Brighton 1-5 Liverpool

Philippe Coutinho was the star of the show as Liverpool thumped Brighton at the Amex Stadium to move into the top four for the first time since August.

The Reds had scored 15 goals in their previous four away games and continued their rich vein of form on the Sussex coast thanks to some samba magic in the final third.

Prior to Saturday afternoon, Brighton had only suffered one defeat at the Amex this season, at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

It was the visitors who had the first clear opportunity of the game when Firmino headed over from Coutinho’s corner.

Minutes later, the Brazilian forward came close again when he attacked Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inviting delivery, but the ball deflected just wide of the mark.

Brighton went close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute when Izzy Brown’s low cross found Glenn Murray, but the veteran striker failed to trouble Simon Mignolet under the challenge of Gini Wijnaldum.

After enjoying the majority of possession, Liverpool did take the lead in the 30th minute as Emre Can powered home Coutinho’s corner.

Just a minute later, the Reds doubled their lead with an electric counter-attack. Mohamed Salah broke free with the ball, driving into space before releasing Coutinho, who squared the ball across goal for his compatriot Firmino and the striker made no mistake from six-yards.

The game didn’t show any sign of slowing down in the second half. Brown skinned Alexander-Arnold before putting the ball on a plate for Murray, who was denied brilliantly by the waist of Mignolet.

Again, Liverpool exercised their devastating pace on the counter-attack, as Salah picked his moment perfectly to thread through Firmino who fired past the outstretched Matthew Ryan.

Just when the game looked a dead rubber, referee Graham Scott awarded Brighton a penalty after spotting a foul in the crowded penalty box, Emre Can the offender.

Murray made no mistake from the spot, beating Mignolet, who guessed correctly to lift the depleted Seagulls’ supporters with 51 minutes on the clock.

Coutinho, by far the best player on the pitch, was working his magic for Jurgen Klopp’s side. His quick feet and exceptional balance was the heart of every Liverpool attack, and the Brazilian would have made it 1-4 if it wasn’t for a brave block from Lewis Dunk.

Up the other end, Albion continued to knock on the door, Murray’s hooked effort on the half-turn flew just wide of the mark as Hughton’s side piled on the pressure.

The game was to be killed off though in the 87th minute when Coutinho guided a superb free-kick under the jumping wall in front of the travelling fans.

He wasn’t finished there either, as the attacking midfielder’s goal-bound effort deflected in off the unfortunate Dunk to make it 1-5 in the 89th minute.

Liverpool’s cutting edge and razor sharp attack proved too much for Albion to handle, and the Seagulls will have to pick themselves up again ahead of next week’s trip to Huddersfield Town.

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