BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) - A stoppage time penalty from Pascal Gross left Liverpool frustrated as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday after a Diogo Jota goal looked to have secured a win for Juergen Klopp's side.
Gross drilled home his spot kick after a pitchside monitor review saw Andy Robertson punished for kicking the foot of Danny Welbeck. Liverpool had earlier seen two goals ruled out by VAR.
The defending champions still moved a point clear at the top of the table with 21 points from 10 games while Tottenham, who play at Chelsea on Sunday, have 20 points from nine.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson felt aggrieved by referee Stuart Atwell's decision and the final result.
"It was ours. It should be three points, in my opinion. I've seen the replay. Who would be happy? It’s not a pen. It feels like we’re standing here every week and discussing incidents. I don’t want to get into trouble, but for me it’s not a penalty," he said.
Henderson said Welbeck had told him the incident didn't merit a penalty, and the former Manchester United striker himself described it as a "soft penalty".
"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," Welbeck said.
Klopp, who was again critical of the broadcasting schedule which put his team on the early Saturday kick-off after a Wednesday Champions League game, had rested Joel Matip and started with Henderson and Sadio Mane on the bench.
With a make-shift defence, Liverpool survived two early scares. First, Aaron Connolly wasted a chance in the 10th minute when he was put through on goal by Neal Maupay but shot wide. Then 10 minutes later Liverpool right-back Nico Williams brought down Connolly in the box, but Maupay put his penalty kick well wide.
Liverpool later thought they had taken the lead when Firmino fed Salah, who burst goalwards and poked the ball past Mat Ryan. But VAR ruled the Egyptian had been in an offside position.
Klopp brought Jordan Henderson on for Williams after the break in a move that brought a more familiar confidence to the champions' play.
The opening goal came on the hour when Salah laid off to Jota, who veered across the top of the penalty area, creating space for a low shot into the bottom corner. It was his ninth goal of the season in all competitions.
Liverpool, who face Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday, suffered a blow when James Milner had to go off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Mane had a headed effort ruled out for offside seven minutes from the end, before the late Brighton equaliser.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson)