Pascal Gross’ controversial injury-time penalty, awarded after a VAR intervention, gave Brighton a 1-1 draw against champions Liverpool.
With the game at 1-0 heading into stoppage time, Andrew Robertson was adjudged to have kicked the foot of Danny Welbeck in the box, and after going over to the pitchside monitor, Stuart Attwell awarded the spot-kick, despatched down the middle by Gross.
Brighton had already missed a first-half penalty – Neal Maupay struck a penalty wide after Neco Williams had brought down Aaron Connolly (20) – before Diogo Jota looked to have given Liverpool the victory, dancing past two challenges before finding the bottom corner (60), his eighth strike in eight Liverpool games.
The result means Liverpool return to the top of the Premier League for 24 hours at least, two points ahead of Tottenham and three ahead of Chelsea as they face off on Super Sunday. Brighton sit 16th with 10 points from 10 games.
How Brighton grabbed point in eventful clash
Liverpool started with energy, but Brighton’s game plan soon came into action as a simple long ball over the box caught out the Reds’ high defensive line. Maupay’s through ball found Connolly through on goal, but despite having time to compose himself, he poked wide of Alisson’s left-hand post.
Jurgen Klopp’s unfamiliar starting XI included right-back Williams, starting his first Premier League game of the season, and the youngster was at fault as Brighton were then awarded a spot-kick.
Initially losing out in a duel with Yves Bissouma, Williams was then drawn into fouling Connolly on the left of the box, with Stuart Attwell pointing to the spot. His blushes were spared, however, as Maupay struck wide from 12 yards, and to make things worse, was then subbed off with a hamstring injury.
Liverpool showed how they can punish teams in an instant as Roberto Firmino’s wonderful touch and volleyed ball over the top for Mohamed Salah found the Egyptian through on goal, and he did the rest by pushing the ball past the onrushing Ryan. However, VAR found that Salah’s foot was inches ahead of Brighton defender Ben White’s.
Jordan Henderson was introduced for Williams in the second half as Liverpool started to click, and they got their opener 15 minutes after the restart. Andrew Robertson found space on the left to fizz a ball square into Salah, who touched it off for Jota, and the forward brilliantly skipped two challenges on the edge, waiting for his opportunity to stick the ball in the bottom left corner.
For all the talk of clubs wanting a return of five substitutions, two early second-half changes were met with frustration – Brighton’s Connolly and Liverpool’s Salah looked irate at coming off – but subsequent injuries to Adam Lallana and then James Milner went some way to strengthening calls.
Brighton began to commit and nearly levelled as Solly March’s dangerous cross was nearly turned into his own net by Robertson, but after Sadio Mane’s headed goal was ruled out by VAR for offside, Robertson was in the spotlight in stoppage time as Brighton got their goal.
A seemingly innocuous kick from the Scot on Welbeck in the penalty area initially went unnoticed, but as VAR intervened, Attwell reversed his decision at the pitchside monitor, much to the annoyance of Robertson and Jurgen Klopp.
It was intriguing Liverpool line-up as Sadio Mane dropped to the bench, Mohamed Salah returned into the front three, while centre-back Joel Matip was out.
It was four changes from the 3-0 win over Leicester as Neco Williams came in at right-back with James Milner moved into midfield. Nat Phillips came in at centre-back alongside Fabinho, and in midfield Takumi Minamino played instead of the injured Naby Keita.
It was changes for Brighton as Joel Veltman replaced the suspended Tariq Lamptey, while Aaron Connolly came in for former Liverpool man Adam Lallana, who only made the bench.
It was another debatable decision, bringing the “clear and obvious error” rule into question again, but Gross succeeded where Maupay had failed, smashing down the middle for 1-1.
- Liverpool have gone unbeaten in each of their last 12 matches against Brighton in all competitions (W10 D2), with today’s draw ending a nine-match winning run against the Seagulls.
- Liverpool conceded two penalties in a single Premier League game for the first time since February 2018 versus Tottenham Hotspur.
- Diogo Jota has scored nine goals in his 14 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring eight goals in his last eight games for the Reds.
- Neal Maupay became the first player to start a Premier League game, miss a penalty, and be subbed off before half-time since Dennis Bergkamp against Derby in April 1998.
Liverpool now host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday evening at 8pm, before hosting Wolves at 7.15pm on Sunday night in the Premier League.
Brighton host Southampton on Monday Night Football at 8pm on December 7, live on Sky Sports Premier League.