to shut down the first advance by the home side.

Thiago brings down March in the centre of the pitch, to set up a Brighton freekick.

03:01 PM

The whistle blows

... and we're underway!

02:56 PM

Less than five minutes to go

As the players wait in the tunnel at a bright and sunny Anfield.

02:54 PM


A bright start to the season, coupled with the mythic new manager bounce? I think Brighton could get something today.

But an international break, as well as pre-break postponements, may have allowed Liverpool to draw a line under their shaky opening form. They remain a hard team to bet against.

lfc tattoo - Simon Stacpoole/Offside
lfc tattoo - Simon Stacpoole/Offside

02:45 PM

Roberto De Zerbi speaks

I feel good, but I have my focus only on the game, only on my players.

Liverpool is a great team, but I can think only of my team. I believe in my players, I think we can [have] a good game, we can play well.

02:36 PM

Half an hour to go at Anfield

mo salah  - Lindsay Parnaby/AFP
mo salah - Lindsay Parnaby/AFP
liverpool anfield - Peter Byrne/PA
liverpool anfield - Peter Byrne/PA
dog anfield lfc - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
dog anfield lfc - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

02:33 PM

How Pep Guardiola shaped new Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi

“Guardiola’s football, I think it is unreachable,” said De Zerbi at his unveiling in Brighton on Tuesday. But that does not mean he will not try, and the 43-year-old has certainly come closer than most other managers in his attempts to impose a similarly dominant style of play on his teams, most recently at Shakhtar Donetsk.

A quarter of the Premier League's managers have now been significantly influenced by Guardiola. Read Sam Dean's report on the relationship between Guardiola and De Zerbi - and what it means for Brighton - here.

02:27 PM

The Premier League table - as it stands

A win will take Liverpool into fifth, whereas Brighton have the opportunity to strengthen their fourth place standing, unable to leapfrog Tottenham - points-less at the hands of a routing by Arsenal this afternoon.

02:23 PM

Chris Bascombe is at Anfield

New LFC mural a work in progress as part of Anfield Road Stand expansion. LFC’s great strikers past, present and - in the case of Darwin Nunez -  the artist hopes the future. Can the striker start justifying such faith? He will have to be patient as he starts on the bench again this afternoon.

lfc mural - Chris Bascombe
lfc mural - Chris Bascombe
lfc mural - Chris Bascombe
lfc mural - Chris Bascombe

02:19 PM

How Brighton will line up

Roberto Sanchez (GK), Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk (c), Solly March, Alexis Mac Allister, Leandro Trossard, Pascal Gross,  Danny Welbeck, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan, Joel Veltman

Substitutes: Steele, Lamptey, Colwill, Lallana, Sarmento, Enciso, Unday, Mitoma, Gilmour

Unbelievably, Brighton have not played since September 4. There's only one change from that XI, due to Enock Mwepu returning from the international break unwell, which leaves room for Estupinan to start.

Adam Lallana and Tariq Lamptey also returned from international duty with injuries, making the bench for De Zerbi's debut.

02:11 PM

Liverpool's starting XI this afternoon

Alisson (GK), Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson (c), Thiago Alcantara, Fabio Carvalho, Mohamed Salah, Firmino

Substitutes: Adrian, Gomez, Milner, Elliott, Jota, Diaz, Nunez, Arthur, Phillips

Three changes from the line-up that faced Ajax in Liverpool's last match before the international break, with Henderson in for Harvey Elliot, Carvalho for Luis Diaz, and Firmino replacing Diogo Jota.

Diaz, Jota and Nunez had a delayed start to training after their return from the international break, largely due to the distance they had travelled. Andy Robertson, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita were all ruled out by Klopp yesterday due to injury.

Darwin Nunez will start on the bench against Brighton - Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC
Darwin Nunez will start on the bench against Brighton - Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC

12:20 PM

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage as Brighton travel to Anfield to play Liverpool, for their first match under new manager Roberto De Zerbi.

De Zerbi took over at the club on 18 September, ten days after their transformational coach Graham Potter officially inked a deal to manage Chelsea, to mark a new dawn for the London club under their months-old American ownership. Potter's three-year spell marked a sea-change for Brighton, last year coaching the team to their highest-ever Premier League finish of ninth alongside a record points tally.

Brighton have had a sparkling start to the season, and currently sit fourth, in contention for Champions League football. As much as things can, and will, change as the season - only a quarter played - goes on, the team's intention-setting in the league is a testament to Potter's playing philosophy and eye for talent.

Roberto De Zerbi has to follow an era-defining coach for Brighton, Graham Potter - Gareth Fuller/PA
Roberto De Zerbi has to follow an era-defining coach for Brighton, Graham Potter - Gareth Fuller/PA

As such, his departure may have struck fear into the hearts of even the most hardy Brighton fans. But in De Zerbi, there is a sense that the club has tracked down another progressive manager with a knack for overachieving at smaller clubs, such as Sassuolo, who can continue in the vein of the club's new ethos.

But Anfield is a difficult place to go looking for your first result, and Jurgen Klopp's side will be looking to get their season back on track after a lacklustre start should they have any hope of challenging for the title.

In his pre-match press conference yesterday, Klopp underscored the importance of the next six weeks.

"We didn't have the start we wanted. For explainable and unexplainable reasons. That's now gone. Here we go, collect points back."

If the Liverpool manager makes the task for his team sound mercenary and mechanic, it may have something to do with the conveyor belt of fixtures that Liverpool will undergo throughout a clogged October and early November. They will go no more than four days between matches before the Premier League breaks for players to begin preparations for the World Cup in Qatar.

We'll kick-off at 3pm with what should be a match full of needle. Will momentum shift towards Liverpool? Or is the De Zerbi era fated to start with a bang?