Liverpool concedes late penalty, draws 1-1 at Brighton

BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Liverpool conceded a stoppage-time penalty to draw 1-1 at Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, with the contentious call incurring the wrath of Jurgen Klopp as he made his frustration clear to match officials.

Diogo Jota’s eighth goal in his last eight games for Liverpool looked like it would be leading the champions to victory at the Amex Stadium, only for Andrew Robertson to kick the outstretched foot of Brighton forward Danny Welbeck after the first of five minutes of added-on time.

The penalty was awarded only after the referee checked the incident on the pitchside monitor — it looked much worse after being replayed in slow motion — and Pascal Gross converted Brighton’s second spot kick of the game, after one was missed by Neal Maupay in the first half.

Klopp, who came into the game unhappy at Liverpool being scheduled to play on Saturday lunchtime after a game on Wednesday night in the Champions League, showed his disgust at the decision by sarcastically applauding the assistant referee after Gross scored. Klopp then spoke to officials coming off the field after the game.

In his post-match TV interview, Klopp didn’t want to discuss the call at length, saying it was a penalty “because the ref whistled it.”

“You try to create, again at my cost, a headline. That’s how it is,” he said.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said “four or five” Brighton players told him the penalty should not have been given.

“For me, to overturn the decision, it has to be clear and obvious,” Henderson said. “Is that a clear and obvious penalty?

“You’d rather get beaten by two or three (goals) than draw a game like that.”

On a day when Liverpool lost another player — James Milner — to injury, Jota continued the brilliant start to his career at the club since his move from Wolverhampton by taking on a short pass from Mohamed Salah, cutting across the area and shooting low into the corner in the 60th minute.

The draw ensured Liverpool will finish Saturday back on top of the standings, with Tottenham able to reclaim first place by avoiding defeat at Chelsea on Sunday.

Liverpool had two goals disallowed by VAR, a first-half effort by Salah after he was played through by Roberto Firmino — the replay put the Egypt forward millimeters offside — and a header by substitute Sadio Mane that proved to be a much clearer offside.

Brighton will have its own regrets, with Maupay missing a penalty in the 20th minute before going off with a suspected hamstring injury moments later. Milner and Adam Lallana — a former Liverpool player now at Brighton — also went off injured, adding to the increasing number of muscle problems being picked up in a packed schedule.

Klopp ended up playing three players at right back in the match. Neco Williams, who gave away the penalty for a foul on Aaron Connolly, started there but was substituted at halftime and replaced in the full-back role by Milner.

Milner’s injury meant Curtis Jones came on to play there for the final minutes.

Salah, who recently returned to action after spending time in self-isolation after contracting the coronavirus, was substituted in the 63rd minute and didn’t hide his unhappiness.

“If Mo is smiling when he leaves the pitch, then something’s wrong,” Klopp said. “We have to be careful. He doesn’t like that, but that’s it.”

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