Dy­che grat­i­tude at gifted points

Sunday Express - - PREMIER LEAGUE - By MATCH FACTS Jim Holden Amex Sta­dium

TALK about shoot­ing your­self in the foot when pre­cious points mean life or death in the Premier League.

Burn­ley didn’t have one shot on tar­get in the whole 90-plus min­utes of this base­ment bat­tle but still came out win­ners to climb ner­vously and nar­rowly away from the dan­ger zone.

Own goals from Joe Bryan and De­nis Odoi put Sean Dy­che’s men on track for vic­tory after An­dre Schur­rle had opened the scor­ing with a scorcher to give Ful­ham an early lead at a ground where their last win in the top flight was back in 1951.

Burn­ley couldn’t be­lieve their luck in record­ing their third suc­ces­sive league win.

But Ful­ham boss Clau­dio Ranieri, whose team are yet to win away this sea­son, said: “We never give up.”

Burn­ley boss Dy­che said: “It’s strange we didn’t have a shot on

Burn­ley 2 Ful­ham 1 Steve Mil­lar

tar­get but you have got to find a way to win.

“I think that’s the pleas­ing thing to win games which are re­ally tight.

“I can un­der­stand Clau­dio’s frus­tra­tions but I don’t think they asked that many ques­tions.”

MO SALAH twisted and turned in­side the box, tor­ment­ing his marker, and when he was about to shoot his bright red Liver­pool shirt was tugged back and the match was won.

The Premier League lead­ers had a penalty, Salah lashed it joy­ously into the net, and they had bounded to an­other vic­tory that re­stored a seven-point gap at the top of the ta­ble.

On this mo­ment may the des­tiny of the ti­tle be de­cided.

It was a clear penalty, a gift from an oth­er­wise res­o­lute Brighton team in front of a record crowd at their at­mo­spheric Amex Sta­dium.

Why did Pas­cal Gross pull the shirt of Salah? Only he knows, but it was pure folly.

Some ob­servers, and cer­tainly the noisy home fans, reck­oned Salah had made a meal of the in­ci­dent – that it was an­other case of de­cep­tion or sim­u­la­tion.

This sim­ply isn’t true. The ref­eree’s decision was cor­rect.

“It was a def­i­nite penalty and it’s a big three points for us,” said Liver­pool cap­tain Jordan Hen­der­son. “We were ex­pect­ing it to be tough be­cause Brighton make it dif­fi­cult at home and are de­fen­sively or­gan­ised. We had to keep our pa­tience to get the win.”

Liver­pool were not at their best in this game. They looked more than a lit­tle ner­vous in pos­ses­sion after two suc­ces­sive de­feats; and they played with cau­tion in a match they dared not lose rather than ap­proach it in their usual ram­pag­ing fash­ion.

Per­haps that was un­der­stand­able – but per­haps they also paid too much re­spect to a Brighton side who were al­ways go­ing to de­fend for their lives.

Brighton’s strat­egy was cer­tainly or­gan­ised and ef­fec­tive in the

BRIGHTON ........... 0 LIVER­POOL .......... 1

open­ing pe­riod, clos­ing down space ruth­lessly in mid­field to stran­gle the tal­ents of Liver­pool.

It made the home side tough to pass through with the ball on the ground, while the Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk com­bi­na­tion in cen­tral de­fence dealt for­mi­da­bly with any ae­rial threat.

Se­ri­ously good play was re­quired from the Premier League lead­ers, and they found it just once be­fore the break in the 26th minute.

Andy Robert­son linked deftly with Sa­dio Mane on the left and the ball was swiftly trans­ferred to the right flank. Trent Alexan­derArnold de­liv­ered a per­fect cross but Xher­dan Shaqiri headed the chance just wide of the far post.

Down on the touch­line Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp shook his arms in frus­tra­tion.

Brighton broke for­ward only on rare counter-at­tacks, striker Glenn Murray head­ing well over the bar from his one fleet­ing op­por­tu­nity.

Klopp sprinted down the tun­nel as the half-time whis­tle sounded. He had a stern mes­sage to bel­low and clever ideas to im­part – and his win­ning com­bi­na­tion of charisma and in­tel­li­gence had in­stant re­ward.

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