Premier League leaders, Liverpool, make the long journey south on Saturday 12 January to face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium, looking to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Liverpool v Brighton
>The Reds come into the game off the back of two straight defeats. They lost their unbeaten league record at Manchester City at the start of the year, going down 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, before being knocked out of the FA Cup by the same score line at Wolves. However, they still enjoy a four-point advantage in the title race, and many of those players rested for the Wolves game will return at Brighton.

With second-placed Man City not playing until Monday and third-placed Tottenham not in action until Sunday, Liverpool know they can extend their lead at the top of the Premier League again. Their hosts, Brighton, are unbeaten in their last three league games, and came through a tough FA Cup fixture at Bournemouth last weekend, winning 3-1. The Seagulls last two Premier League fixtures at the Amex Stadium has seen them hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw, and defeat Everton 1-0.

This is definitely going to be a tricky fixture for Liverpool to negotiate, especially after two disappointing results.

Team news – Brighton & Hove Albion

Manager, Chris Hughton, has an almost fully fit squad to select from, with the only absentee being forward, Jose Izquierdo.

David Button is expected to return between the sticks for Albion, after starting the last two league games, with the defence likely to be deputised by Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk again who will have a busy afternoon trying to contain Liverpool’s attacking threat.

Solomon March, Davy Propper and Anthony Knockaert will have a battle in midfield to offer creativity, whilst Glenn Murray, the club’s top goal scorer this season with eight league goals, will be relied upon to get the hosts on the score sheet.

Team news – Liverpool      

Manager, Jurgen Klopp, made a number of changes to his side for their FA Cup fixture at Wolves, so expect more changes for their trip to Brighton. Klopp will know that Liverpool need to bounce back as soon as possible to keep up the momentum of their title push, especially with Man City and Tottenham waiting for them to slip up again.

Klopp lost Dejan Lovren to injury early in that FA Cup tie, so he has a tough choice to make if the Croatian is ruled out. Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are also ruled out, so Fabinho might be called upon to play alongside Virgil Van Dijk at the back.

Alisson is expected to return in goal, with Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold the fullbacks. Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Georginio Wijnaldum are all vying for a starting place in midfield, but Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah will return to lead the Liverpool attack.     

Head to head

Saturday’s game will be only the 29th meeting between the two sides, who first met in 1908 in an FA Cup tie that finished 1-1 at Anfield. Liverpool won the replay 3-0, but it would be another 50 years before the clubs met again.

That was a League Division Two fixture in September 1958, which Liverpool won 5-0. In fact, it wasn’t until 1961 that Brighton enjoyed their first win over the Reds, a 3-1 home success in the league.

Albion won a famous FA Cup tie at Anfield in 1983, winning 2-1 on route to the FA Cup Final, and would knock Liverpool out of the cup the following year too.

The clubs first met in the Premier League in 2017, and it is only their third EPL meeting. Liverpool have won them all, 5-1, 4-0, and 1-0 – and will be desperate to make it four out of four.

The overall record between the two clubs stands at 4 wins for Brighton, 16 wins for Liverpool, and 8 draws.

Prediction and betting tips

This is a game that Liverpool cannot afford to lose, or the jitters will start, and Manchester City will sense blood. A win for Liverpool will send out a real statement that they can bounce back immediately from disappointment, and put the pressure back on the chasing pack.However, Brighton are in decent form, so it will be far from easy for the Premier League leaders.

We expect a tight game but see a close Liverpool win. We can’t see where Brighton will get their goals from in open play, although the disruption at the centre of the visitors back four will aid them. That said, we’re backing a tight away win.  

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