Danny Welbeck makes surprising admission after VAR penalty against Liverpool

Brighton striker Danny Welbeck was at the centre of the controversy as a last gasp Brighton penalty equaliser from Pascal Gross denied Liverpool victory in a hard-fought 1-1 Premier League draw.

Brighton are awarded a penalty late in the match against Liverpool at the Amex Stadium
Brighton are awarded a penalty late in the match against Liverpool at the Amex Stadium

Diogo Jota had expertly dribbled his way through the Brighton box before slotting home to give Jurgen Klopp’s side the lead, only for the hosts to find a late leveller from the spot in the third minute of added time.

Neal Maupay had already fired wide with Brighton’s first penalty of the match, when referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot following a VAR review, and Pascal Gross made no mistake second-time round, firing the ball past Alisson Becker to level.

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Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net twice only for VAR to intervene and rule both Mohamed Salah’s first-half strike and Sadio Mane’s header out for offside.

In added time, the referee consulted the monitor before awarding Brighton a spot-kick which was duly converted by Gross.

The game had continued when VAR judged Liverpool defender Andy Robertson to have committed a foul on Welbeck and the game was halted and pulled back for the penalty.

"It was one of those games where we had to try and stick in until the end," said Welbeck. "We knew we could create some opportunities and exploit their backline. We got a soft penalty but it's one we will take. We got the point and we'll move on now to next week.

"In today's game with the VAR, I got there in front and nicked it around him. He kicked me and then the ball, so...The referee went to see it on the screen and made his decision."

Brighton picked an attacking line-up to take on the champions as Welbeck was part of a front three that also included Aaron Connolly and Maupay.

"The gaffer said we would rather go down fighting," said Welbeck. "Going into this game we knew we could cause problems.

"They have so much firepower but we wanted some firepower of our own. We could have gone ahead in the game but these things happen.

"They could have gone further ahead with the VAR and offside rules. There's no benefit of doubt in today's game but it's 1-1 and that's how it's ended."

The result was enough for Klopp’s side to return to the top of the table, however their injury-hit squad was dealt a further blow when James Milner was forced off in the 74th minute as the 34-year-old started his third game in six days.

Brighton now have 10 points from 10 Premier League matches this season but they were also dealt injuries as Maupay hobbled off with a hamstring injury shortly after missing his spot kick.

Adam Lallana, who was struggling with a groin issue, came on as a second half substitute for Connolly but the 32-year-old lasted just eight minutes before he was replaced by Ali Jahanbakhsh.

Head coach Potter said: “Hopefully not too bad, just a slight reaction from them. We need to give it 24, 48 hours. I don’t know the full extent of it but I hope it’s not too serious.”

He added: “Neal just felt a bit of tightness, he wasn’t sure he could carry on running. The same with Adam Lallana.”

Potter also agreed with Welbeck that Brighton's last gasp penalty was far from clear-cut. “It wasn’t the most stonewall penalty that I’ve seen I would say.

“But we spoke about it before the game, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t and it’s a beautiful part of football that will always be debated – referees’ decisions and linesmen’s decisions as well.

“We said as well that you need the margins to go your way in the Premier League and I thought it clearly went our way today but at the same time I thought our performance level was really really good and we deserved something.”