Brighton 0-2 Liverpool: Mo Salah scores as Reds bear down on Man City - 5 talking points

Luis Diaz grabbed his second goal for Liverpool and Mohamed Salah was on the scoresheet as the Reds overpowered Brighton to cut the gap on Manchester City.

Diaz met a brilliant clipped pass from Joel Matip to head beyond Robert Sanchez before he was clattered into by the Spanish goalkeeper, who avoided a red card for the challenge.

Diaz's opener put an end to Brighton's impressive first 15 minutes at the Amex and ushered in a period of dominance for the visitors which was largely unwavering throughout the rest of the contest.

Salah - who was guilty of squandering numerous fine chances but typically threatening throughout - doubled the advantage from the penalty spot just after the hour mark.

Jurgen Klopp's side had little trouble seeing out the remaining minutes on the south coast and the result means just three points separate them and City at the Premier League 's summit.

Here are five talking points from the Amex.

Brighton may have come into the match on the back of four consecutive league defeats but they did not appear short of confidence in the opening 15 minutes at the sun-drenched Amex.

The hosts were the more intense side and their well-coordinated pressing prevented Liverpool from settling into any sort of rhythm in a similar fashion to how Inter Milan did in midweek.

It was a reminder of what Brighton are capable of under Graham Potter - not that the Reds needed their memories jogged after tossing away a two-goal lead in October's reverse fixture at Anfield.

However, the Seagulls could not maintain the level they started the game with and were soon picked apart in somewhat disappointing fashion.

Luis Diaz's goal will have delighted Jurgen Klopp and fans alike for numerous reasons.

The Colombian had shown plenty of potential since his £50million January transfer from Porto yet he arrived on the south coast with only one goal in nine Liverpool appearances to his name.

But there was a sense the goals would soon come for a player who looks deadly on the ball with his dribbling and eye for a chance.

Sure enough, Diaz latched on to Joel Matip's sumptuous clipped ball which scythed through the Brighton backline, nodding past Robert Sanchez to give Liverpool the lead on 19 minutes.

Giving the travelling support another reason to chant his name, the 25-year-old had put his body on the line to reach the ball ahead of the onrushing goalkeeper and was duly wiped out after meeting it.

After a VAR check found there was no cause for a red card and some treatment Diaz, he was back to his feet with Liverpool one-nil to the good.

Brighton 0-2 Liverpool: Mo Salah scores as Reds bear down on Man City - 5 talking points

How impressive has Luis Diaz been since his arrival at Liverpool? Have your say in the comments!

While Liverpool were rarely troubled by their hosts, Brighton started the second half as they started the first, with intensity and cutting edge.

They created their best chance of the match just minutes after the interval as Alexis Mac Allister and Neal Maupay combined to set up Leandro Trossard in space.

However, to the anguish of the home supporters, the Belgian leant back and could only fire his effort high over the bar when he should have hit the target.

Replays showed the goal may have been chalked off had Trossard found the back of the net as Maupay seemed to handle the ball while creating the chance.

Brighton would struggle to create any other clear-cut opportunities or show such attacking fluency again on what proved to be a relatively simple afternoon for Alisson and his defence.

Ahead of the match, the spotlight was fixed on Mohamed Salah rather than the title race and Liverpool's quadruple aspirations - the regular topics of discussion in recent weeks.

That is because Jurgen Klopp and Salah's agent appeared to go back and forth on Friday as the Egyptian approaches the final year of his contract.

Club and player are at loggerheads over wage demands and there seems to be a growing threat of a summer exit should there be no breakthrough in extension talks.

All of this had no impact on Salah's brilliant performance against Brighton, however, and he was typically threatening throughout the clash at the Amex.

His best chance of the first half came just before the interval, when he burst through on goal with a brilliant run after being released down the left flank, before Tariq Lamptey did just enough to unsettle him as he prepared to shoot from close range.

In the second half, Salah saw a deflected effort hit the bar and was guilty of mishitting an effort after being teed-up by Luis Diaz but made amends by converting a penalty won as Yves Bissouma handballed Naby Keita's shot.

In what is shaping up to be a vintage title race, very little can separate Liverpool and Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side have a three-point lead ahead of their trip to Crystal Palace on Monday - after which they will have played one more game - and they have a goal difference of 50 compared to the Reds' 53.

In such a nip and tuck run-in, defensive prowess will be of paramount importance and Jurgen Klopp will have been delighted to see his side keep their 15th clean sheet against Brighton, matching City's tally for the season.

They have conceded just 20 goals in 28 appearances and hardly looked like shipping a 21st at the Amex, with the Seagulls mustering a paltry three shots on target - although Alisson made a fine stop to deny Danny Welbeck in the closing seconds.

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip look as dominant as ever at centre-back and, as they say, defences win titles...

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