Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 3/5
Brighton and Hove Albion are set to welcome Liverpool to the Amex Stadium in the early game on Saturday, which will be a part of the 10th round of this season’s Premier League roller coaster.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls have become one of those teams who, despite spending most of the season in the bottom half of the Premier League table, take observers by surprise with their positive approach to the game. Graham Potter is therefore widely being lauded as a breath of fresh air among British managers, a stark contrast to the likes of Sam Allardyce or Alan Pardew.
Nonetheless, the league table is certainly not a sight as appealing to the Brighton fans as Potter’s team playing. They are in 16th place with nine points to their name, five above the relegation zone. But if you look the other way, it is the same distance as that to West Ham United who are currently eighth, so the situation is not really that bad, and there is a long way to go yet before these numbers become proper telling signs.
What will be worrying Potter at this stage is the fact that Brighton have won only one of their last six league outings – away against Aston Villa last week, and even more that they have now been winless in eight league matches they played at home.
The name that’s probably drawing the most attention in relation to this match is Adam Lallana, who bid Liverpool a very emotional farewell after six years of service this summer and joined Brighton as a free agent. The attacking midfielder is, however, a doubt due to a groin problem.
Wide man Tariq Lamptey is suspended following a red card against Villa. Midfieler Alexis Mac Allister is out following a positive Covid-19 test. Striker Florin Andone is out until the end of the year with a knee ligament problem. Winger Jose Iziquerdo and goalkeeper Christian Walton are likely to miss out too, though the latter probably wouldn’t play anyway with Matt Ryan being the regular number one choice between the posts.
Former Manchester United and Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck will be hoping to start after his fine performance at Villa Park.
Written off plenty of times due to constant and numerous injury problems this season, the Premier League champions are still managing to stay afloat and stay with the pace of the title race, much more so than several other teams often perceived as their main rivals in that aspect.
The Reds go into the round in second place, behind only Tottenham Hotspur and that on mere goal-difference, and that having faced Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City already. Both Liverpool and Spurs have a tally of 20 points from the opening nine rounds. Of their last six matches, the Jurgen Klopp’s men won three, drew two and lost one – the 7-2 shock at Villa Park in early October.
However, they also travel to Brighton on the back of a disappointing Champions League defeat at home against Atalanta this week. Though they played that game with a much-changed line-up, with three 19-year-old players in the starting XI, Klopp can’t have been happy with what those selected did on the night – for instance, they failed to register a single shot on target throughout the contest.
But if recent history is anything to go by, they will be eager to cut a potential bad run at the root when they take to the pitch against Brighton.
There are several long-term absentees for Liverpool at the moment – centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, as well as midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara, though the former Bayern Munich man is said to be close to returning.
Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is out with a calf problem. Midfielder Naby Keita and winger Xherdan Shaqiri are expected to miss this game as well.
On the other hand, forward Mohamed Salah came back into the fold against Atalanta after a coronavirus scare which kept him out last week against Leicester City. Captain Jordan Henderson is back in training after picking up an injury during the last international break.
Anything is possible, of course; we’ve seen plenty of huge surprises already this season. But looking ahead at the match, it’s hard to see Brighton getting anything from this game. As has been said above, Liverpool will be keen to get back to winning ways after the Atalanta defeat, and once they click into gear properly, the Seagulls will simply be no match.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 3/5
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