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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Liverpool have the chance to move out on their own at the top of the Premier League table when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

The champions currently sit level at the summit with Tottenham Hotspur, but an inferior goal difference leaves them in second place heading into their trip to a Brighton side coming off the back of a much-needed victory.


Match preview

Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Premier League on November 22, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool's injury problems will continue to be a talking point throughout the remainder of the season given the long-term nature of some of their absentees, but they did an admirable job of answering questions regarding how they might cope last weekend.

A dominant 3-0 win over previous table-toppers Leicester City left them level with Spurs, and another victory this weekend would pile the pressure on a Tottenham side that faces a difficult away trip to Chelsea on Sunday.

However, Jurgen Klopp will be well aware that his side cannot afford a repeat display of Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at home to Atalanta BC - a result which denied the Reds the chance to secure a last-16 spot in the Champions League with two games to spare.

The result itself was a major shock - it was the first time in 137 matches under Klopp that Liverpool have lost a competitive home match by more than one goal, and the first time they have been beaten inside 90 minutes at Anfield in any competition since September 2018.

More worrying would have been the performance, though; Liverpool hit five past Atalanta three weeks earlier but failed to even have a shot on target in the reverse fixture.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on November 22, 2020© Reuters

Klopp had no complaints at the result but did once again take aim at the scheduling which sees his side thrust back into action for Saturday's early kickoff.

Liverpool made a number of changes in midweek and, while their attack was uncharacteristically blunt during that match, they do boast the second-best goalscoring record in the Premier League this season and are now the only team to have found the back of the net in every game.

At the other end, Liverpool kept their first clean sheet in seven league games last weekend and actually boast a much better defensive record since Virgil van Dijk was injured.

It is now their away form which will be of greatest concern, with Klopp's men having only won three of their last 10 away league games and none of their last three - they have not gone four without a win since March 2017.

Brighton's home record is nothing to brag about either, though, with the Seagulls without a win in their last eight league games at the Amex and having only won two of their last 17, a run which now stretches back more than a year.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates against Aston Villa on November 21, 2020© Reuters

Indeed, Brighton's last four Premier League wins have all now come away from home, including last weekend's 2-1 triumph over an Aston Villa side that hammered Liverpool 7-2 earlier this season.

Victory over the Reds themselves would give them back-to-back league wins for the first time since November 2019 and could even lift them above Manchester City in the table for a few hours at least.

To do that, though, Graham Potter's men will need to overcome a torrid record against Liverpool; they have lost each of their last nine meetings with the Merseysiders by an aggregate scoreline of 27-7, conceding twice in the opening eight minutes of the corresponding fixture last season.

In fact, Brighton have never won a top-flight home game against Liverpool, with their only home victory over Liverpool in any division coming in a Second Division match in January 1961.

The Seagulls have also picked up only two points from a possible 42 in previous games against reigning top-flight champions, although both of those points did come against Liverpool - in 1981 and 1983.

Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form: LDDLDW

Liverpool Premier League form: LDWWDW
Liverpool form (all competitions): WWWDWL



Team News

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara after the full-time whistle against Everton on October 17.© Reuters

Liverpool remain without a host of key first-team players for this match, although they were boosted by the returns of Mohamed Salah and Rhys Williams against Atalanta.

Salah is likely to start again this weekend, and his record against Brighton suggests that he could be a key figure, with five goals and three assists in six previous Premier League meetings.

Diogo Jota's omission in midweek was more a reflection of his increased importance to the team than a suggestion that he is still regarded as back-up to the main front three, and Klopp could once again name a front four including Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane this weekend.

While he may be spoiled for choice in attack, it is in defence and midfield where Klopp finds his options limited, with Fabinho set to return to the side to partner Joel Matip at centre-back.

Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold all remain sidelined for this match, while midfield quartet Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri are all expected to miss out once again.

Captain Jordan Henderson returned to full training on Thursday and so should be involved in some capacity, although he may be eased back into it rather than being named in the starting XI.

Liverpool are by no means the only team with injury problems, though, and Brighton could also be missing as many as seven players - although many of those could yet feature.

Tariq Lamptey is sidelined through suspension following his red card against Aston Villa, while Adam Lallana will be assessed ahead of kickoff, with a groin problem threatening to deny him a reunion with the club he left in the summer.

Leandro Trossard is now back available, while Solly March, Davy Propper and Aaron Connolly are also expected to be passed fit for Saturday's match.

Alexis Mac Allister will miss out due to coronavirus, while Florin Andone, Jose Izquierdo and Christian Walton are also likely to play no part.

Danny Welbeck will be hoping for another start after opening his Brighton account against Villa last time out; he has not scored in consecutive Premier League games since January 2016.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Bissouma, Gross, March; Trossard; Welbeck, Maupay

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; N Williams, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane; Jota


SM words green background

We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Liverpool

Despite their convincing win over Leicester last weekend, Liverpool have a few questions to answer here regarding their away form and whether the midweek defeat to Atalanta was just a blip or the first sign of their injury crisis taking its toll.

Brighton have performed far better this season than their league position and points tally suggests, but a first league win or draw against Liverpool since the early 1980s may be just too much to expect from them this weekend.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:423874:cQx

How you voted: Brighton vs Liverpool

Brighton & Hove Albion
15.4%
Draw
14.2%
Liverpool
70.3%
583
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Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino pictured in September 2020
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Jurgen Klopp highlights Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool "orchestra"
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd17113334241036
2Leicester CityLeicester18112533211235
3Liverpool1796237211633
4Manchester CityMan City1695225131232
5Everton1710252821732
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs1786330161430
7Chelsea1885533211229
8Southampton188552621529
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham188552521429
10Aston Villa1582529161326
11Arsenal187382019124
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace186572229-723
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle175481827-919
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
17Burnley17449922-1316
18Fulham172691425-1112
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1825111441-2711
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd181215929-205

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