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10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Brighton

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Liverpool entertain Brighton at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, looking to kick on from their extraordinary win over Man United and extend their 23-game unbeaten run.

The Reds picked up one of their all-time great victories last weekend, thumping United 5-0 at Old Trafford to heap misery on their rivals.

After midweek exploits in the League Cup, it’s now time for Jurgen Klopp‘s side to cement that win with another three points on Saturday, as a talented Brighton side head to Merseyside.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.

 

1. Brighton make strong start

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 23, 2021: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Graham Potter during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Manchester City FC at the AMEX Stadium. Manchester City won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season, there was a feeling that Brighton played better than their results merited, often producing good football but proving to be sloppy at both ends of the pitch.

The Seagulls have ensured that hasn’t been the case in 2021/22 to date, though, sitting fifth in the table and only suffering defeat twice.

Graham Potter is an impressive young manager who has got his side playing an attractive style and he could be eyed up by bigger clubs in the near future.

Brighton‘s form has dipped a little in recent weeks, however, with no wins in their last four league games – Potter will be desperate to ensure this doesn’t turn into a genuine slump.

 

2. Who’s missing for the Seagulls?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 23, 2021: Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Lallana during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Manchester City FC at the AMEX Stadium. Manchester City won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton have an almost clean bill of health ahead of the trip to Liverpool, although giant defender Dan Burn will miss out.

Former Reds Champions League and Premier League winner Adam Lallana could start, coming up against best friend Jordan Henderson in the process.

Key midfielder and rumoured Liverpool transfer target Yves Bissouma may play, too, after returning from injury at Leicester in the League Cup in midweek, as Potter’s men crashed out on penalties.

Adam Webster is expected to replace Burn, with a 3-5-2 likely to be adopted, as was the case in last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at home to Man City.

Possible Brighton XI: Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Gross, Bissouma, Lallana, Cucurella; Trossard, Maupay.

 

3. Liverpool injury news

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates after scoring the fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s midfield injury woes have received a boost, with Naby Keita available for Saturday’s game.

The Guinean was exceptional against United, scoring and assisting, and he returned to training on Thursday after being stretchered off at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately, Fabinho is still out with a knock to the knee that Klopp said is “complicated enough to keep him out now again” while Thiago isn’t yet ready to return to the team, even though he is back in training.

Harvey Elliott remains a long-term absentee with James Milner also sidelined.

 

4. How the Reds could line-up

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 16, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will be wary of overplaying certain individuals so he could rotate this weekend, especially with Atletico Madrid heading to Anfield next Wednesday.

Joel Matip could potentially come back in for Ibrahima Konate, although the latter’s display at United may see him retain his place.

There is also the option of resting Virgil van Dijk, as Liverpool continue to manage him sensibly.

Sadio Mane is almost certain to play after not starting the last two matches, with the unstoppable Mohamed Salah and back-in-form Roberto Firmino favourites to feature alongside him.

If Klopp is feeling particularly bold at home to weaker opposition, he could play Diogo Jota as well, going with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Jones; Salah, Mane, Firmino.

 

5. Almost immaculate record against Brighton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 30, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) celebrates scoring the second goal, his second of the game, with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Until last season, Liverpool had a 100 percent record against Brighton in the Premier League, winning all six meetings.

That included a 5-1 triumph at the Amex Stadium back in December 2017.

It was the Seagulls who enjoyed the better of the fixture in 2020/21, however, with Pascal Gross’ stoppage-time penalty earning them a 1-1 home draw last November after Diogo Jota opened the scoring.

The controversial spot-kick was awarded by VAR after Andy Robertson was adjudged to have kicked Danny Welbeck, despite no Brighton players appealing.

Potter’s side then inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Liverpool at Anfield back in February – Steven Alzate scored the goal – during the Reds’ unfathomable six-game losing streak at home.

 

6. Klopp praises Lallana

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2015: Liverpool's Adam Lallana embraces manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Kloppaganda)

Klopp and Lallana used to be next-door neighbours with a strong relationship and it is clear that the former thinks highly of the latter.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp hailed his former player and bemoaned the injury problems that held him back:

“I miss Adam still to be honest. He set the standard for the press from the first day to the last day. That is what I loved about him.”

“A football player with his technical skills and that working mentality is really rare.

“If he was injured a little bit less he would be on another level. He is one of the best players I’ve ever worked with.”

If Lallana plays on Saturday, he is sure to get a fantastic reception from the home crowd.

 

7. United win “not perfect”

Liverpool fans may still be revelling in the Reds’ masterclass, but Klopp isn’t resting on his laurels in the slightest.

He told reporters that he still expects more from his team going into the weekend action:

“You win 5-0 against United and it was perfect, but it was not. United have clear cut chances which we gave them and we shouldn’t rely on luck or Ali in these moments.

“We could have done better. That’s how we spoke at half-time 4-0 up. I told the boys, believe me, we have to play better otherwise we open up the game for them.

“I saw in the first half we gave too much away, that’s the things we have to improve and not just in that game but in general.”

Part of Klopp’s brilliance is never settling for anything other than perfect and it has helped Liverpool become the force that they are.

 

8. Did you know?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Aside from the incredible form of Salah, the return of Van Dijk has been the key reason for Liverpool getting back to their very best again.

Incredibly, the Dutchman is still yet to lose a single league game for Liverpool in 51 appearances at Anfield, despite his four-anniversary at the club fast approaching.

That’s 44 wins and seven draws in that time – astonishing stuff.

The Reds did of course lose six times at home last season, but Van Dijk was sidelined at that point with his cruciate ligament injury.

He is a true great of the game.

 

9. Mike Dean in charge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson speaks with referee Mike Dean during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

No Premier League referee loves being in the spotlight more than Mike Dean, which means it’s always slightly worrying when he is in charge.

That is the case on Saturday afternoon, with the Tranmere fan refereeing proceedings at Anfield.

Liverpool have at least won three of their last four matches in which Dean has overseen matters, including the unforgettable Alisson-inspired win at West Brom last season.

He did afford Burnley a soft penalty at Anfield last season, however, on a night that saw the Reds’ almost four-year unbeaten home league record end.

 

10. Saturday 3pm blackout

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: A silhouette of television cameras during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday’s game is a 3pm (BST) kickoff, which means it can’t be shown live in the UK.

TIA’s matchday live blog is running as always, though, making it the best place to keep up-to-date as all the action unfolds.

Joanna Durkan is in charge from 2.15pm, providing pre-match insight and regular updates during the game.

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