Diogo Jota’s ninth goal in 14 matches was not enough for Liverpool against Brighton, who fought back with huge help from VAR to earn a point.
Jota put the Reds in front after an hour before Sadio Mane thought he had added a second with a header. But that goal, as well as an earlier strike from Mohamed Salah, was ruled out by VAR.
Right at the death, Brighton had VAR rule in their favour again when Andy Robertson struck Danny Welbeck’s boot in the penalty area, allowing the hosts to claim a point.
Salah was involved in two early chances, but he sliced a shot wide after Diogo Jota’s pace-lacking pass failed to reach him.
Brighton soon got into the game, though, with Aaron Connolly’s pace and runs a direct threat. After failing to beat Alisson Becker on-on-one, he won the hosts a penalty which was painfully dragged wide by Neal Maupay.
Connolly’s run into the Liverpool box had Neco Williams panicking, the Wales youngster bringing the striker down. But despite Maupay sending Alisson the wrong way, the striker’s penalty then went the wrong way of the post.
Liverpool had already shown a threat in behind and it looked like it had paid off through Salah, only for VAR to intervene.
Salah was picked out with another ball over the top and, despite this time scoring, his foot was slightly offside when the ball was played.
Liverpool enjoyed more possession higher up the pitch early on in the second half, but Brighton’s threat in behind showed again after 53 minutes.
Indeed, Danny Welbeck got past a lunging Fabinho into the box, where he Connolly was waiting. Instead, he chose to shoot with Alisson well-placed to save.
But with Brighton failing to take their chances, a moment of quality from Liverpool‘s star man Diogo Jota opened the scoring after 60 minutes.
Diogo strikes again
Portuguese forward Jota placed himself just outside Brighton’s box and when he received Salah’s pass, he did the rest.
The 23-year-old dummied past one defender before firing an accurate strike into the bottom left corner. Straight after that, though, Salah was substituted for Sadio Mane, leaving the winger fuming.
There was also frustration for Connolly, who left to allow Adam Lallana to reunite against his old teammates.
Unluckily for Connolly Lallana lasted only eight minutes before dashing down the tunnel. Liverpool midfielder James Milner then suffered a hamstring issue and was replaced by Curtis Jones.
Liverpool then thought they had scored a second goal to settle the tie. From Robertson’s free kick, Mane headed the ball past Mat Ryan but he had strayed offside when the ball was played.
Brighton earn late point
As such, heading into the final 10 minutes, Brighton pushed for an equaliser. Robertson cleared from inside his own six-yard area after a missed chance from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
But the Seagulls did get their equaliser two minutes into stoppage time. Welbeck charged into the area and clashed with Robertson, who – in going for the ball – hit his man.
The referee did not initially blow for the spot-kick but was advised to look at the screen by Kevin Friend. And, after overturning his decision, Pascal Gross stepped up and slotted home.