PREVIEW | Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool (Premier League)

PÁDRAIG O’CALLAGHAN brings recent form, team news and predictions ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

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Liverpool travel to the south coast to face Brighton and Hove Albion as they look to kick off their remaining five games with a win which would see them eight points from the 100-point mark.

The Reds overcame a spirited Aston Villa side and had to work hard for the three points on Sunday, where two late goals were enough to claim the three points. A good win, but Liverpool were still far from perfect, failing to produce anything meaningful until the 70th minute.

Brighton defeated Norwich City in their game at the weekend which pretty much guaranteed their safety in the Premier League. Leandro Trossard scored the only goal in the game which was enough to see the seagulls go nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Recent form

Brighton all but secured their safety in the Premier League for at least another season last time out. Their 1-0 victory away to bottomfeeders Norwich moved them nine points clear of the relegation zone which should see them safely remain in the England’s top division for the next campaign.


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Trossard’s strike mid-way through the first half was enough to separate the sides. A counter-attack from the away side saw Aaron Mooy with the ball on the right wing. His cross found the Belgian who has the easy task of slotting home with six yards out.

Norwich did have their chances. Onel Hernández failed to find the target twice when placed in a good position, firing over his first effort from a tight angle in the box while he dragged wide from his second effort from 18 yards.

The closest Brighton came to conceding was late on, when a cross into the box was flicked on by Adam Idah. Maty Ryan was stranded, leaving an open goal to aim for but no Norwich player was able to capitalise and Brighton were able to clear.

Liverpool defeated Aston Villa at home as they bounced back from a disappointing loss in midweek. Little of note happened in the first half, Villa were dominant but didn’t produce much while Liverpool had their first shot on target in the 44th minute. The most exciting thing to happen in the first half was Paul Joyce following Thiago Alcântara on Twitter.

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The first 25 minutes of the second pretty much mirrored the first half. The game was so stale at one point, I switched tab and started tracking a private jet which had departed Munich and was flying in the direction of Liverpool. A couple minutes later it started descending in north France which confirmed it wasn’t Liverpool latest transfer target.

As I switched back, Liverpool made a triple substitution. Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino all came on to freshen things up and immediately Liverpool had more purpose in their play and had to wait only ten more minutes to find the opener. Naby Keïta passed to Sadio Mané ten yard out, who found the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Curtis Jones ensure the three points were safe as he scored his first Premier League goal. Mo Salah headed down to the Scouser who volleyed home from eight yards in front of the Kop, albeit an empty one.

Team news

Graham Potter has a fully fit squad to choose from when Liverpool visit the Amex. With his side having nothing to play for he may start preparing for next season using his last five games as a mini pre-season.

It is still likely he will pick a strong line up due to the fact his side are still competing in the Premier League, with each place they climb worth around £800k to the club.

Maty Ryan will start in goal, while Tariq Lamptey, Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Dan Burn will likely complete the defence – they have the second best defensive record in the lower half of the table, conceding 44 goals which is equal to Chelsea and Spurs.

Yves Bissouma and Davy Pröpper will complete the defensive duties of the midfield while Aaron Mooy and Leandro Trossard are expected to appear on the flanks. Brighton have played with two forwards often this season, with Neil Maupay and Aaron Connolly likely to start.

Jürgen Klopp will likely continue to make changes having made three to the starting line-up at the weekend. Alisson Becker will be one of the mainstays for the remainder of the season as he chases the Premier League Golden Glove award.

Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk will form the centre-back partnership with few other options, while Andy Robertson might be dropped for his poor form – if he is, then James Milner, freshly recovered from an injury, is his likely replacement.

Naby Keïta deserves to keep his place in midfield alongside the incoming Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Curtis Jones was handed a start, though our midfield needs discipline especially when a full-back is also making his first start.

Roberto Firmino is likely to return to the starting line-up alongside Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

Prediction

Liverpool may struggle in this game due to how well Brighton have played in three of their last four games. In those games they have picked up seven points – a very attacking Manchester United side disposed of them easily by three goals, but they still had chances in the game to score.

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Liverpool have kept three cleans sheets in four, but have failed to score in two of those four games as well. Brighton can be excellent defensively so the Reds may struggle to find the back of the net, especially considering their recent poor away form.

We may have to be patient into the second half and wait for Brighton to fatigue and have a repeat of the Villa game. Let’s hope there are a couple of private jets departing Munich to get us through the first hour if that is the case.

Predicted final score: Brighton 0-1 Liverpool


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