Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Sunday, May 13th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/7, Draw 13/2, Brighton 16/1
Probably the only disappointing aspect about Liverpool FC at the moment is their form. But, as we all know, there is a reason for this drop-off. This isn’t a team of robots, it’s a team of men, of top athletes. They can only give so much on a consistent basis. We have seen the flip-side to their fantastic European journey in recent weeks. Draws at Everton and West Brom as well as at home to Stoke have left Liverpool just about clinging on to fourth place in the Premier League as we enter the final weekend of the season. Think back to August. If you had been offered the opportunity to draw your last home game of the season to guarantee a top-four finish PLUS have a Champions League final to look forward to against Real Madrid at the end of the month, I’m pretty sure every one of us would have been delighted with that. That’s the situation we are in. Lap it up.
Last season, Liverpool had to win at home to the already-relegated Middlesbrough to secure a Champions League place for this season. The Reds responded well to the pressure and got their three points in the end. Liverpool will have a week’s “rest” under their belts come Sunday and with a strong starting eleven should be able to see the job through.
Brighton secured their safety last Friday night with a great victory over United at the Falmer Stadium. Chris Hughton has done a great job with Brighton and, as a football fan, you have to be happy for him as he comes across as a complete gentleman – even when he was at Newcastle and Norwich he carried himself with admirable composure. The job he has done at Brighton simply cannot be underestimated or overstated.
Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium, Brighton put up a good fight but eventually succumbed to the Mighty City in a 3-1 defeat.
Liverpool Team News
We all know the injury-headache Klopp is dealing with these days. Joe Gomez has undergone surgery and is out for a few months, at least. There are rumours that Emre Can could be available for selection for the Champions League final but that will be without any match fitness as he won’t be fit for this weekend’s game. Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Joel Matip are also out until the summer at the earliest. Nathaniel Clyne racked up some more game time at Chelsea last Sunday so he can be considered a somewhat-rusty option at right back for this game.
I expect Klopp to actually go with the same starting eleven that should take to the field in Kiev on May 26th. As much as there is the concern about players picking up injuries, there is also the need for your best team to keep ticking over and not go too long without some game time.
Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- M. Salah —- 7.66
- R. Firmino —- 7.4
- V. van Dijk —- 7.29
Brighton Team News
Brighton will want to finish the season on a high and I’m sure no player will want to miss the opportunity to take to the field at Anfield. Hughton normally sets his team up in a 4411 shape, and I expect it to be the same on Sunday.
Isaiah Brown and Steve Sidwell are Brighton’s only injury concerns at present.
Brighton’s Top 3 Rated Players – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- S. Duffy —- 7.21
- L. Dunk —- 7.05
- P. Gross —- 6.87
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson(c), Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Brighton XI (4-4-1-1) – Ryan; Bruno(c), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray
When they last met
Liverpool’s 5-1 win at Brighton back in early December was the first meeting between the two sides since a 6-1 FA Cup victory at Anfield for The Reds back in February 2012. The 5-1 win in December saw Liverpool goals from Emre Can, Coutinho, Firmino x2, and a Lewis Dunk own-goal. Glenn Murray scored Brighton’s consolation.
Liverpool 2 – 0 Brighton
Liverpool should have enough in the tank to get past Brighton. The fact that The Seagulls have nothing but pride to play for is a good thing for The Reds, too. Thanks to Huddersfield’s heroics at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, Liverpool just need a draw for Champions League qualification. With that extra pressure off, I expect The Reds to go on and win on Sunday.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **