Leandro Trossard scored a hat-trick as Brighton marked new coach Roberto de Zerbi’s debut with a hugely entertaining and battling draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
The Seagulls had raced into a two-goal lead with the Reds, playing their first Premier League game in 28 days after the international break, having made a sluggish start.
Trossard got the first after just four minutes when he thumped into the bottom corner from Danny Welbeck’s pass before adding a second in near identical fashion 13 minutes later, this time from Solly March’s ball.
Roberto Firmino started a Liverpool fightback before half-time when he drove in, with the goal given by the video assistant referee (VAR) after initially being ruled out for offside.
The Brazilian equalised nine minutes after the break when substitute Luis Diaz found Firmino, who coolly wrongfooted his marker before firing in from close range.
There was a sense of inevitability as a hungry Liverpool continued to come forward and they duly got a third when Adam Webster turned into his own net under pressure from Firmino.
But Trossard had the final say as he scooped in at the back post late on to secure the match ball and a point for his side.
The draw means Brighton remain fourth but Liverpool are ninth, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal but with one game in hand.
A stirring fightback, but Reds undone by another poor start
This was a game that arguably highlighted both the best and worst of this current Liverpool side.
On the one hand, their fightback was like the Liverpool of old where, after a dreadful first 25 minutes, there was the growing sense the Reds would get themselves ahead at some point.
But on the other hand, it was another poor start that ultimately cost them the three points.
Liverpool have now conceded the first goal in five of their seven Premier League games this season and working out how to get the Reds starting on the front foot once again is the challenge facing manager Jurgen Klopp at the moment.
The determination and character that took Liverpool to within a point of champions Manchester City last season is there but they need to rediscover their focus before the title race slips away from them.
Life after Potter looks entertaining
Brighton fans travelled in good numbers despite the distance and rail disruption to witness first hand what a team under De Zerbi looked like.
The Italian has replaced Graham Potter, who left before the international break to join Chelsea and Seagulls fans have been promised entertaining but risky football from their new manager.
That was certainly evident in a game they could have won 6-3 but equally could have lost by the same scoreline.
They were energetic and direct in the first 25 minutes and though they tired after that, they showed plenty of spirit to get back level in the closing stages.
It is still very early days but the signs are encouraging that life after Potter will be an exciting one under De Zerbi.
- Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before – here’s everything you need to know to make sure you never miss a moment