Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his second goal during his team's English Premier League match against Brighton at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on Saturday. Photo: Jon Super/AP

LIVERPOOL – Liverpool hung on after having goalkeeper Alisson Becker sent off to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points thanks to two first-half headers from defender Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool, who also equalled their unbeaten top flight run of 31 games set between May 1987 and March 1988, have 40 points from 14 games, with second-placed champions Manchester City on 29 after they were held to a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Van Dijk opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a looping header after Trent Alexander-Arnold floated in a free kick from the right and the two combined again for the second goal six minutes later.

Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan denied Sadio Mane with a fine reflex save but was powerless when Van Dijk made his run to meet Alexander-Arnold’s corner at the near post.

Centre back Lewis Dunk missed two chances to pull one back for Brighton, sending a shot wide from close range shortly before halftime and then glancing a header inches wide of the far post in the 54th minute.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was sent off in the 77th minute for handling the ball outside the penalty area. Dunk immediately took advantage as he stroked a quick low free kick past stand-in keeper Adrian.

Reuters