Liverpool missed an opportunity to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of Chelsea vs Spurs after Brighton pegged them back with a stoppage-time penalty.
It was another dispiriting afternoon for the Reds, with two disallowed goals and an injury to James Milner adding to their misery.
Here are the headline figures.
The unwanted top spot
Liverpool may have moved only one point clear at the top of the Premier League, but they are running away with the snappily-titled ‘VAR Decisions Against’ championship, as per ESPN.
Today’s offside and penalty decisions took their score to eight. Opponents Brighton actually lie in second, but they have been stung by Stockley Park interventions only four times.
The calls at the Amex were marginal but, on balance, correct.
Still, Liverpool fans are understandably weary.
The Reds’ ‘net VAR score’ now stands at -7, with only one call in their favour. That’s on a par with Norwich, the worst affected side across the whole 2019/20 season.
Liverpool were seeing the game out. It was the latest ‘a win is a win’ kind of day for this results machine. It had been more than three years since Liverpool last gave up points in stoppage time (the 3-3 draw at Watford on the opening day of the 2017/18 season).
Making Gross’ penalty all the more gut-wrenching.
When will it end?
Every week you convince yourself that maybe, surely Liverpool have come through the worst of this scarcely believable injury crisis.
But it seems to be the case that when a player returns to boost the numbers, another drops out.
Today we saw Jordan Henderson’s welcome comeback before James Milner’s hamstring gave up.
Since the Merseyside Derby kicked-off at Goodison, injuries have forced Liverpool into five substitutions in just 10 matches.
It isn’t getting better. In fact, with the demands on the usual stalwarts growing ever more excessive, it may be getting worse.
To be xPected
Brighton were worthy of the point and should be given credit. Andy Robertson hailed them as a ‘really tough opponent’.
Their xG at full time was 2.29, while they limited Liverpool to 0.42.
The champions’ below-par performance was perhaps to be expected. But in the context of the title race, they can’t afford more results like this.
On the bright side
It is of course difficult now to appreciate Liverpool’s sublime opening goal.
But Diogo Jota continues to light up this murky season. That is eight goals in his last eight games. He is now just one behind Salah and four clear of Sadio Mane.
And the only way is up.