Solly March doubles up as superb Brighton sink sorry Liverpool

Solly March scored twice as dominant Brighton beat Liverpool 3-0 in fine style

After flying so high last season Liverpool are now experiencing crashing lows. Defeat to an inspired, superb Brighton was the lowest yet. It was difficult to argue with Jürgen Klopp’s assessment that this was the worst performance of his tenure, perhaps his entire career.

“I can’t remember another one,” said his captain, Jordan Henderson, grimacing at a “a really tough day”. It had been a mournful performance from Liverpool, one of submission to a team moving into a different gear under Roberto De Zerbi. That their first two goals came from Solly March, who joined Brighton when a League One outfit, served to remind of the distance the club has travelled.

Moisés Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, together in midfield for the first time since 13 November, were dominant. Both South Americans have been lately linked with moves to Liverpool, where Klopp had opted for the midfield old guard of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho. A previous area of great strength has become one of serious concern. “In moments it looked too easy for Brighton, the organisation was completely gone,” said Klopp. “It was too easy. It was just too easy and you cannot get back in this game.”

For Brighton, regeneration appears rather easier. Leandro Trossard had fled the country after a fallout with De Zerbi though the manager afterwards said he was “ready to open the doors” to a rapprochement. Trossard’s teenage replacement, Evan Ferguson, a purebred striker rather than false No 9 and excellent here, is the latest demonstration that no individual is bigger than Brighton’s collective spirit.

It made for an uncomfortable Premier League debut for Cody Gakpo, the latest recruit to a Liverpool forward line wracked with injuries. He started at centre-forward, having made his reputation at PSV when coming in from the flanks. The presence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, ineffectual on the left of the trio, spoke to that lengthy casualty list.

Brighton began with the vigour they maintained throughout, former Red Adam Lallana to the fore. His midfield overrun, unable to cut off the supply lines to the flanks, where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were being exposed, Brighton by far the better exponents of the pressing game that made his name, Klopp glowered. On Liverpool’s right side, Kaoru Mitoma’s acceleration caused repeated problems. It took until the 26th minute for Liverpool to shoot on Brighton’s goal; Klopp raged as Mohamed Salah clanked his effort into the stand.

Had Mitoma’s finishing not been so hurried then Brighton should have been out of sight by the break. Fortune was also on Liverpool’s side when March was pulled down by Alisson for a Brighton penalty only for VAR to declare an offside.

Danny Welbeck celebrates Brighton’s third.
Danny Welbeck celebrates Brighton’s third. Photograph: Nigel Keene/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

That Liverpool entered the half-time tunnel level counted as victory in itself. No problem for Brighton, they began the second half as they ended the first but with an added cutting edge. Joël Matip’s pass was intercepted by Mac Allister before Mitoma was released to set up March.

The second was not long in coming. Ferguson received the ball with his head up, and March ran on between Ibrahima Konaté and Matip to score, celebrating with the fans behind the goal. “I love playing for Roberto De Zerbi,” he said afterwards. “He’s great. He puts his arm around you and tells you you’re a good player and maybe that’s what I needed.”

The feeling is mutual. “I have a fantastic team of fantastic players and for me it is an honour to work with them,” said De Zerbi.

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhone or the Google Play store on Android by searching for 'The Guardian'.
  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
  • In the Guardian app, tap the Menu button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
  • Turn on sport notifications.

Klopp made a 69th minute quadruple substitution that included the removal of Fabinho, Henderson, Matip and Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger legs in the form of Harvey Elliott and Ben Doak coming on, Naby Keïta and Joe Gomez joining them.

There were jeers when Elliott scuffed a shot wide but at least some attacking impetus had been found. And yet the greater threat still lay with Brighton on the counter. Danny Welbeck, on as a substitute and given time and space to juggle the ball in the opposition penalty box, gleefully scored the third to further drive home that Liverpool’s problems run deep. “It was horrible to watch,” said Klopp. “I don’t think anyone with a Liverpool heart enjoyed it for a second.”

Brighton were meanwhile having the time of their lives.


John Brewin at the Amex Stadium

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Leandro Trossard hits hat-trick as De Zerbi’s Brighton earn point at Liverpool
Brighton earned a thrilling 3-3 draw at Liverpool, with Leandro Trossard scoring a hat-trick and Roberto Firmino on target twice for the hosts

Andy Hunter at Anfield

01, Oct, 2022 @4:20 PM

Article image
Brighton sink 10-man Wolves thanks to late Pascal Gross strike
Pascal Gross scored a late winner for Brighton in their 3-2 victory at Wolves, who had Nélson Semedo sent off

Will Unwin at Molineux

05, Nov, 2022 @5:13 PM

Article image
Rampant Brighton ruin Graham Potter’s return by thrashing sorry Chelsea
Leandro Trossard was on target in a 4-1 win to give Roberto De Zerbi his first victory as Brighton manager and inflict a first defeat on Chelsea under Potter

Jacob Steinberg at the Amex Stadium

29, Oct, 2022 @4:14 PM

Article image
Manchester City sink Brighton thanks to Haaland double and De Bruyne stunner
Haaland was gifted his first goal and scored a penalty before De Bruyne made the points safe in the 3-1 win after the visitors threatened a comeback

Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium

22, Oct, 2022 @4:17 PM

Article image
Klopp blasts ‘really bad’ Liverpool as coach labels Brighton loss his worst
Jürgen Klopp said he could not recall a worse performance in his coaching career after Brighton’s 3-0 win continued Liverpool’s collapse

John Brewin at the Amex Stadium

14, Jan, 2023 @6:15 PM

Article image
Mohamed Salah strikes again as Liverpool edge past Brighton
Mohamed Salah scored his second goal of the season as Liverpool continued their winning start to the season with a 1-0 win over Brighton

Paul Wilson at Anfield

25, Aug, 2018 @6:33 PM

Article image
Liverpool 11 points clear despite Alisson red as Van Dijk sinks Brighton
Two headers from Virgil van Dijk gave Liverpool a 2-1 win over Brighton and put them 11 points clear at the top, despite playing a dozen minutes with 10 men

Andy Hunter at Anfield

30, Nov, 2019 @5:15 PM

Article image
Roberto Firmino on target twice as Liverpool fire five past Brighton
Emre Can opened the scoring for Liverpool as Jürgen Klopp’s men thrashed Brighton 5-1 away

Paul Doyle at the Amex Stadium

02, Dec, 2017 @5:08 PM

Article image
Mwepu and Trossard help Brighton battle back for draw at Liverpool
Enock Mwepu and Leandro Trossard goals cancelled out efforts by Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mané to give Brighton an impressive 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield

Andy Hunter at Anfield

30, Oct, 2021 @4:20 PM

Article image
Kaoru Mitoma strikes late again as Brighton deny battling Bournemouth
Kaoru Mitoma scored another late winner for Brighton to secure a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in the Premier League

Ed Aarons at the Amex Stadium

04, Feb, 2023 @5:14 PM