Match week 10 see Brighton travel north, to face second placed Liverpool in an interesting Premier League battle. Brighton have started the season brilliantly, and have amassed 15 points, to see then sitting pretty in 5th place. Graham Potter is now a manger whose work is becoming more and more respected, with the likes of Newcastle and Manchester United being mentioned as possible destinations. Games like this Saturday (at Anfield) could well be an audition for that higher position, and Potter will be keen to pit his tactical wits against his world class counterpart, Jürgen Klopp.
Dan Burn is the only new injury doubt for Brighton, after suffering a midweek knock. Last weekends humbling by Manchester City is not a fair reflection of Brighton’s current form, with most teams succumbing to the domination of Pep’s side. The midweek shuffle and subsequent draw in the cup (away to Leicester), showed Brighton have ample depth, and the eventual penalty shoot out loss will surely see Potter recall his preferred starting eleven.
Adam Lallana is a likely starter once more, and the returning former Liverpool midfielder will be eager to lock horns with his former room mate, Jordan Henderson. Potter could either start with a conventional 4-4-2 or switch to a 3-5-2, and will depend solely on his desired tactics. The feeling is that he will employ the extra defender, and revert to a defensive 5 man backline.
The Mohamed Salah season of seasons looks set to continue, with Potter surely looking to restrict the Egyptian Kings influence. The first choice back four could now see Virgil Van Dijk partnered once more, by the giant Ibrahima Konate, and this in itself will add not just defensive power and pace, but an immense attacking threat (from set pieces). The full back duo of of Trent Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson will return after Liverpool’s midweek win (away to Preston), with Klopp’s strongest side possible back for the Premier League. The midfield will welcome the captain, Jordan Henderson, back into the holding role, with Naby Keïta and Curtis Jones the likely 8’s. Naby was on the receiving end of a horrible challenge last Sunday (that saw Paul Pogba sent off), but has now recovered from the impact injury to return to the first team. His value to to this Liverpool side is now such, that his moments on the pitch are usually offering a winning formula to the midfield three. His ball carrying and in game intelligence is a joy to behold, and the hope is that a run of games can finally be awarded to the little Guinean.
The attack of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will surely start this game, with all three turning back the clock on the threesomes performance levels. Mo Salah has never looked better, and his performances are surely aiding Sadio and Bobby’s own run of goal scoring form. Diogo Jota is likely to be rotated out, with Atletico Madrid visiting in the midweek.
The three points is more important to Liverpool than Brighton, in that the three horse race will see very few points dropped for the eventual winner. Brighton’s brilliant start allows them some room to manoeuvre, but the 4 goals conceded last weekend (to Manchester City), will surely see them look to regroup and limit space for the rampant reds. Liverpool seem to have a real urgency in their play this season, with the want to blow teams away.
Liverpool will be looking for the early goal, and will be setting up camp in Brighton’s half from the outset. The fullbacks will offer good variation and delivery, but I suspect the Mohamed Salah and Naby Keïta double act could be about to be a thing. Liverpool should be too strong and their intentions should simply overpower the visitors, resulting in a comprehensive home win.
Player to watch – Naby Keïta
Liverpool 3 – 0 Brighton Hove & Albion