This is one of those games which looks easy to predict on paper. Brighton are fifth bottom in the Premier League and are one of only three teams who have yet to win a match at home in 2020/21.
And while Liverpool might be ravaged by an injury crisis, they brushed league leaders Leicester aside last weekend without barely breaking sweat. What hope have the Seagulls got of depositing a mess on the Reds’ title hopes this weekend?
More than you might think. With his squad down to the bare bones, Jurgen Klopp has had to navigate through a tough match with Leicester, and then three days later their disappointing Champions League defeat to Atalanta.
The gap between the European game and this one is even shorter, and the Liverpool manager has repeatedly gone on record about his dislike for playing on a Saturday lunchtime. Never normally misses an episode of Saturday Kitchen, our Jurgen.
There’s also the fact that Brighton’s underlying performances have been far better than their results.
Based on expected goals, they could make a case that they deserve to be fifth in the league, that they should have won three of their four matches at the Amex, and have dropped the most points compared to their statistical performances of any team in the top flight.
Brighton v Liverpool, 12.30pm Saturday November 28
BT Sport 1
While all of the above might well be true, Liverpool are still top of the league for expected goals, and only second by goal difference in the real world. And though the Reds might be fatigued from their recent exertions, Brighton will be missing Tariq Lamptey due to suspension.
The former Chelsea player has been involved in so much of what Graham Potter’s side have done well this season, and he would’ve kept Andy Robertson busy on Liverpool’s left flank had he played. As it is, the Scot should be able to get forward and help the visitors wreak some havoc.
That’s something they’ve tended to do when facing Brighton, even if there have been some close matches in there. Liverpool have won all six Premier League meetings by an aggregate score of 16-3, and they should make the record read a magnificent seven victories in their favour after this match.
The corresponding fixture was arguably the most entertaining Premier League match of 2019/20, in terms of both teams having several great opportunities and it being fairly close. It was one of only three games where both sides had at least four clear-cut chances, and of that trio it was the most even on expected goals.
It seems nailed on that Liverpool will score here. Not only are they the only team in the top flight to have scored in every league match in 2020/21, only Manchester City have prevented them from netting more than once. Brighton might have kept as many clean sheets as the Reds have this season, but shutting out Burnley and Newcastle is hardly good preparation for the test they’ll face here.
And as well as being tied on points at the top of the league, Klopp’s side are also joint-top of the ‘over 2.5 goals’ Premier League table. With Brighton tied for fourth place, this should be another entertaining south coast encounter.
While it’s almost impossible to guess who Klopp will pick for his starting XI at Brighton, Mohamed Salah would be the obvious choice for a goal scorer bet as he usually gets on the score sheet when facing the blue and white of Brighton. He has featured in all six Premier League meetings between the sides, and has scored in four of them, bagging five goals in total.
The Egyptian also takes Liverpool’s penalties, but as Stuart Attwell – one of the refs who gives spot-kicks least often – is in charge for this one, that may not be a factor. Salah was also below par against Atalanta, but then so was everyone in red.
And for slightly better odds, why not look at the man who is in better form than even peak Salah? Diogo Jota is scoring more frequently than Salah was when he scored 586 goals in 2017/18, and will be hoping Robertson can whip in another delicious cross for him like he did against Leicester last weekend. He scored a brace on this ground last year too, so the sea air must be good for him.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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