BRIGHTON VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW
Liverpool travel to the Amex stadium to take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the early kickoff on Saturday. Both sides are coming off the back of defeats, with the Reds going down 1-0 at home to Inter, and the Seagulls suffering a 2-1 loss at Newcastle last time out. Here’s a preview of the game.
Liverpool could once again cut the gap to Manchester City down to 3 points, if they can manage to beat a Brighton side that frustrated them at Anfield earlier in the season. The aim will be to get the win and heap pressure on City who will travel to Selhurst Park on Monday night.
It is yet another must win game in a season full of must win games. Jürgen Klopp’s troops are still alive in three competitions having lifted the League Cup trophy last month. It is a relentless schedule, with Saturday’s trip to Brighton followed up by trips to Arsenal and then Nottingham Forest before the international break.
Liverpool come into Saturday on a seven match winning streak in the Premier League. Their 12 match winning sequence in all competitions was snapped by Inter Milan on Tuesday, in a result which still saw the Merseyside club seal a place in the last eight of the Champions League.
It is contrasting form for Graham Potter’s Brighton side. Since the start of February, they have lost five of their six matches in all competitions, losing the last four league games on the bounce. It is a shocking drop in form when you consider they were only beaten four times in their 26 matches from August to January.
It’s just one goal scored in the last four games, with that being a Dunk header from a corner against Newcastle. The Seagulls have completely dropped off a cliff it seems. A quite alarming run when you remember just how strong a start to the season they enjoyed.
They were earning universal praise for their fearless approach to games, especially against the big sides. They turned up to Anfield last October and completely outplayed Liverpool in the second half to stage a comeback from 2-0 down.
Manager Graham Potter was rightly praised for the excellent job he was doing and was even tipped for a ‘bigger’ job. He was linked with Everton, Aston Villa and even Manchester United. He will be working tirelessly to arrest this poor run before they get dragged into a relegation dog fight.
Brighton’s major problem from last season still persists; they lack a clinical goalscorer to bang in the goals their approach play deserves. Their tally of 32 league goals conceded this season is actually the 6th best record in the league but it is at the other end where they struggle.
They have only managed to find the back of the net 26 times, which ranks them 17th in the league. It is therefore no surprise that they lie 13th on the table with 33 points to their name. They’ve gone from dreaming of a European place finish to meandering in mid table.
Liverpool will hope to compound the misery on the south coast by condemning Brighton to their fifth straight defeat. Confidence in their ranks will have taken a battering over the last few weeks so if Klopp’s men can score early, they could knock the stuffing out of them.
The Reds have failed to win any of their last three fixtures against Brighton, a stark contrast to the six consecutive victories over the Seagulls after they gained promotion. They’ve become a bit of a hard nut to crack for the Reds of late, but that can be put right on Saturday.
For Liverpool, Ibou Konaté missed the last game with a knock and is therefore a doubt. Bobby Firmino also missed the Inter clash but is expected to be available on Saturday, having returned to team training on Monday.
For Brighton, Adam Webster is out with a groin injury whilst Enock Mwepu and Jeremy Sarmiento are stepping up their recoveries from thigh issues to see them in contention for Saturday. Ex-Red Adam Lallana, along with Yves Bissouma and Neal Maupay are all vying for a recall to the starting XI.
The dazzling winger has been much better than his 1 goal in 9 appearances would suggest. He’s been one of the standout players at the club over the past month or so. His luck infront of goal will turn at some point, and Saturday is as good a time as any.
The Frenchman has once again been the go to man for Graham Potter. He isn’t a prolific goalscorer at Premier League level just yet. His 8 goals and 2 assists this season already matches his tally for last season as he aims to hit double figures. He’s never scored or assisted against Liverpool and will seek to end that barren run.
The 23 year old is in record breaking mood this season. He’s provided the most assists in the division (11) and surely has the Playmaker award in his sights. He put in a Man of the Match performance against West Ham and was again the Reds’ best player against Inter. Expect him to be at the heart of Liverpool’s attacks.
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