Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Liverpool, on a run of two games and two wins, will be looking to extend that winning run as they host Brighton at Anfield on Saturday evening, in the televised late kick-off event. Brighton, having beaten Manchester United at the Amex last weekend 3-2, will be buoyed by the result and believe they can get something from a Liverpool side unbeaten at home since January (West Brom – FA Cup) and unbeaten in the league since April 2017. That is a run of 22 unbeaten matches with 14 wins and eight draws.
Liverpool have also managed to keep six consecutive clean sheets in the league at home, their best run being nine back in 2007. Brighton manager Chris Hughton will be looking for any sort of positive result this weekend as he has seen his sides succumb to six defeats when facing Liverpool across his managerial career.
The biggest shock of the Premier League so far arguably came at the Amex, as Brighton managed to topple Jose Mourinho’s Manchester Utd. They were calm in possession and effective when pressing in all areas of the pitch. Murray and Duffy’s clinical finishes were both brilliant in their own right and the Gross’ penalty all but sealed an emphatic win by half time. The second half required a different game and Brighton were both dogged and firm, nullifying most of what Man Utd could conjure up. Murray in particular was excellent in retaining possession when Brighton had a chance to get out of their half.
Hughton will have been absolutely delighted to pick up three points in the midst of a tough opening to the season. The next six weeks look a tough ask with fixtures against Spurs and Man City, as well as Liverpool of course; it was fantastic to see them take all three points against a faltering Man Utd side.
Liverpool managed to sweep aside a solid Crystal Palace side and showed that they are definitely up to the challenge of the long season and come May next year, they could be challenging for the title itself. On the whole, the Liverpool defence kept Palace’s Wilfried Zaha quiet but they will face a different task against Brighton, with the 34 year old Glenn Murray set to lead the line, hold up play and hope to be on the end of the long balls and crosses to force Liverpool’s new goal keeper into action.
Crystal Palace kept themselves in the game nicely until the a red card for Wan-Bissaka which completely set the tone for the remainder of the match, with the final nail in the coffin coming in the final seconds as Sadio Mane slotted home from a Mo Salah through ball.
Brighton had 33% possession at the Amex against Man Utd last time out and much of the same is expected at Anfield. Liverpool are a force at home and have been for over a year now, so understandably the challenge ahead of Brighton is a tough one.
The Reds completed the double over the Seagulls with the same fixture last season ending 4-0 to the red men of Merseyside. The Amex matchup saw Liverpool run riot too with a thumping 5-1 win. Liverpool have met with Brighton four times in all competitions in their collective history and the men from Merseyside have won on all four occasions.
The Reds are still without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dejan Lovren but no fresh injury concerns are with them for the time being. It will be interesting to see if Fabinho makes the match day squad as he is yet to make an impact since his summer arrival; he’s been missing since the start of the season and Klopp made it clear he was not injured. It seems the German has decided he’s either not giving his all or he’s still adapting to his role at Liverpool, as a Liverpool fan myself, it would be nice to see the £40m man on the bench this weekend.
The Seagulls saw captain Dunk forced off the field after 20 minutes against Man Utd last time out. He left the Amex in a protective boot and it’s clear he won’t lead his side at Anfield. At the weekend, he was replaced by Balogen who seems to be his natural replacement for this match up. Bruno will be touch and go after a hamstring scare against Watford saw him miss out against Man Utd recently and he will likely face a late fitness test. Andone, Izquierdo and Saltor all look set to miss the weekend clash as well.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Liverpool: Becker; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Wijnaldum, Milner; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Brighton: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Balogen, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross; Murray
Score Prediction: I expect to see a convincing Liverpool win against a side who have never come away with anything against the Reds. Liverpool 3 or 4 nil for me with the usual suspects on target for Liverpool. Salah (2), Keita and Mane.