He was revelling in this one, for sure, the days of the sullen celebration long gone.

Mohamed Salah, fast becoming one of the game’s supreme penalty-winners, screamed his determination into the bouncing, joyous, visiting throng – his determination to add team honours to his raft of individual accolades.

But even more of those might still arrive.

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Some thought this might be the difficult second season, following up on the freakish brilliance of his previous campaign surely an impossible task.

And when the figures are totted up at the end of the season, they will probably not be as flabbergasting as those registered in his first with Liverpool.

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Salah celebrates his match winner

But, never mind the towering majesty of Virgil van Dijk or the perpetual motion of Andrew Robertson, my guess is the outstanding Liverpool player at the end of 2018-19 proceedings, will remain Salah.

The winner here was his 14th Premier League goal of the season, enough to share top spot in the charts with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane.

No Liverpool performer is likely to be as crucial as Salah in the road to May and the growing possibility of that Premier League title.

This was a crucial intervention to ensure a crucial victory.



Salah fires home to give the Reds a 1-0 win

Having amassed 54 points from the 21 fixtures leading up this jaunt south, it would have been stretching the bounds of credulity to suggest Klopp was feeling an ounce of pressure.

But when you send out a ghost team for a competition as prestigious as the FA Cup, the onus is heavy on winning the next match in the challenge you are clearly prioritising.

Weaken your prospects against Wolves, you had better beat Brighton. Otherwise, you are heading towards smart Alec territory.

Liverpool never looked like being beaten by Brighton but, despite a glut of possession, were far from their most fluent and the danger of dropping two points always lurked.

Instead, a familiar, falling moment proved crucial.



Chris Hughton had no complaints

He does not do simulation, Salah, but he has become wonderfully accomplished at accruing penalties.

With Pascal Gross offending with both hand and left leg just after half-time, this was an absolute stonewaller, just as it was a nailed-on number when Arsenal’s Sokratis double-clipped the Egyptian’s calves the other week.

But Salah seems to be perfecting that knack of getting the other side of a defender and, essentially, brake-testing his opponent.

Scrambling back after being embarrassed by a wonderful footballer, the pursuer cannot avoid the tangle that ends with Salah on the deck.

It is a subtle skill to go with his myriad other subtle skills, such as dispatching the kick with fierce accuracy.



Salah is level with Kane and Aubameyang on 14 goals

Had Salah accepted one of the few clear chances from open play in a match too often interrupted by the lungs of Kevin Friend, Liverpool would have been spared a semi-anxious moment or two late in the piece.

Surviving those moments only heightened Klopp’s satisfaction.

Liverpool now have a leisurely spell of two games – alluring home engagements with Crystal Palace and Leicester City – in 18 days.



Salah and Klopp celebrate at full-time

That is the sort of luxury rarely afforded to an elite Premier League team just after mid-season and Klopp knows they have to capitalise on a workload lighter than their rivals in the top three.

Even though this was not overly convincing, there is nothing to indicate they will falter on the run-in.

Fabinho was convincing as a central defensive stand-in, Jordan Henderson enjoyed meeting Brighton’s midfield more than Manchester City’s and Robertson was a customary non-stop contributor.



Fabinho impressed

But it was the slippery superiority of Salah that sealed the deal at the Amex and it will probably be his ingenuity that wins more of these tight encounters before the season’s end.

Klopp knows that, which is why he was reluctant to release Salah from a post-whistle bear-hug.

Either that, or he knew Salah might fall over.

Only kidding.

A man who keeps being sent to ground by befuddled defenders remains a man standing tall for this Liverpool team.

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