Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title suffered a massive blow following a shock 1-0 loss to Brighton at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions once again struggled to find a way past a well-drilled visiting defence and suffered back-to-back home league defeats for the first time since 2012 when Steven Alzate diverted in the winner for the Seagulls on 56 minutes.
Liverpool went close through Mohamed Salah early on but could not create much to trouble Robert Sanchez and ultimately failed to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 1984.
Premier League
Opinion: Klopp is right - Salah is currently the best in the world
3 HOURS AGO
The result means Liverpool fall to fourth place, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City having played a game more. Brighton rise to 15th spot and are now 10 points clear of the drop zone.
Liverpool will need to recover quickly for Sunday’s crunch clash with Manchester City at Anfield, which is surely now a must-win encounter. Brighton visit fellow strugglers Burnley on Saturday.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool MUST beat City with title hopes hanging by a thread. The champions looked to have put their recent troubles to bed with a pair of victories in London. However, the Reds have found it tough to break down struggling sides this term, particularly in recent matches at Anfield. They have failed to net on home turf since December 27 (a run of 348 minutes and counting) and regardless of the personnel missing, it appears teams in the lower echelons of the league now have a blueprint for how to thwart Liverpool in L4. Indeed, after a 68-game unbeaten run at home in the top-flight they have now lost two in 13 days against Burnley and Brighton respectively.

Mohamed Salah (L) battles for possession against Brighton

Image credit: Getty Images

There were no signs of the deadline-day defensive signings and Alisson was missing through illness, but again it was in attack that Liverpool failed to produce the goods with just one shot on target. Retaining the title is going to take some doing from here and Klopp and co will need to conjure up a victory over Man City on Sunday if they have any kind of serious designs on getting back into the race.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Dan Burn (Brighton). It could have gone to any of Brighton’s defensive unit. They were all imperious throughout. However, Burn capped a solid showing with a big role in the winner and could even have got himself on the scoresheet if he had shown a bit more composure in the first half.

PLAYER RATINGS

Liverpool: Kelleher 6, Robertson 6, Alexander-Arnold 7, Henderson 8, Phillips 7, Milner 6, Thiago 6, Wijnaldum 6, Salah 6, Shaqiri 6, Firmino 6. Subs: Origi 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Jones n/a.
Brighton: Sanchez 7, Burn 8, Webster 8, Dunk 8, White 8, March 7, Bissouma 7, Alzate 7, Gross 8, Trossard 7, Maupay 7. Subs: Lallana 6, Connolly n/a, Zeqiri n/a.
Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Salah surges in from the right touchline to collect Henderson's raking, diagonal ball. He kills it with an instant first touch but cushions a volley just over the top with his second.
24’ - BRIGHTON CHANCE! Burn flashes a horrible shot high over the bar from deep inside the Liverpool area after Maupay's effort had deflected into his path.
56’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 0-1 Brighton. Alzate diverts the ball home after Burn nodded a deep right-wing cross back into the danger zone.
71’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Salah's first-time attempt flies just wide of the near upright after the Egyptian had arrived on cue to meet Alexander Arnold's low cross.
89’ - BRIGHTON CHANCE! Bissouma lets fly with a 30-yard dipper that drops just over Kelleher's bar. Almost some icing on the cake for the Seagulls there.

KEY STATS

Steven Alzate has scored his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance, and from what was the very first shot on target of the match against Liverpool.
Brighton beat Liverpool for the first time since an FA Cup fourth round triumph in January 1984.
Premier League
Wolves mount stunning fightback to beat Villa, Saints see off Leeds
6 HOURS AGO
Premier League
'Right now, he is the best' - Klopp hails Liverpool star Salah after Watford wonderstrike
8 HOURS AGO