[Brighton 2 – 2 Liverpool].

I’m breathless just from having watched this one. I can’t imagine how the players must feel. Albion’s Baleba most visibly ran out of gas at the end, but others were dragging their feet. The tempo and intensity were typical of both teams at the current moment, and it resulted in an excellent experience for us fans.

Sadly, it ended in a draw, when in reality Liverpool could have put the game to bed early on in the second half, coming back from behind to their favorite 3:1 scoreline no less. That Gravenberch miss joins a couple of others in previous games in already marking this as the season of shocking misses. The cross to him from Szoboszlai was perfectly weighted for a tap in; excitement, nervousness, or perhaps both, took the better of him, and the ball cannoned off the crossbar instead. Failing to score the third would prove expensive when we were treated to a silly, painful equalizer, as Robbo fell asleep on a clever free kick and Lewis Dunk didn’t even say thank you before slotting it home.

At least we had Salah, who gave a cool, level-headed performance, and added two more to his ever-growing, impressive Reds tally. The first one is notable in that, even though the assist goes to Nunez, it should go to Harvey instead; I know few attacking players who would have been as aware and team-minded as he was in leaving that ball to the Egyptian, who indeed was in the better position to score. It was a lovely setup all around. Salah’s penalty was simple and effective, as they usually are.

Brighton’s early goal from youngster Adingra was excellent, and they have an exciting prospect on their hands there; we’ll see how long he stays with them. The Albion really are enjoying themselves under De Zerbi, and it shows. I also find it worth noting that ref Anthony Taylor did a reasonable job even though he had the opportunity to lose control of the game. That this is worth noting is in itself worth noting… and I’ll leave it at that.

Let’s turn now to a couple of individual performances. Mac Allister was more at fault for the first goal than was Van Dijk with the pass (although the latter doesn’t escape blame); he still doesn’t look comfortable in the 6 role. In the second half, though, he made a key change in the way he received passes from the back, and repeatedly found himself on the front foot as he turned around the press. That took pressure off the Reds, and Mac Allister certainly looked better going forward. Alisson provided another hallmark instinctive save that looks better on every replay. And his terrible miss aside, Gravenberch’s early displays have been really good, as he brings a new kind of energy to the midfield, similar to what Diaz has been doing on the wing.

Which leads right into my choice of man-of-the-match, likely another surprise choice. For his defensive display of all things, Trent Alexander-Arnold should be proud of his shift today. He was in the right place at the right time to kill at least three extremely dangerous attacks, and took the right action in every instance. He didn’t put a foot wrong in other situations where, in the past, he would have been made to look the fool. His situational awareness was markedly improved. Something’s going on with his individual training, because I found myself repeatedly experiencing an “oh no” immediately followed by an “oh my” when I saw Trent in these positions. Great stuff from our captain.

Ultimately, a draw was a fair result in a game that could have easily gone either way. As a spectator, I could watch these two teams going at it all day; can’t ask for much else, really. As a Reds fan, I would have liked two more points, but can’t really feel aggrieved.

And the refs didn’t ruin it for once.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
  1. The Drought
  2. Let's Stare At The Eclipse
  3. Generational Dutch Oven
  4. Build-A-Manager
  5. Patreon Days