Even as football clubs in England prepare to welcome fans back to the stadiums, they still need to play one last game week without them. Both Brighton and Liverpool have been placed in Tier 2, which means that they can both have 2000 fans in the stadiums from December 2. However, before that, the Seagulls will host the Reds at the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Brighton have had a tough start to the season, winning only two and drawing three games out of nine. They are currently 16th, 4 points above Burnley who have a game in hand. Since beating Newcastle away in Game Week 2, the Seagulls had not won, until they won at Villa Park last weekend. In between, they lost to Everton, Manchester United, and Tottenham, while drawing against Palace, West Brom and Burnley. Graham Potter will hope that his side can overcome their poor home form and shine against Liverpool, who have a point or two to prove to themselves and their detractors.
The Reds’ topsy turvy season continued as they beat Leicester comprehensively on Sunday night and then immediately got stunned by Atalanta at Anfield in the Champions League on Wednesday night. What was telling was that Liverpool’s attack was completely blunted by the Italian side. For the first time since Opta began collecting shot data (2003-04), Liverpool failed to record a single shot on target at home in any competition. This was quite contrary to their imperious form in Champions League thus far. It was also out of character, considering that Klopp’s side has bounced back from the setback at Villa Park in the Premier League as well. By beating Leicester on Sunday, they completed their 6th win.
They sit second in the table, tied with Tottenham at 20 points, trailing in terms of goal-difference. Jurgen Klopp will want his side to ensure their domestic winning streak continues, as this game week gives the Reds an opportunity to leapfrog both Spurs and Chelsea, who will play each other on Sunday.
- Many stats indicate why Brighton will find it tough on Saturday. They have never won a top-flight home game against Liverpool (D3 L4), losing all three in the Premier League by an aggregate score of 2-9. Liverpool have won each of their last nine meetings with Brighton in all competitions, scoring 27 and conceding just 7.
- Brighton are also winless in 14 previous attempts against reigning top-flight champions (D2 L12), losing all six such games in the Premier League by an aggregate score of 2-21. However, both those draws have been against the Reds (2-2 in 1981 and 1983 respectively).
- Liverpool are winless in their last three Premier League away games (D2 L1), last going four without a win on the road between January-March 2017 (5 games). At the same time, Brighton are looking to pick back-to-back league wins for the first time since November 2019.
- Expectedly, Liverpool are prolific in scoring goals this season, having scored 21 goals so far only surpassed by Chelsea’s 23. They also like to score their goals early, having scored 12 in the first half. But they are also likely to concede early – having conceded 11 goals in the first half so far and just 5 in the second half.
Danny Welbeck has started to feature more and more in Graham Potter’s plans and he has increasingly started showing his attacking colours. With 2.86 shots per 90 minutes and 1.90 key passes per 90 minutes, he has managed one goal in 189 minutes across three appearances so far. However, his xG90 of 0.41 and xA90 of 0.38 make him the biggest attacking threat that the Seagulls have. Potter will hope that the ex-Manchester United striker will want to make a mark against his ex-team’s arch-rivals.
Mohamed Salah returned to the Liverpool starting lineup against Atalanta but was not able to help his team avoid defeat. However, in the Premier League he is one of the top scorers. He has been involved in eight goals in his six Premier League appearances against Brighton, scoring five and assisting three. This season he has scored 8 goals in 8 appearances notching up xG90 of 0.74 and xA90 of 0.25, indicating a 99% probability of him contributing a goal if he plays all 90 minutes.
For Brighton, Tariq Lamptey would have been a key player but is suspended. Adam Lallana too will miss out against his former side due to a groin injury suffered against Villa. Davy Propper, Leandro Trossard and Ben White could be available for Graham Potter’s selection. The likely lineup for the Seagulls is likely to be Sanchez; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Veltman, White, Bissouma, Gross, March; Maupay, Welbeck.
For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp might revert back to a 4-2-3-1, which allows him to play all four of his key forwards, while also giving some respite to his defence. Klopp will likely pick the defence that started against Leicester and not the one that started against Atalanta, which means Milner could be back at full-back duty, while Fabinho will be back in defence. Henderson has trained this week and could feature against Brighton. The likely lineup for Liverpool is – Alisson; Milner, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Jota, Salah; Firmino
Liverpool will want to bounce back quickly from the stunning loss at home to the Serie A side. This trip to the Amex Stadium provides a good opportunity to do just that. Brighton played well to win at Villa Park. However, against the reigning Champions, they might find the going a bit too tough.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 – 3 Liverpool