The fourth official’s board may have underlined Dominik Szoboszlai once again falling short, but the rapturous applause indicated there was no reason for the Liverpool midfielder to be concerned.

Certainly, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had nothing but plaudits for Szoboszlai following his part in securing a 2-1 home win over Brighton that ensured the Anfield outfit go into the midweek’s latest round of Premier League matches two points clear at the summit with nine games remaining.

“Dom Szoboszlai was the surprising act,” said Klopp. “The chaser, the chaos creator, and that worked really well I thought.”

Blood Red: Dominik Szoboszlai on Steven Gerrard Comparison

If Szoboszlai’s second-half showing – culminating with his thrust down the right and drilled pass inside that invited Alexis Mac Allister to create the winner for Mohamed Salah – was a touch unexpected given his fitful display for much of the opening stanza, it was very much a throwback to what the Hungarian was regularly producing during the early weeks of the campaign.

Szoboszlai played every minute of Liverpool’s opening 10 Premier League games before he was replaced midway through the second half of the 1-1 draw at promoted Luton Town in early November.

That indifferent showing signalled a downturn in form as even the relentless engine of the Hungary international struggled to cope with the intense demands asked when featuring regularly in the Premier League, let alone a Klopp midfield. After such a promising start to his Anfield career having arrived for £60million from RB Leipzig last summer, such a blip could be mitigated.

There was the highlight during that inconsistent spell of a goal deep in injury time to earn a 2-0 win in December at Sheffield United, who Liverpool entertain on Thursday evening. But it’s instructive that since that game, in contrast to the opening months only once has Szoboszlai lasted the full 90 minutes in the Premier League when staying on for the duration of the 1-1 home draw against Arsenal shortly before Christmas.

Of course, two spells on the sidelines with a hamstring injury haven’t helped, with the player admitting he rushed himself back to early from the initial damage that meant another month out, missing the League Cup final win over Chelsea in the process.

The 23-year-old, though, is now being slowly eased back to full fitness, with March showing signs of notable improvement. In eight appearances for club and country, there were four goals and an assist.

And his appetite for minutes hasn’t been diminished. “Dom Szoboszlai still cannot get enough of Premier League football,” said Klopp on Friday. “You could play every 10 minutes with him and he’d still be very excited about that!”

With seven goals and five assists in 34 appearances this season, Szoboszlai may not yet be churning out the numbers he achieved at Leipzig or fellow Red Bull stable club Salzburg, but he is matching Mac Allister for most goal contributions from a Liverpool midfielder this season.

Sunday was only the fifth time Szoboszlai had started alongside Mac Allister and defensive midfielder Wataru Endo in the engine room. The promise, then, is of more to come, particularly in the Europa League where, having played less than 90 minutes during six group games, he shone in both legs against Sparta Prague in the last 16.

“There are nine finals left, we are in first place, which means our fate is in our own hands,” said Szoboszlai to “If we don’t make a single mistake from now on, we’ll have the gold medal – so it may decide whether we can achieve the perfect finish. We are progressing from match to match, for now it is not worth looking any further than Thursday’s league game against Sheffield.

“Every game in the remaining nine rounds must be as if it were the last – and after Arsenal’s point loss on Sunday, we no longer need to aim for 16 goals in one of the nine games (to make up the goal difference on Arsenal).

“This is a new situation for me, that’s for sure. Salzburg stands out from the Austrian Bundesliga so much that the league title was within reach, and with Leipzig, in addition to the two German Cup victories, we were mostly fighting for the Champions League places in the league. On the other hand, after winning the League Cup, we are aiming for the league title and the Europa League Cup. It’s a new situation – but I’m really enjoying it.”

Rotation could see Szoboszlai rested on Thursday with Harvey Elliott knocking loudest for inclusion on the right of the midfield triumvirate. But after a difficult few months, the Hungarian appears ready to come full circle and finish the campaign as strongly as he started. With Liverpool still hunting a trophy treble, Szoboszlai is going to be needed.