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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League encounter between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool.

Brighton & Hove Albion play host to Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to five matches.

Liverpool make the journey to the Amex Stadium looking for a positive response after suffering back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.


Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton manager Chris Hughton pictured on December 29, 2018© Reuters

There have been times this season where Brighton have looked like a side who have failing to build on their hugely-impressive first season in the Premier League but on each occasion, Chris Hughton has found a way to get his team back on track.

The Seagulls have gone on separate five-game and three-game winless runs in the top flight this season, but the club remain 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

That is down to seven wins being recorded from their other 13 fixtures and each victory has come by a one-goal scoreline, further highlighting the team spirit which is present in the home changing room at the Amex Stadium.

Hughton will be keen for his players to kick on and register a top-10 finish in May, but the experienced boss will also acknowledge that his team are marginally exceeding expectations at this stage in their development.

There would have been small concerns when the defeat at Bournemouth on December 22 represented the club's fifth in eight matches, but five points have since followed in contests with Arsenal, Everton and West Ham United.

The draw at the Hammers was tinged with disappointment with Brighton having held a two-goal advantage, but a positive response was delivered in the form of a 3-1 triumph over Bournemouth in the FA Cup third round.

Premier League survival will remain Brighton's priority until it is mathematically assured, but there is every indication that the south coast outfit should be more focused on trying to finish ahead of a pack of teams in mid-table.

Nevertheless, Hughton will be concerned that only one clean sheet has come from 11 matches, while last weekend's win at the Vitality Stadium marked just the second time since the middle of August that Brighton had scored three times in a game.

Recent form: LLLDWD
Recent form (all competitions): LLDWDW


Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp reacts during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Liverpool on January 3, 2019© Reuters

The disappointment of surrendering a 21-game unbeaten record in the Premier League and suffering a second early exit in a cup competition this season has the potential to linger at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp looks to win his first trophy with Liverpool.

However, losing a hard-fought game at rivals Manchester City will only further motivate the club's first-team squad to get back to winning ways, and being edged out by Wolves in the FA Cup has freed up space on what could have been a demanding fixture schedule during the closing months of the campaign.

No manager will like losing any game of football but behind the scenes, Klopp will be keen to look at the successive setbacks in a positive light and it may make his job easier going forward.

Klopp's position in the dugout at Anfield is effectively untouchable, but there is an increasing demand for success and an argument that this could be Liverpool's best chance to win a Premier League title for some time.

A four-point gap remains between Liverpool and Man City, and with Klopp's men playing earlier than City over the next two weekends, there is an opportunity to increase the pressure on Pep Guardiola's side.

Liverpool have also been provided with a favourable run of fixtures from this weekend until February 24, with the game at Manchester United representing their next showdown against an established top-six club.

Man City face Arsenal and Chelsea over the same period, and a maximum return for Liverpool over the next six weeks could potentially leave them in a stronger position ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

Injury issues in defence could possibly cause problems for Klopp, but this is a team who have scored in every domestic fixture this season aside from their stalemate at home to City in October.

Recent form: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLL


Team News

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 21, 2018© Reuters

Klopp has been boosted by the news that Virgil van Dijk is fit enough to return to the centre of the defence, with the Dutchman likely to partner Fabinho due to injuries to Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will feature having been left out against Wolves, as will Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Jordan Henderson is also likely to be back after missing the game at Molineux due to a knock, with Naby Keita and James Milner returning to the substitutes' bench.

Bernardo will remain absent from the Brighton side due to injury, while Hughton has suggested that Jose Izquierdo is not ready to return from a knee injury.

Mathew Ryan and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are on international duty at the Asian Cup.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Button; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bong; March, Stephens, Gross, Propper, Locadia; Murray

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah


Head To Head

Saturday's encounter will represent the 29th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Liverpool registering 16 wins in comparison to four victories for Brighton.

However, the majority of those matches were played between 1958 and 1991, with only five contests being played since the start of the new millennium.

Liverpool have prevailed in each of those games, scoring 16 goals in the process.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-3 Liverpool

Brighton will be encouraged by Liverpool's recent slump in form and their issues at the back, but Klopp will be demanding a strong, professional performance from his team and we are backing the Merseyside giants to run out comfortable winners.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool?

Brighton & Hove Albion
Draw
Liverpool
Brighton & Hove Albion
7.7%
Draw
7.0%
Liverpool
85.2%
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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 21, 2018
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How Liverpool could line up against Brighton
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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