Premier League: Liverpool frustrated by VAR as Brighton snatch late equaliser, Manchester City batter Burnley

Agence France-Presse
·6-min read

Brighton: Brighton: Jurgen Klopp launched into a furious tirade about Liverpool's fixture schedule after Pascal Gross's controversial late penalty rescued a dramatic 1-1 draw for Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Klopp's side took the lead through Diogo Jota's second half strike after Brighton's Neal Maupay had missed a penalty in the first half.

But Liverpool were stunned in stoppage time when Andrew Robertson's challenge on Danny Welbeck was ruled a penalty after Stuart Attwell used VAR to overturn his initial decision.

Gross converted from the spot, leaving Klopp sarcastically applauding the officials at the end of a disappointing week for Liverpool after their shock Champions League defeat at home to Atalanta.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson claimed Welbeck told him it wasn't a penalty, but Klopp would not take the bait when asked if he disagreed with the decision.

"You try to create again, on my cost, a headline, because that's how it is. If I say now it was not... the ref whistled it," Klopp said in a fractious exchange with a BT Sport interviewer.

"Don't look like this, you try, always, all the time. Today I say it was a penalty, you are not happy with that answer, so keep your answers to yourself."

Liverpool went back to the top of the table as a result of their draw, but the champions are just one point ahead of previous leaders Tottenham.

Tottenham would regain pole position if they avoid defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, while the Blues will go top if they win the London derby.

It was one of those days for Liverpool, who also saw goals correctly disallowed by VAR for offside against Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

There was more bad news for injury-ravaged Liverpool as James Milner was forced off in the second half.

Milner's injury provoked Klopp's rant during his post-match interview as he repeated his recent complaints about Liverpool featuring in the early Saturday match after playing in the Champions League just three days earlier.

Klopp rant

Asked if Milner had a hamstring problem, Klopp took aim at television schedulers and Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, who has criticised his counterpart over his desire to allow five substitutions instead of the current three.

"Yeah, congratulations. You work for them yeah? Hamstring, surprise, and Brighton had injuries but ask Chris Wilder how we can avoid that," Klopp said.

"I don't know how often I have to say it, you picked the 1230, not you personally, but you did it, us on 1230, between now and December and New Year, one more Wednesday.

"I've not had a go at the broadcaster, I just say how it is. After Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is really dangerous for the players.

"When we had a talk between managers, a week ago, it was 55, if not 60 (per cent) for five subs. Since then nothing happened.

"Chris Wilder or whoever says constantly that I am selfish. I think all the things that shows is that he's selfish.

"I was in a similar situation when I worked at Mainz and it was all about staying in the league, but they (Sheffield United) have three subs and one point if I am right."

It was a tough day for Klopp, who saw Aaron Connolly tripped by Neco Williams in the 20th minute.

Maupay stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his side-foot effort went wide despite Alisson Becker diving the wrong way.

In the 60th minute, Robertson found Salah and his pass teed up Jota to drill into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Liverpool were seconds away from three points when Robertson went to clear in his own area as Welbeck closed in.

Robertson's foot made contact with Welbeck, but there were few appeals from Brighton before Attwell awarded a contentious penalty after consulting the pitchside monitor.

With Maupay off the pitch, Gross took this one and fired down the middle to salvage an unexpected point.

Manchester City find their groove

Manchester City found their shooting boots as Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 thrashing of Burnley to bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola's men had scored just seven goals in their previous seven league games to slip to 14th in the table before kick-off.

But for the fourth straight visit to the Etihad, Burnley conceded five times as City eased to within six points of league leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

Mahrez was one of four changes Guardiola made from a 1-0 win at Olympiakos in midweek that booked City's place in the last 16 of the Champions League, and took the most of his chance to start with Raheem Sterling left on the bench.

The Algerian opened the floodgates on six minutes as he swept home Kevin De Bruyne's pass.

Mahrez then outwitted a sleeping Burnley defence as he latched onto Kyle Walker's throw-in before dancing round three challenges and firing on off the far post.

De Bruyne was handed a rare rest in midweek and the Belgian was back to his best with another assist for Benjamin Mendy to score his first City goal over three years since arriving from Monaco.

The French left-back produced an exquisite finish by cushioning De Bruyne's cross back across Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who had a Premier League debut to forget in the absence of England international Nick Pope.

After City's struggles to score goals in recent weeks, the hosts made sure to cash in after the break rather than saving their energies for a hectic upcoming schedule.

Ferran Torres has been prolific in the Champions League since his signing from Valencia, but the Spanish international finally opened his Premier League account with a smart finish from Gabriel Jesus's lay-off.

Torres was then replaced by Phil Foden and with his first touch Foden was the provider for Mahrez to complete his hat-trick in uncharacteristic fashion with a bullet header at the back post.

VAR came to Peacock-Farrell's rescue after he turned the ball into his own net after a fine save to deny Jesus, with the goal ruled out for offside against the Brazilian striker, before De Bruyne smashed against the post late on.

However, five goals were enough for Guardiola's men to send out the message they are not out of a wide-open title race, especially with a favourable run of fixtures to come as Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle will also visit the Etihad before Boxing Day.

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