Liverpool player ratings, heroes and villains as Diaz and Salah secure eighth straight league win

Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners against Brighton & Hove Albion to cut the gap at the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool applied more pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City with a professional 2-0 away win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Luis Diaz’s first-half opener set Jurgen Klopp’s men on their way to an eighth straight league win before Mohamed Salah’s impressive record against the Seagulls continued with the forward’s 11th goal involvement in his 10 appearances against them.

After weathering a strong Brighton start, the Reds took the lead in the 19th minute courtesy of Diaz’s second goal since signing from FC Porto in January.

Premier League Player of the Month Joel Matip’s beautifully flighted ball put the Colombian winger through on goal and he beat Robert Sanchez to the ball to head home before being struck down by the goalkeeper - who avoided any punishment after a VAR check.

Mohamed Salah celebrates his 20th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-0 win at Brighton.

The Reds doubled their lead on the hour mark when Salah struck from the penalty spot after Yves Bissouma was penalised for blocking Naby Keita’s shot with his hand.

Salah’s goal was the Egyptian’s 20th of the season and Liverpool’s 2000th Premier League goal, making them only the second side to do so, alongside Manchester United.

Brighton struggled to replicate the intensity they applied at the start of the contest but did test Alisson through Danny Welbeck and Solly March.

The victory cuts the gap at the top of the table to only three points with 10 games remaining for Klopp’s side. Pep Guardiola’s men travel to Crystal Palace on Monday looking to regain a six point advantage.

Heroes

Luis Diaz: Continued to showcase why Liverpool broke their trend of not signing players in January with a goal and another superb performance that had Tariq Lamptey and Joel Veltman chasing his shadow all afternoon.

Mohamed Salah: Hitting 20 Premier League goals for the fourth time is a spectacular achievement and Salah was overdue a goal after striking the post twice in the week and missing two big chances prior to his goal.

Mohamed Salah strikes the ball from 12 yards out to double the Reds’ lead.

Joel Matip: Capped off a brilliant personal week after winning Player of the Month with another solid display in Liverpool’s defence. Pinged a disgustingly good pass for Diaz’s opener and kept Neal Maupay quiet to secure a 16th clean sheet.

Villians

Robert Sanchez: The Brighton goalkeeper was lucky to see the game through after bringing Diaz down with a reckless challenge in the 19th minute. It was checked by VAR but he remained on the pitch, despite hurting Diaz slightly.

Luis Diaz was hurt after colliding with Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, whilst heading Liverpool into a first-half lead (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Yves Bissouma: Conceded the penalty that led to the all-important second goal and was booked for throwing the ball away in disagreement with Mike Dean’s decision. Was out-classed by the Reds’ midfield in the middle of the park.

Jurgen Klopp: The Reds boss used his squad well to ensure players like Salah and Keita are well rested ahead of Wednesday’s game. Constantly encouraging Diaz and wanted to add more to the lead at 2-0.

Player ratings

Brighton: Sanchez 4; Lamptey 5, Veltman 5, Dunk 5, Cucurella 5 ; Alzate 5, Bissouma 4, Trossard 4, Allister 5, March 5; Maupay 4.

Subs: Lallana (45), Gross (53) 5, Welbeck (66) 5

Liverpool: Alisson 5 ; Alexander-Arnold 6, Matip 7, van Dijk 6, Robertson 5 ; Henderson 6, Fabinho 5, Keita 6 ; Salah 7, Mane 6, Diaz 8.

Subs: Thiago (65) 5, Jota (65) 5, Milner (86)

What’s Liverpool’s next fixture?

Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to Arsenal on Wednesday for the game in hand looking to cut the gap between themselves and Manchester City.

The game kicks off at 20:15pm.