Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Wednesday, February 3rd @ 20:15
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/3, Draw 17/4, Brighton 8/1
Football is fun again. The Reds are winning and doing it in style. In the last week, we’ve witnessed Liverpool take six points from London with two exciting, attacking, 3-1 victories. With Manchester City’s visit to Anfield just coming over the horizon, Liverpool could not have picked a better time to find their shooting boots again. If Jürgen Klopp’s Mighty Redmen can take another three points from the Brighton game on Wednesday, then Sunday’s clash with City will be absolutely massive. First things first, though. Liverpool could only muster a draw from the visit to Brighton in November. They need to finish them off in this one.
Liverpool seem to have clicked back into gear over the last two games. Two brilliant wins in London, 3-1 scorelines at both Spurs and West Ham, means The Reds are back up to third in the league, four points behind first-place Manchester City. City do have a game in hand, however.
Mohamed Salah, in particular, was in red-hot form at West Ham on Sunday. Liverpool displayed much of the attacking verve we have come to expect from Jürgen Klopp’s team in recent years.
Brighton won only their fourth league game from 21 this season when they beat Spurs 1-0 on Sunday night. The first three of those victories were all on the road for Graham Potter’s side.
That win keeps Brighton in 17th place, a comfortable seven points above the relegation zone.
Brighton have lost just once in their last seven games in all competitions and that defeat was a very respectable 1-0 loss at league leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool’s injury list still contains the names of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota, Joël Matip and Naby Keïta. Also injured this week are Fabinho and Sadio Mané. It is hoped that both players can be fit again for the Manchester City game on Sunday. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely Jürgen Klopp will risk either Fabinho or Mané against Brighton.
Xherdan Shaqiri impressed against West Ham on Sunday and will probably hold onto his starting place with Mané missing.
James Milner has started in Liverpool’s last three fixtures, playing all 90 minutes in two of them. That’s a lot of minutes for the midfielder’s 35-year-old legs. I expect Milner to be on the bench for this one with Curtis Jones getting the nod ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to replace Milner.
Bobby Firmino will probably come back into the starting eleven in place of Divock Origi.
The centre-back pairing will be Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson again, whether Preston’s Ben Davies is signed on time to register or not.
Brighton Team News
Brighton are without Florin Andone, Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and José Izquierdo. There will be late fitness tests for Jason Steele and Danny Welbeck to see if they will be available for selection.
Graham Potter still favours his 3-5-2 formation with The Seagulls. Sometimes it can be more of a 3-5-1-1 shape when Brighton want the extra body in midfield with Leandro Trossard dropping deep.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Shaqiri
Brighton XI (3-5-2) – Sanchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Groβ, Bissouma, MacAllister, March; Maupay, Trossard
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won this fixture 2-1 at Anfield last season. It was an ultra-rare Virgil van Dijk double that put The Reds two up before Lewis Dunk pulled a late goal back for The Seagulls from a free-kick. That opportunity came to Brighton just after Alisson Becker was sent off for handling the ball outside the box and preventing a goalscoring opportunity.
Earlier this season, the sides drew 1-1 at the Amex Stadium. Neal Maupay missed a first-half penalty for the hosts. Diogo Jota put Liverpool in front on the hour but Pascal Groβ equalised with another penalty for Brighton in the 93rd minute.
LIVERPOOL 2 – 0 BRIGHTON
Liverpool look like they may be on their way back to that place where you just expect them to do enough in every game to take the points. Another win here would be just what they need before their massive top-of-the-table clash with City at Anfield on Sunday. Expect more Mohamed Salah magic with the Egyptian King in fantastic form.