Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool
Seagulls can be a pest at the best of times, so Jurgen Klopp will be wary of an unwelcome ambush when Liverpool take a trip to Brighton for their Premier League clash this weekend.
The league leaders will be desperate to avoid a third consecutive defeat at this pivotal point in the season. Their Premier League 2018 results couldn’t have been much better, as the Reds entered 2019 unbeaten. But defending champions Manchester City soon put paid to that! And a rapid FA Cup exit has made it two defeats in two this year.
Under Chris Hughton, Brighton continue to overachieve. One of the brightest managers in the league has guided his team to a mid-table position, but they need a few points yet to earn another season at the top table.
It’s a cracking game for us football fans to wrestle with; by no means a foregone conclusion.
Home form is key to Seagulls’ survival
The Seagulls defied expectations last season with a successful campaign in their first foray into the Premier League, entirely down to their home form. While they were in the relegation mix for most of the season, only four teams managed to win at the Amex Stadium.
And they are in good form on home soil again, losing only one of the last seven games in Brighton. Coach Hughton has done a superb job, but he has been quick to heap praise on his opposite number today. He said: “At this moment Liverpool are the best team in the league. Anything we can get will show how far we’ve come. I think Jurgen Klopp has been outstanding for the game here.
“Liverpool are better prepared and it’s all led by him.”
I can’t imagine Chris will expect any favours for his kind words. But he will have a plan to frustrate the Reds with his well-drilled defence, bolstered by the signing of Bernardo from Leipzig. And his other big summer recruit, striker Florin Andone, has started to find his feet, scoring in the FA Cup win at Bournemouth last weekend.
But the Seagull’s biggest threat will be Glenn Murray. If he doesn’t score, then Brighton can struggle in front of goal. The experienced striker has bagged eight goals this season, including his usual smattering of cleverly earned penalties. But second top scorer, with four, is big defender Shane Duffy.
The Reds must keep the faith
Liverpool had a chance to go ten points clear at the top of the league, but defeat to Manchester City has sent the Premier League 2019 betting markets spinning back in favour of the Sky Blues. Following that up with a limp display to crash out of the FA Cup against Wolves was not the reaction Klopp expected; even though he made several changes, he would have expected his fringe players to fight for a shirt and they simply didn’t.
But two games can’t change a season unless you let them. Klopp has an abundance of riches at his disposal. Mo Salah has been named African Player of the Year after a phenomenal 2018 and he has already scored 13 league goals, alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with eight each. Xherdan Shaqiri has provided another threat from wide midfield weighing in with six, so this remains a formidable attacking line-up.
Klopp does have a few issues in defence, though. With Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez out, Fabinho could be called on to partner the towering Virgil wan Dijk at centre-back. But Van Dijk is such an imposing presence I expect him to handle Murray and co.
Liverpool won all five of the meetings between these two sides since 2011, including a very hard-earned 1-0 win at Anfield earlier in the season. Mo Salah scored the goal which sent the Reds to the top of the league after three games.
Brighton’s home form is good, but not as good as Liverpool’s away record; the Reds have won eight and drawn two on the road, with just that solitary loss at the Etihad.
|Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool||Brighton & Hove Albion Asian Handicap +1.50 @ 2.05|
|January 12, 23:00 (GMT+8)|
Brighton could really do with a point from this game as they make the trip up to Old Trafford next to face a resurgent Manchester United. Although the Seagulls have a nice ten-point cushion above the drop zone, they would like to avoid embarking on a losing run as they try to reach the safety mark. And they generally do so well at the Amex.
Liverpool are at odds of 1.92 with that handicap which, after a couple of poor results, looks a little shaky to me. I can’t see the Reds running away with it, but they might just battle out a single goal win to keep their title bid on track.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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