Liverpool will look to continue their upturn in form on Wednesday night, as they welcome Brighton to Anfield. They will be desperate to get back to winning ways at home, following a disappointing defeat to Burnley. The visitors will have a spring in their step due to their weekend victory over Tottenham. It was a reminder of their quality and they will look to be positive against the current champions. This fixture will have ramifications at both ends of the table.
It has been a strange few weeks for Liverpool, as they have fallen off the pace in the title race and lost their place in the FA Cup. However, there has been an improvement in the last two Premier League fixtures, that has seen them beat Tottenham and West Ham. They were tricky matches on paper, but the champions showed their class and showed signs that they are returning to their best form. The transfer window has brought positive news, as they have brought in reinforcements at centre-back, with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak joining before the deadline. It is unlikely that either will start on Wednesday, but the business will have boosted morale within the club.
Brighton will feel that they are unfortunate to be in their current position in the league. They are performing well on a lot of the underlying metrics and due to this, it is expected that they will be able to move clear of the bottom three over the coming weeks. However, this fixture will be a difficult one for them. Since their promotion to the Premier League, they have lost every match against Liverpool, except the reverse fixture this season. They managed to get a point at the Amex Stadium and that will give them confidence that they can get something from the match on Wednesday.
Mohamed Salah has now reached 20 goals in all competitions for a fourth successive season. The previous player to reach this landmark for Liverpool was Ian Rush.
Brighton have now kept three successive Premier League clean sheets for the second time in their history. The previous time came in October 2018.
There were some doubting Mohamed Salah in recent weeks, as he wasn’t scoring goals in the Premier League. He went on a run of six league matches without a goal, but it was never likely to continue for much longer. At the weekend, he was played in a more central role and he showed the quality he possesses in a final third with two goals. This will have given him a lot of confidence and Jurgen Klopp will think twice before asking him to play wider in the immediate future. Brighton are a team that play with three centre-backs, but they won’t look to set up with a deep block. This will be good news for Liverpool, as they struggled against West Brom, Newcastle United and Burnley over the past couple of months. All of these sides set up with a deep block and the champions struggled to break them down. There shouldn’t be a similar issue against Brighton, as the Seagulls commit men forward and look to play a positive game, regardless of the opposition. If Sadio Mane is still missing on Wednesday, Salah will be given a freer role in attack and that is worrying for Brighton.
There has been a lot of excitement about Leandro Trossard since he joined Brighton in 2019, but he has struggled to really get going in the Premier League. Although the attacker has provided some exciting moments, Graham Potter will be hoping for more consistency in the final third. Since his signing, he has contributed seven goals and six assists in the Premier League, with a goal involvement every 259.5 minutes. There is a lot of room for improvement and he certainly has the potential to become a much more reliable outlet in the Seagulls’ attack. His movement is good and he regularly takes up promising positions in the opposition half. The winning goal against Tottenham showed what he can do. It should provide the 26-year-old with a platform to build on in 2021. This is another chance for him to show his quality against a top-six team.
James Milner and Sadio Mane are both doubts for the match on Wednesday. Joel Matip and Diogo Jota will be missing for the next few weeks, with the full extent of the former’s injury not known at the time of writing. Fabinho should be back for the match against Manchester City, but he won’t be risked against Brighton. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain on the long term injury list.
Joel Veltman and Alexis Mac Allister are both doubts for the trip to Anfield. Danny Welbeck and Alireza Jahanbakhsh won’t be available for the match against Liverpool, but they are closing in on a return to action. Tariq Lamptey won’t be available until later this month.
It is difficult to see Liverpool slipping up again at Anfield, despite the recent Brighton victory over Tottenham. The Seagulls have proven that they can compete against the very best, but it will be difficult for them to get anything from the match against the champions. This should be a comfortable home win for Jurgen Klopp’s side and Salah could be the star performer for a second successive match.
Liverpool 3-0 Brighton