Liverpool will be aiming to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield on Saturday.
Gameweek 14 of the 2019-20 Premier League season begins this weekend, with four of the ‘Big Six’ teams in action. Table toppers Liverpool will be in action during the “Goal Rush” segment on Saturday, when they will play hosts to Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield, looking to consolidate their place atop the standings.
Liverpool have been nearly impossible to beat in the Premier League so far this season, having only dropped points once in the 13 games they have played. In recent games, though, there has generally been a slight drop in form, which was also evident during their 1-1 draw with Napoli in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week.
Brighton & Hove Albion, on the other hand, have been much improved under the watchful eyes of Graham Potter, playing a fluid brand of football. But, the Seagulls have struggled on their travels, with the 3-0 win over Watford in the opening week the only instance where they have managed to grab all three points from an away game, only amassing one point since then on the road.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-0 win for Liverpool, with a first half goal by Mohamed Salah enough to ensure victory. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
The major absentee for Liverpool this week will be Fabinho. The Brazilian midfielder, who was going to miss the game due to suspension, is ruled out for the remainder of the year after sustaining an ankle injury against Napoli earlier this week.
Fabinho will be sorely missed in the middle of the park by Liverpool, who were moving the ball at a visibly slower tempo without him on the pitch in the Champions League fixture. Not to mention the cover he provides to the defence with consummate ease and Fabinho will not be an easy man to replace.
In his stead, Jurgen Klopp has the option to play either Adam Lallana or captain Jordan Henderson at the base of the three-man midfield against Brighton. Henderson is likely to get the nod to play the Anchor Man role, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to take the spot vacated by the Liverpool skipper. Georginio Wijnaldum ought to complete the midfield unit.
Meanwhile, apart from Fabinho, Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Joel Matip (knee) and Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) are also sidelined with their respective injuries. Matip’s continued absence means Dejan Lovren will remain Virgil van Dijk’s partner at the heart of the Liverpool defence.
The backline should see one change, though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold replacing Joe Gomez. Andrew Robertson is a certain starter on the opposite flank, with Alisson Becker an automatic pick in goal for Liverpool. At the other end, there is no looking past Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the three-pronged attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Brighton & Hove Albion
Graham Potter does not have many pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations for the trip to Liverpool. Jose Izquierdo (knee) and Bernardo (knee) are definite absentees for Brighton, while Solly March (injury) faces a late fitness test to determine his availability to take on the Reds.
The good news, though, is that Aaron Connolly is fit to return after recovering from a groin injury. The young striker should slot straight back into the starting lineup, with Neal Maupay being his strike partner. As always, Potter will line Brighton up in a 3-5-2 formation, with a no. 10 playing off the two strikers.
Leandro Trossard is expected to be handed the free role behind the strikers, with Davy Propper and Dale Stephens being the two central midfielders who will look to cover a lot of ground on both ends of the pitch. Steven Alzate and Martin Montoya ought to be the two wing-backs for Brighton.
The back-three will comprise of the usual suspects, most notably captain Lewis Dunk, who is available after serving his suspension last time out. Dunk will have Shane Duffy and Dan Burn as his central defensive partners.
The trio will look to keep things tight at the back, so as to frustrate the Liverpool attack again. Mathew Ryan will take his place between the sticks for Brighton, with the Aussie expected to be a busy man in goal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Ryan; Dunk, Duffy, Burn; Montoya, Propper, Stephens, Alzate; Trossard; Maupay, Connolly
1. Both Teams to Score – NO @ 1.75
1. Asian Goal Line Under 2.0 @ 4.400
- Liverpool have been victorious in their last seven meetings with Brighton & Hove Albion in all competitions, scoring 22 goals and conceding just five.
- Brighton are without a win in five league away games since they beat Watford on the opening weekend of the season (D1 L4).
- If Liverpool avoid defeat they will equal their longest unbeaten top-flight run of 31 games, set between May 1987 and March 1988.
- The opening goal in the last three league meetings between Liverpool and Brighton has been scored by Mohamed Salah. The Reds won 1-0 home and away last season.
- Jurgen Klopp is unbeaten in his last 26 Premier League meetings with English managers (W22 D4), winning the last 16 in a row.
Player to Watch
Fabinho’s injury is a big blow to Liverpool. However, one man’s loss could be another man’s gain. With Fabinho unavailable, Jordan Henderson is likely to be Liverpool’s holding midfielder more often than not, meaning a regular spot in midfield opens up. It is here where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in.
The English midfielder has managed to deliver whenever he has been called upon by Jurgen Klopp this season and he now has the chance to cement his place as a regular. Set to receive a run of games now, Oxlade-Chamberlain will hope to make his opportunity count.
Liverpool 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
We are back to Premier League action and what has been constant over the weeks ought to continue on Saturday as well. The gulf in quality between the two sides is just too enormous to expect anything except a Liverpool win.
Having said that, Brighton & Hove Albion will take the game to their hosts, with the absence of Fabinho likely to hurt the Reds to some extent. However, Liverpool will be too strong for Brighton, although Alisson’s wait for a first clean sheet of the season is likely to continue. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the Premier League leaders.