Time to prove back-to-back defeats were a minor blip – Brighton vs. Liverpool Preview

11 January 2019

Liverpool will look to end a run of two consecutive defeats and go seven points ahead of Man City when they visit Brighton on Saturday.


Brighton vs. Liverpool

Saturday, January 12, 2019 – 3pm (GMT)
Amex Stadium
Premier League
Referee: Kevin Friend


The Reds were never going to keep winning every game, such is the nature of football.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side’s unbeaten Premier League run came to an end at City last week, before exiting the FA Cup at the hands of Wolves on Monday.

The latter was not a defeat that hurts too much, though, while the former was a game that could easily have gone either way at the Etihad.

It is imperative that Liverpool don’t panic after this mini-slump, with a four-point lead at the top of the league a wonderful position to be in.

That can become seven, at least for 48 hours, when they make the trip to Brighton this weekend, with a return to winning ways vital.

Fabinho and Van Dijk (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Key men will be well-rested, which should benefit the Reds greatly, and they should be buoyed by not dropping a single point to a non-top-six team this season.

Brighton have become a solid Premier League outfit under Chris Hughton, however, and the trip to the Amex will not be plain sailing.

Victory for Liverpool would instantly end any talk of a January wobble, piling pressure on their rivals in the process.

This fixture last season: Brighton 1-5 Liverpool

 

Team News

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 3, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk is fit to start on Saturday afternoon, despite there being concerns surrounding his fitness earlier in the week.

Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana are still sidelined, but Joel Matip has returned to training, putting him in the reckoning.

Fabinho could again be used at centre-back if Matip doesn’t make the cut, having been one of the few plus points on a disappointing evening at Wolves.

Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson should all return, which is a significant upgrade on Simon Mignolet, Rafa Camacho and Alberto Moreno.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 3, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson applauds the supporters after 2-1 defeat from Manchester City during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In midfield, a tired James Milner might be named among the substitutes, but Jordan Henderson is a doubt with a calf issue.

Should Fabinho start in defence, that may mean a start for Naby Keita alongside Gini Wijnaldum, while Xherdan Shaqiri is also in contention further up the pitch.

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are all raring to go, with their firepower so key as the Reds look to break down their opponents.

Brighton are without Maty Ryan and Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who are both on Asia Cup duty with Australia and Iran, respectively.

Bernardo and Jose Izquierdo are injured.

 

Last 5 Away to Brighton (All Competitions)

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 2, 2017: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mate Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 5-1 – December 2017 (Murray pen; Can, Firmino x2, Coutinho, Dunk OG)
Won 2-1 – September 2011 (Barnes pen; Bellamy, Kuyt)
Won 3-2 (AET) – January 1991 (Small, Byrne; McMahon x2, Rush)
Lost 2-0 – January 1984 (Ryan, Connor)
Drew 2-2 – March 1983 (Robinson, Howlett; Rush x2)

 

Amex Stadium

A general view of the AMEX Stadium (Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.)

Capacity: 30,750

Away fans’ pubs: There are loads around Brighton station, Prince Albert and The Caxton are always good.

One piece of advice for visiting fans: Stay for the weekend. The transport links for the Amex are poor, so best having a few drinks post-match on the concourse—it usually stays open for as long as people want—and then catch train back to Brighton when queues have quietened down and have a great night out.

Away-day information courtesy of Brighton fan Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire).

 

Did You Know?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 3, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having only managed four Premier League goals in his first 19 appearances this season, Firmino has scored the same amount in his last two league outings.

The Brazilian fired home a memorable hat-trick against Arsenal, before equalising away to City last Thursday.

Let’s hope that run continues at the Amex—a ground that Firmino scored twice at in the 5-1 win for the Reds last season.

 

Form

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 7, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-1 vs. Bournemouth
Drew 2-2 vs. Brighton
Won 1-0 vs. Everton
Drew 1-1 vs. Arsenal
Lost 2-0 vs. Bournemouth

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 2-1 vs. Wolves
Lost 2-1 vs. Man City
Won 5-1 vs. Arsenal
Won 4-0 vs. Newcastle
Won 2-0 vs. Wolves

 

Klopp’s View

In his pre-match press conference at Melwood on Friday, Klopp said he has total faith in Fabinho at centre-back, should he use him there:

“If he has to play as a centre-half for example, it’s not sure in the moment, we’d rather do that on the training pitch.

“With a lot of the information we have you complicate things. What we want is the natural understanding of the game. It’s still only football.

“And if you are a holding six or a centre-half, with the ball it’s easier, without the ball it’s different because you don’t have a line behind you.

“But that’s the most important things: use the one and be prepared for the other and everything will be fine. Then you have help from the players around, that’s always like it is.

“One player usually can’t decide one game, in defence you always need the boys around you. We speak a lot in the week, but we try not to make it more complicated than it is.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 7, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton vs. Liverpool is a 3pm (GMT) kickoff, which means it isn’t available on UK television.

Fear not, though, because This is Anfield’s matchday live blog will be running from 2.15pm, with Chris Williams in the chair.

He will provide lots of interesting content before the game and minute-by-minute updates during it.

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