Klopp praises Liverpool ‘character’
– Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp praised the character of his Premier League leaders after a first-half double from Virgil van Dijk (right) lifted them 11 points clear despite the sending off of goalkeeper Alisson Becker in a 2-1 win over Brighton on Saturday.
The Brazilian was dismissed on 76 minutes as he raced out of his area to handle an attempted chip by Brighton substitute Leandro Trossard.
Spanish replacement Adrian came on but his first act was to pick the ball out of the net as Lewis Dunk rolled the free-kick past the Liverpool wall and an unprepared goalkeeper, setting up an anxious finale for the home side.
“We brought on a frozen goalkeeper,” said Klopp.
“Everybody sitting here is probably not warm yet so imagine you go out there in shorts, and really thin shirt and gloves that are not for keeping you warm!
“Then some people let the freekick happen like that, like a little bit sleepy.
“But we kept fighting – Adrian especially helped us with two really good saves but with cold feet he couldn’t kick the ball as far as he wanted.”
There was more drama, and anxiety from home supporters dreaming of seeing their team win a first league title in 30 years, in the closing stages.
Adrian saved well from a fierce Aaron Mooy shot before the Spanish keeper almost fumbled a Pascal Gross header over his own goal-line.
Still, thanks to Van Dijk, who is in contention for the Ballon d’Or award in Paris today, Liverpool had a sufficient cushion to survive.
With Liverpool having seen Manchester City draw 2-2 with
Newcastle moments before they kicked off at Anfield, it took 18 minutes for them to take a deserved lead after Gross fouled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain outside the Brighton area.
Trent Alexander-Arnold floated in the free-kick and Van Dijk rose above Adam Webster to head in his second goal of the season and first since the opening day.
It did not take as long for Van Dijk to wait for his third – six minutes to be precise – as Brighton failed to learn from conceding the opener and allowed the same combination to double the lead. – AFP