Liverpool host Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side searching for a third successive win to start their season.
Liverpool vs. Brighton
Saturday, August 25, 2018 – 5.30pm (BST)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
After the serene victory over West Ham, getting the better of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park was always going to be a different challenge for the Reds.
They passed with flying colours, however, producing the kind of performance that champions are made of to clinch a deserved 2-0 win.
It was a further sign of how far Liverpool have come under Klopp, with so much more resilience and ruthlessness on show.
The Reds have won their first two Premier League games for the first time since 2015/16, and there is genuine belief that they can challenge Man City for the title.
Liverpool return to Anfield this weekend in a repeat fixture of the final day of last season, with Chris Hughton’s likeable Brighton outfit making the trip north.
It was a walk in the park that day, with the Reds’ 4-0 win sealing back-to-back top-four finishes.
Klopp has turned Anfield into a fortress, as he promised to when he first arrived, with the last league defeat coming against Palace in April 2017.
Such an in-form, high-quality team should have far too much for Brighton, but the Premier League remains unpredictable.
The Reds haven’t even been at their best yet this season, yet they’ve scored six goals and conceded none—an improved performance and an easy win would be an ideal way to sign off in August.
This fixture last season: Liverpool 4-0 Brighton
There are no fresh injury concerns for Klopp, meaning he could name the same starting lineup that took to the field against both West Ham and Palace.
Alisson impressed at Selhurst Park, particularly with the ball at his feet, and he will start in goal, with the monumental Virgil van Dijk and ever-improving Joe Gomez in front of him.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson should continue at full-back, but Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno are both available should Klopp feel the need to rotate.
Dejan Lovren is still out, with the manager ruling him out until after next month’s international break.
Jordan Henderson has a decent chance of being handed his first start of 2018/19, at the expense of either Gini Wijnaldum or James Milner, but Fabinho is still adjusting to his new club and is unlikely to feature.
Naby Keita produced more moments of brilliance against Palace and the silky Guinean is expected to link up with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino once again.
With rotation again an option in attack, the likes of Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge will be eyeing up starting berths.
Hughton has a fairly fit squad to choose from, but Lewis Dunk is a doubt after limping off in the 3-2 win over Man United.
Bruno, Jose Izquierdo and Florin Andone are still missing.
Last 5 at Home to Brighton (All Competitions)
Won 4-0 – May, 2018 (Salah, Lovren, Solanke, Robertson)
Won 6-1 – February, 2016 (Skrtel, Bridcutt OG, Carroll, Gerrard, Dunk OG, Suarez; Lua Lua)
Drew 2-2 – January, 1991 (Rush x2; Small, Byrne)
Won 4-0 – October, 1985 (Walsh x3, Dalglish)
Lost 2-1 – February, 1983 (Johnston; Ryan, Case)
Last season was an excellent one for Brighton, who achieved the sole aim of remaining in the Premier League after promotion from the Championship.
Their 15th-placed finish exceeded expectations and their objective is to build on it and become an established top-flight team.
After an opening-day defeat at Watford, the Seagulls bounced back in thrilling fashion in their aforementioned clash with United.
They richly deserved their win and in the end the 3-2 scoreline was kind on Jose Mourinho’s hapless visitors.
Brighton may not be a team of superstars, but they are expertly drilled by one of the most underrated managers in the game in Hughton.
The likes of Pascal Gross, Anthony Knockaert and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are all players capable of causing problems.
Underestimate them at your peril—just ask United.
Did You Know?
Liverpool haven’t conceded a Premier League goal at Anfield since February—Michail Antonio’s consolation effort in a 4-1 win over West Ham.
The only goals to have been conceded in that time, in all competitions, were Roma’s two late efforts in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Saturday is a great opportunity to keep that record going a little while longer.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference at Melwood, Klopp had lots of praise for Brighton and warned against complacency:
“It’s just a very good team, I really respect a lot what Chris [Hughton] is doing there.
“It’s not only the Man United game, but we of used that for our analysis, so we have been warned. We have to be awake and 100 percent spot on.
“We have to really be ready for work.
“Hopefully our crowd will be on their toes and create a good atmosphere. We have to deliver a proper fight, that’s what we want.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The game is live on BT Sport 1, with coverage getting started at 5pm (BST). Kickoff is at 5.30pm.
Chris Williams is in the hotseat for This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, with all the buildup before the match and minute-by-minute updates during it.