Lallana impressing, return of fans & deadly Mane – The view from Brighton

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Liverpool head to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime, with Adam Lallana impressing for his new club, but results not matching performances.

The Reds were magnificent in their last league outing, seeing off Leicester with consummate ease at Anfield.

This weekend, Jurgen Klopp and his players head south for a clash with an aesthetically-pleasing Brighton side, but one who sit 16th in the table.

Liverpool have won on every visit to the Amex Stadium to date – here’s hoping that trend continues on Saturday, with victory taking the Reds to the league’s summit.

With the game fast approaching, we spoke to Liverpool University lecturer and Brighton fan Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire) to hear about the Seagulls’ form, Lallana’s impact and the weekend fixture.

 

How would you assess Brighton’s start to the campaign?

The football has looked good but there are defensive problems, especially at set pieces and at the back post. It has cost us dearly.

The performances have been better than results, without question.

 

What would constitute a successful season for the Seagulls?

Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. (Image: Mike Hewitt/PA Wire/PA Images)

Brighton’s first aim has to be to avoid relegation.

Another good target would be to exceed last season’s points total of 41 and win against a team we haven’t yet beaten in the Premier League.

Let’s hope that happens on Saturday.

 

Who have been Brighton’s three best players so far this season?

1. Tariq Lamptey: He is an absolute bargain at £3million from Chelsea and I will be delighted if we still have him on our books in a year. He is an England player in the making.

Ridiculously quick, brave and loves to take on defenders.

2. Solly March: A bit-part player for the last few seasons who lacks confidence, but playing in front of empty stands has probably been great for him.

It means he can concentrate on his game and follow instructions, without having the crowd on his back after the first misplaced pass.

Has found his true vocation as a wing-back.

3. Adam Lallana: Oozes class, sees things before anyone else and can play a killer pass.

A brilliant signing from Liverpool.

 

What’s your take on the decision to let fans back into grounds?

Financially, it is critical for League One and League Two clubs, as they are so dependent upon matchday income to make ends meet.

In terms of the Premier League clubs, they will not be making money from having 2,000 or 4,000 fans in a 40,000 plus stadium.

These clubs normally generate about £700 million from ticket sales in a season, so I am hoping the slight relaxation in rules will allow clubs to prove that they can organise and manage fans without any COVID-19 consequences, and that it will convince the government to increase the maximum allowed to attend.

 

Switching our attention to Liverpool, do you still see them as title favourites?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are certainly starting to hit their stride.

Diogo Jota looks like a superb addition and the defence still has enough pace to deal with most opponents.

The two Manchester clubs are too erratic to be challengers and Arsenal lack guile in midfield, so the only clubs to worry about are Chelsea and Tottenham.

Chelsea concede too many goals and Spurs are reliant on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – if they stay fit, they could be the biggest threat.

 

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, who do you fear most for the Reds?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with team-mate Sadio Mané after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sadio Mane, as always.

He has had a relatively quiet season by his standards, but he still scares defences as soon as he is in the final third with the ball.

 

Where do you see the key battles taking place?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson walks back to the dressing room at full time after an injury time winning goal was disallowed following a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trying to reduce the number of opportunities Liverpool’s full-backs have to cross the ball is key, although Trent Alexander-Arnold being out helps.

Brighton have too many lapses in concentration at the back, which is concerning going into the game.

 

Finally, hit us with your prediction…

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (L) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

I will go for Brighton 1-2 Liverpool.

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