By Simon Evans
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - LIVERPOOL 1 BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION 0
Mohamed Salah's 23rd-minute strike was enough to earn Liverpool a 1-0 win over a dogged Brighton and Hove Albion and give them an early top spot in the Premier League with three wins out of three.
It was hardly vintage Liverpool, with Brighton fresh from their victory over Manchester United last week, well-organised at the back and frequently frustrating Juergen Klopp's front three.
But it was the kind of hard-fought three points that Liverpool will need to pick up throughout this season if they are to mount a real challenge to Manchester City in the title race.
"Brighton were strong, organised and have good players going forward, too, so it was never going to be easy," said Liverpool midfielder James Milner. "But we kept a clean sheet and got a win. We know we can play better but we got the result."
Liverpool made a strong start, and Brighton's Australian keeper Mathew Ryan did well to keep out a Roberto Firmino header before Trent Alexander-Arnold rattled the crossbar with a 15th-minute free kick.
The breakthrough came when Milner robbed Yves Bissouma as Brighton tried to play the ball out from the back and a quick exchange of passes from Sadio Mane and Firmino ended with a clinical finish from Salah, last season's top scorer with 32 league goals.
Brighton kept a disciplined formation, frustrating Liverpool but creating little until a Pascal Gross header in the 88th minute forced a good save out of Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker.
(Reporting by Simon Evans,; Editing by Neville Dalton)