Liverpool slipped to a second successive home league defeat against Brighton, leaving them knowing only a win over Manchester City on Sunday will keep them in the hunt for the Premier League title this season.
Steven Alzate scored in the 56th minute for the Seagulls in what would prove to be the game’s only goal at Anfield. The Reds struggled to generate much in attack all night, managing just one shot on target.
The spark fans saw at Spurs and at West Ham was absent here. Mo Salah did nothing while Roberto Firmino looked a shadow as Mane’s pace and threat was missed badly. The full-backs offered little, Thiago Alcantara could not inspire and Xherdan Shaqiri looked lost. The substitutes – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi and Curtis Jones – merely added to the confusion.
Brighton were the better team and Liverpool were hugely disappointing all over the park. The visitors deserve credit for playing well. They created chances, pressed the hosts and did everything the Reds should have. Klopp’s men didn’t really do anything of note. With a long record of going unbeaten, they’ve lost two in a row at home.
Liverpool appear a long way off the blistering pace they set last season, with their attack at home looking particularly poor of late. Klopp’s men have failed to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 1984, with their scoreless run at Anfield now reaching 348 minutes.
Now, a home match with Manchester City at the weekend, is a do-or-die affair. Even a draw will not suffice for Liverpool, with Pep Guardiola’s side already seven points clear of the champions with a game in hand.
City’s record at Anfield may be poor, they have not won here since 2003, but their form means they will head into the game as favourites.
Liverpool are still capable of magic, as seen last week, but they have forgotten how to win the tight games. They have now dropped points against six of the bottom nine sides in the division, and twice against Brighton. They face the best side in the league next. Maybe that will rouse them from their Anfield slumber.
The defending Premier League champions are now seven points behind leaders City having played a game more, and the title will be out of reach if they fail to beat Pep Guardiola’s team at Anfield this weekend.