The Premier League is back! After a short turnaround post-Sunday’s fixtures, the world’s most-watched league returns with a new set of fixtures. The short break between fixtures can prove to be a boon as well as bane for the teams, as it gives them an opportunity to build momentum for some while making life difficult for those who are struggling. Liverpool is definitely the former, though a couple of weeks back it would be unthinkable to put them in that bracket. The Reds have seen an upturn in form and things are finally changing for the better on Merseyside. Unfortunately, they will be coming up against another in-form team in Brighton and Hove Albion, who have been rejuvenated by recent wins over tough oppositions. Here at Ball that Matters, we will be previewing the upcoming encounter between Liverpool and Brighton.
Form and Buildup
Liverpool has finally started to get back into their groove. After a promising showing in the loss against Manchester United in the FA Cup, the Reds built on it by winning a crucial clash against the Spurs. Following their successful conquest at Spurs, they repeated that result (3-1 win) against West Ham United, after an utterly dominant second half. Those results, coupled with the faltering forms of fellow European and Title contenders in United, Spurs, and Leicester, have propelled them to the third position and within touching distance of United in second. They will be eager to capitalize on their impressive form and continue their surge up the table with another win on Wednesday.
Brighton, surprisingly, is experiencing similar fortunes to the Reds at the moment. The Seagulls, having been on a downward trajectory a few weeks back, are now unbeaten in three Premier League games. This run has included impressive wins over Tottenham and Leeds, and they have also managed to keep three clean sheets against their last three opponents – all very attacking sides. They also have momentum and form on their side, which will mean that they are unlikely to go down without a fight at the home of the champions on Wednesday.
Liverpool is now without three of their starting center backs for the rest of the season. Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, and Joe Gomez are all struggling with long-term injuries and are unlikely to feature in the rest of Liverpool’s campaign. They will also be missing Fabinho, who has filled in admirably at Center back over the course of the season. Naby Keita, Sadio Mané, and Diogo Jota are also ruled out of tomorrow’s fixture. The Reds have brought in two defensive reinforcements in Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, much to the joy of us fans. However, Klopp has already ruled them out of the Brighton match, as a result of insufficient preparation time.
Brighton has been boosted by the return of one of their main men in Adam Lallana. The ex-Liverpool lad was on the bench against Spurs and it will be interesting to see whether Potter uses him to add another dimension to the Brighton midfield on Wednesday. Otherwise, there are no significant injury issues.
Players to watch out for
The Egyptian King is back. Salah has consolidated his position on top of the golden boot charts after scoring two goals in an impressive performance against West Ham. Both goals were quality and his all-around performance showed glimpses of his 17/18 form. If he can keep up this form, then he will surely be a threat to the Brighton defense on Wednesday night.
With Mané absent for this encounter, a lot of the creative burden will fall on Andy Robertson when it comes to the left-hand side. The flying Scot tops the Liverpool assist charts so far this season and his pace and stamina ensure that he is a constant threat. He will also have to be in top form defensively to handle Maupay and Trossard.
Neal Maupay has slowly but definitely evolved into one of the most underrated strikers in the league. The Frenchman is Brighton’s leading goalscorer so far and has looked a constant threat in these past few matches. His finishing skills and his aerial prowess can thwart defenses and Liverpool needs to be wary of the danger he brings to the table.
Lewis Dunk, Brighton’s captain, and center back have become one of their key players over the years. His physicality and confidence in the box make him a potent force at stalling opponent attacks. His aerial ability also ensures that he remains their primary option from set-pieces and corners – which also happens to be an area of worry for Liverpool.
The stage is set for another thrilling encounter between these two sides. This game may seem like a straightforward win for Liverpool but Brighton is not to be underestimated. The match will also have repercussions on the title race, with a Liverpool win keeping them within range of City and any other result seeing them fall back into the chasing pack. As a Liverpool fan, I’m hoping for another win for the Reds at Anfield, but Brighton is full of surprises. Whatever the result, the match promises to be another entertaining night of Premier League football.
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