Liverpool were pegged back to 2-2 at Anfield after taking an early two-goal lead
Two up after 24 minutes thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane, Jurgen Klopp’s side conceded one to a brilliant Enock Mwepu strike just before half-time and from that moment the direction of the game turned towards the visitors and remained with them for the rest of the match.
Unlike against Wednesday’s Champions League opponents Atletico Madrid two weeks ago when they bounced back from letting a 2-0 lead slip to win 3-2, Liverpool looked strangely out of sorts in the second half in direct contrast to the confidence they had played with for the opening 40 minutes.
“In the dressing room it feels like a defeat. Being 2-0 up and giving away a lead, it’s never nice,” he told LFCTV.
“There’s frustration. We couldn’t have asked for a better start, we scored two great goals but we let Brighton do what they were good at.
“They started getting a wee bit confident. At half-time we needed to put it right and we didn’t do that.
“When we’re playing at Anfield and we’re 2-0 up, we expect to come away with three points and we’ve not done that and that’s why it’s so frustrating.”
Klopp rarely criticises his players in public but voiced his displeasure at the second-half body language of some of his players, who nevertheless remained unbeaten for a 24th match to equal a similar run from 1989.
Brighton’s attacking intent and a breakdown in the home side’s defensive organisation made the Reds look something of a ragged outfit in the second half.
Their manager admitted in his pre-match press conference on Friday there were improvements to be made and it is apparent they are on the defensive side of their game.
They cannot afford to be so disconnected against Diego Simeone’s streetwise side on Wednesday, even if with three wins out of three Liverpool have a considerable cushion in Europe with one more victory guaranteeing them progress to the knockout stages.
“There are different things, it is not always the same,” said Klopp when asked about their defensive deficiencies.
“I know now when we talk now about defending and the whole football world will say that’s why I am a pretty well-paid coach, but I don’t discuss on that level.
“It’s not only the last line, it’s not only a centre-half, it’s a common thing. We didn’t defend the half-spaces right and that was our problem.
“If you don’t defend the half-spaces well then the last line has to drop a little bit, which makes no sense.
“All of a sudden it is then not to defend any more and that’s how it is.
“The best way to defend them would have been to have had the ball and to do smart or clever stuff. That’s what we didn’t do enough and that’s why we paid the price for it.”
For Brighton a point at Anfield – the Seagulls are now three successive matches unbeaten against Liverpool for only the second time in their history – represents continued progress this season.
Their 16-point tally from 10 games is six more than at the same stage last season and that is largely due to the fact head coach Graham Potter now has his side playing football at the level and standards he wants.
“They believe in each other and that’s a fantastic thing. We’ve had a challenging, but good week,” he said after defeats to Manchester City and Leicester (on penalties in the Carabao Cup).
“We haven’t got the results we wanted, but the performances have been really good.
“We like the direction it’s going in, but we’ve got to keep improving.”