Liverpool travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday (3pm GMT kickoff), as they return to Premier League action. The Reds were last in action last Saturday when they were held to a frustrating draw by Wolves who forced a third round replay. Here’s the match preview. 

That performance against Julen Lopetegui’s outfit was once again symptomatic of the issues that have dogged this Liverpool side all season. Individual errors and a distinct lack of energy in midfield were once again the story of the day as a rotated Wolves side more than held their own at Anfield.

The manager had previously defended his midfielders, citing a general team issue instead of a midfield one. His tone changed after that display however as he bemoaned a lack of challenges in the middle of the park.

Klopp: “But for the whole game I thought we didn’t win enough challenges, to be honest. There are a lot of situations where I thought they win a challenge and all of sudden we are completely open.”

“We had two or three players in the challenge moving to the ball and when you are there, fine, you have to win the ball. If you don’t do that and they can get out then it looks like, ‘Where are they?'”

With no sign of further incomings in the transfer window and no sign of the manager changing a style that has brought him so much success, we are left with hoping the incumbent find hidden reserves of energy.

With the amount of minutes Fabinho and Henderson especially have chalked up in recent years playing Klopp’s intense style, that is very unlikely. The only other hope is for others who have not previously been first choice to stake a claim in the side and offer the side an energy boost.

Naby Keita has come off the bench in each of the last five games and has done just that. Oxlade-Chamberlain meanwhile has been pressed into action on the left wing. He’s got the pace and energy to cover the pitch quicker than most in midfield. Whether Klopp still trusts either of them to start in midfield remains to be seen.

Naby Keita hasn’t started a Premier League game for eight months (admittedly injuries haven’t helped) whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t started in midfield since a 3-1 win over Norwich City eleven months ago. They are both out of contract in a couple of months but whilst they remain on the books, should be of use.

Energy in midfield will be needed on Saturday as Brighton boast the enviable trio of rumoured Liverpool target Moises Caicedo, World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and wily old fox Pascal Gross. Liverpool old boy Adam Lallana is fit and could as well feature.

In the reverse fixture, Belgian forward Leandro Trossard was devastating, netting a hat trick in a 3-3 draw. That result and display wasn’t an outlier either. Already this campaign, they’ve won at Old Trafford, held Newcastle, thrashed Chelsea and knocked Arsenal out of the EFL Cup.

The Seagulls have been excellent all campaign. They currently sit 8th in the table, just a point behind the Reds. They’re coming off the back of two goalfests; a 4-1 victory at Goodison Park and a 5-1 hammering of Middlesbourough in the FA Cup.

They haven’t been invincible at home however, with only four teams in the division managing fewer than their tally of three home league victories. Ironically, Jürgen Klopp’s men have been woeful away from home in the league this season.

The Reds have only managed two wins on the road. With several rivals going head to head in the next fortnight, there is a real chance to climb up the table. Victory here would definitely see ground gained on at least two of the top five teams in the table.

It’s difficult to predict a Liverpool victory of late though. For a side that was two results away from winning the quadruple seven months ago, it’s been a real fall from the standards we’ve become accustomed to. They’ve conceded the first goal in 14 of the 27 matches they’ve played this season.

That just isn’t good enough. The side is constantly fighting an uphill battle after gifting opponents a headstart. The manager would have had a week on the training ground by the time this fixture comes around. Hopefully we see the result on the pitch.

Since winning each of his first six meetings against Brighton, Jürgen Klopp’s record against the Seagulls has taken a nosedive in recent campaigns. The Reds have managed only one win in the last five, with that sole victory coming in a 2-0 win at Amex where a brave Diaz header opened the scoring.

Make no mistake this will be a tough battle. If the Reds don’t show any signs of improvement on recent displays, Brighton will have a field day. If the Reds can match the Seagulls for intensity and effort however, then their superior quality should tell in the end.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk (hamstring), Jota (calf), Arthur (thigh) and Luis Diaz (knee) are all out. Roberto Firmino has yet to resume training following a calf injury but James Milner is back fit after overcoming a hamstring injury. Darwin Nunez is reportedly suffering with a ‘minor injury’ but has yet to be ruled out.

For Roberto De Zerbi, Jakub Moder is a long term injury absentee. Leandro Trossard meanwhile has been dropped from the first team squad as a result of “poor attitude”.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s