The sight of Jurgen Klopp arguing angrily with Fabinho on the touchline illustrates exactly where Liverpool are at the moment.
Klopp had just seen his men come back from two goals down to take the lead through Adam Webster’s shambolic own-goal and the Kop was in full voice for the first time all afternoon. But then the Liverpool manager spotted Fabinho failing to do his job after Brighton had broken dangerously on his team for the umpteenth time.
The Brazilian got it in the ear – and responded by giving his boss a little bit back before realising that sometimes it’s better just to take one for the team. You would imagine Klopp would have had plenty more to say in the dressing room after Leandro Trossard had dug out an equaliser for Brighton with his third goal of the game.
And it wouldn’t have just been Fabinho who was in for a rollocking. Defensively, the Reds were a mess – and not for the first time this season.
They conceded the first goal for the fifth time in seven Premier League games. They have already dropped 11 points. Klopp might not yet be at a stage where he’ll require Alisson to get himself on the scoresheet to rescue his top-four ambitions, but the fact that Liverpool are level on points with Everton will at least put a smile on some Scouse faces.
Alisson needed to do what he does best just to claim a point. The Brazilian ‘keeper was his team’s outstanding performer by some distance.
Brighton have lost a manager since they thumped five past Leicester in their last game almost a month ago, but Graham Potter’s legacy appears safe in the hands of Roberto De Zerbi.
The Italian clearly has something about him. He was in charge of Shakhtar Donetsk when Russian tanks came rolling across the Ukrainian border in February, but refused an offer to be evacuated.
Albion deserved more than a point and the match ball given to Trossard to mark a quite fabulous hat-trick. There was a touch of shock and awe about the way Brighton went on the offensive from the first whistle to score twice inside the first 18 minutes.
Trossard gave Alisson no hope with two carbon-copy finishes into the corner, and they could have been five clear by the time Roberto Firmino dragged the home side back into the contest just after the half-hour mark.
Danny Welbeck was wasteful with a free header from six yards that didn’t carry the power or precision to beat Alisson. Trosaard was denied by the Brazilian’s anticipation and uncanny ability to stick out a size-10 boot at just the right time.
And even the rocksteady Virgil van Dijk was so unnerved that he sliced a clearance desperately close to his own goal. But then Mohamed Salah steered a pass into the path of Firmino to score with a clever finish. Salah looked offside, but a VAR check showed that he’d been played on by Webster’s heel.
Webster’s afternoon would take another turn for the worse after Klopp sent Luis Diaz on at the start of the second half; the Portuguese winger took just nine minutes to set up Firmino for an equaliser that was brilliantly taken.
Liverpool needed some good fortune to go ahead as the otherwise outstanding Robert Sanchez flapped at Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner and saw his weak punch bounce off Webster’s shoulder and over the line. Sanchez would later get a pat on the back from a posse of team-mates after pushing Alexander-Arnold’s added-time free-kick around the post.
With Klopp looking like a nervous wreck on the touchline, Alisson once again came to his team’s rescue by pawing out another Welbeck header from close-range. When Trossard equalised seven minutes from time, the Brazilian intervened again.
But the Belgian just got enough power on his shot as he arrived at the far post to meet Kaoru Mitoma’s cross and the ball flicked off Alisson’s fingers and in off the crossbar.