I don’t normally post match reviews on here, but as I was actually at the match for once, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a good performance by the Reds.
The clear man-of-the-match for me was Craig Bellamy. Industrious throughout, he provided a constant outlet in the second half when Liverpool were under the cosh a little. Indeed, his smart play on one such occasion fed Maxi, who in turn laid the ball off for Dirk Kuyt to score the decisive second goal.
Bellamy also took his first goal for Liverpool since the Nou Camp in 2007 well following good work by Suárez, and rattled the bar later in the first half with a powerful free kick from some 30 yards or more.
So one full debutant (albeit second time around) played himself into contention for the forthcoming match at Anfield with Wolves, but how did the other one do?
It would be easy to be harsh on Sebastian Coates, following his suicidal crossfield pass early in the second half that nearly enabled Brighton to get back on level terms. But that aside, I thought he had a very good game and dealt comfortably with most things that came his way.
In view of the nightmare that Martin Skrtel suffered at Tottenham, albeit whilst not playing in his favoured position, I think Coates stands a fair chance of retaining his place for Saturday’s match.
It would be fair to say that the whole back four did very well in fact. Carragher had a solid game, and was unlucky to concede the late penalty that Albion scored following a howler by Jay Spearing. Jack Robinson continues to impress me more and more with every appearance, and were it not for the fine form displayed by the first choice Jose Enrique so far this season, I’m certain Robinson would be featuring more. In any case, he is proving to be a more than able deputy for the Spaniard.
Martin Kelly was also in fine form, not least when he cleared off the line during Brighton’s only serious chance of the first half. He also supported Kuyt well on the right flank, and assuming that he stays fit, he will be making it very difficult for Glen Johnson to get back in the team I suspect.
Other than the defence, Kuyt was his usual industrious self, and Suárez buzzed around as usual; he should probably have scored with his one-on-one opportunity, but was unlucky not to score with a header that grazed the post from a free-kick. I felt Maxi was fairly anonymous, and Spearing was fine (penalty mishap aside).
For me, it was great to see Lucas have such a great game, and getting praise from the travelling Kop of 2,403 Reds; whilst this is not a new phenomenon in itself, as an irregular match go-er it was nice to experience this in person, as it has certainly not been the case at previous games I have attended in years gone by.
Finally a word for the returning captain. Gerrard played around 15 minutes and looked fit and possibly a little thinner too, and whilst he didn’t do all that much, neither did he put a foot wrong. I suspect he will still be on the bench for the Wolves game, but it’s encouraging to have him back in contention all the same.
In summary, Liverpool went through to the next round, did not pick up any injuries, Bellamy and Kuyt both got off the mark for the new season and Gerrard got closer to a full first team return.
A lovely day out by the seaside, wouldn’t you say?
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.