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‘I’m honest and I told Jurgen’ – Roberto De Zerbi makes Liverpool penalty claim after touchline disagreement

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Roberto De Zerbi concedes Brighton were fortunate to get the free-kick that earned them a 2-2 draw with Liverpool

Roberto De Zerbi conceded his Brighton team were fortunate to get the free-kick that earned them a 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

But the Seagulls boss feels his side should have had a second-half penalty when Kaoru Mitoma’s wayward strike appeared to hit Virgil van Dijk on the hand.

Mohamed Salah struck twice to give the visitors a half-time lead after an opener from Simon Adingra but the hosts levelled with just over 10 minutes remaining when Lewis Dunk turned home a free-kick delivery from Solly March.

That set-piece was won by Mitoma who was closed out by a combination of Trent Alexander-Arnold and substitute Ibrahima Konate and De Zerbi accepts he was lucky to see the foul given.

But while the Brighton boss talked up his admiration for Jurgen Klopp, whom he branded one of the world’s best coaches, De Zerbi said he disagreed over an incident in the second half when Mitoma’s effort was fired against Reds captain Van Dijk.

“I love Klopp,” De Zerbi said. “He can do what he wants because I have a big respect and I consider him one of the best coaches in the world. I like his behavior and when he says something, 99% of the time I agree with him. In that situation, I think there was a clear penalty and I told the referee in a good way I think.

“I think there was a penalty but not a foul for when we scored the second goal. I’m honest and I told Jurgen my opinion and my idea.”

De Zerbi was also asked about an incident involving Pascal Gross, who conceded the first-half penalty that Salah scored from. The German hauled back Dominik Szoboszlai inside the area as he received a pass from Darwin Nunez but the Brighton man was not sent off.

De Zerbi added: “If you speak like this, you have to analyze offside for the goal against Aston Villa, the third goal (last week). You have to analyze last season in the Crystal Palace game, we scored a 100% regular goal. In the Leicester game, there was a clear penalty.

“We can speak until tomorrow night and we’re not able to find an agreement. It was a penalty but I spoke two minutes ago, the Dunk goal wasn’t a foul. I am one of the most honest when I come to speak with the journalists.

“It’s a good point, I think in the 90 minutes we played better than Liverpool. Especially in the first half. We closed it losing 2-1 but we conceded two goals in a very bad way.

“We didn’t understand how we were losing at that moment. In the second half, they could have closed the game before we could score. In general, it was a good game, both teams played well.”

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