Liverpool suffered one of the shocks of the season as they were beaten 1-0 by Brighton at Anfield on Wednesday evening.
Having gone nearly three years without a home loss in the Premier League, it was their second defeat at Anfield in the space of 13 days having lost 1-0 to Burnley less than a fortnight ago.
The Reds also failed to score at home for the third home league game in a row. It was a disappointing reality check after the scintillating performance against West Ham three days earlier, where we were assured that Liverpool were most definitely back to their best this time.
Their failure to score was once again down to their failure to break down a ‘lesser’ team who get men behind the ball and deploy a low block. Liverpool had just one shot on target, and this did not come until the 70th minute.
Having swept aside Crystal Palace in December, this failure to break down teams has become a real problem; Newcastle, West Brom, Burnley, Southampton, Manchester United and now Brighton have all taken points off them. For a team who have been ravaged by injuries defensively this season, it’s not actually at the back where they’re struggling.
In the prolonged absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, the unlikely pairing of Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson were probably the Reds’ best performers on Wednesday evening.
It’s unfortunate that Henderson has taken so competently to being a central defender, because what he gives defensively is such a big loss to Liverpool in midfield. The Reds’ defensive injury crisis has indirectly had a negative impact on their ability to attack.
Henderson’s presence in midfield is a real miss. During Liverpool’s 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace, he was magnificent, not just in the way he sprayed passes, drove Liverpool forward and got on the scoresheet himself, but in his willingness to drop into the full-back position to give Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold the freedom to tear forward.
Liverpool looked most dangerous against Brighton when Henderson was able to get his side in behind quickly with an instinctive long pass before the Seagulls were able to organise themselves defensively.
The Liverpool skipper picked out Mohamed Salah in the opening exchanges of the first half, the Liverpool forward getting in behind the otherwise imperious Dan Burn for about the only time all evening. He sent Robertson away in the second half with a similarly pinpoint, probing pass.
For all Henderson gives Liverpool defensively as cover at centre half, the Reds really miss him as the driving force in their midfield. Liverpool fans will be hoping their new centre half recruits can free Jordan Henderson.
Source From: 90min EN