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 By Dave Usher

Firmino and Coutinho in red-hot form as Liverpool trounce Brighton

Brighton might have fancied their chances having seen Liverpool's makeshift looking lineup that included two midfielders in a back three, but when the Reds' forward line clicks into top gear it often doesn't matter who is in the defence. The 5-1 scoreline was a fair reflection of the game and Liverpool's attacking play was a joy to behold at times.


Roberto Firmino continued his excellent recent form but this time he also had a couple of goals to show for his efforts. His overall performance was wonderful and it has to be an encouraging sign when Liverpool can still hit five on a day when Mohamed Salah was unable to get his name on the scoresheet.


Despite Liverpool's dominance they could easily have conceded two or three. The one goal they did allow was a result of a ludicrous penalty decision so they can consider themselves unfortunate with that, but Brighton striker Glenn Murray missed three other glaring opportunities and on another day things could have been different.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- He's getting the hang of this rotation lark. Some of the changes made were forced upon the German but he improvised with the personnel he had available and it worked.

Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton & Hove Albion
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Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Simon Mignolet, 7 -- Not the busiest of days for the Belgian but one save he made early in the second half was pivotal, as 15 seconds later Firmino was scoring at the other end after a trademark Liverpool counter-attack.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Disciplined and mature display from the teenager, who seems to have reigned in some -- but thankfully not all -- of his attacking instincts in favour of defensive solidity in recent outings. In the second half he stood strong when required and made one fantastic goal saving challenge when the game was still in the balance at 3-1.

DF Emre Can, 8 -- The German is no stranger to the role he was asked to play having excelled there on occasion under previous manager Brendan Rodgers, but it had been some time since he'd played in a back three. You'd never have known as he was mightily impressive and even managed to score the all-important opening goal with a thumping header.

DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- With a makeshift defensive lineup around him, Lovren needed to offer solidity and leadership, and he did. Very solid performance from the Croatian.

DF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Struggled in the opening stages when some of his passing was sloppy, but he settled down eventually and overall had very few problems in a role that he has probably never played before, and more than likely will never play again.

DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Given a rare outing in place of the rested Alberto Moreno, the Scot started very brightly and delivered some dangerous crosses into the box in the first half. Not as involved after the break but was always willing to sprint forward and provide an outlet.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Saw a lot of the ball and generally just kept it moving simply and quickly. Made some clever runs into the penalty area from deep but was unable to turn them into anything productive. He can play better, but on this occasion he didn't need to.

MF James Milner, 7 -- Very little he did was eye-catching but much of it helped to lay the platform for the more spectacular players to do their thing. Solid, dependable, unspectacular: all the usual adjectives that are used to describe this wily old pro.

FW Philippe Coutinho, 9 -- Dazzling display full of incredible footwork and quick changes of direction that made him so difficult to contain. The slide rule cross for Firmino's first goal was a thing of beauty but it was eclipsed by the crafty free kick he rolled under the wall to finally kill off Brighton and make it 4-1. For good measure he then forced Lewis Dunk into an own goal a minute later.

FW Roberto Firmino, 9 -- Scored twice but even without the goals the Brazilian's performance was terrific. So many great first time lay-offs and clever turns, while his work rate once again caught the eye as he continually robbed defenders of possession. Outstanding.

FW Mohamed Salah, 7 -- For once he didn't score, but the Egyptian more than played his part in the victory as his pace and creativity proved too much for Brighton to handle. Helped create both of Firmino's goals and was a constant menace up until he was replaced with 11 minutes to go.

Roberto Firmino's performance got the two goals it deserved as Liverpool thrashed Brighton.


FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, N/R -- Introduced for Salah on the right wing. Didn't have too much time to make an impression but looked lively enough.

FW Dominic Solanke, N/R -- A late replacement for Firmino with only a few minutes remaining, had no time to make an impact.

MF Marko Grujic, N/R -- Sent on to replace Henderson in stoppage time.

Dave Usher is one of ESPN's Liverpool bloggers and the founder of LFC fanzine and website The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.


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