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Liverpool vs. Brighton: 10 key things to know as Premier League run-in starts now

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Liverpool can go top of the Premier League with a win at home to Brighton on Sunday, but Jurgen Klopp has struggled against potential successor Roberto De Zerbi in the past.

Liverpool vs. Brighton

Premier League (29) | Anfield
March 31, 2024 | 2pm (BST)


The Reds are back after the international break, as the first of 10 critical remaining league games arrives this weekend.

Victory for Liverpool over the Seagulls will take them three points clear of Arsenal at the top, before the Gunners make the trip to Man City later in the afternoon.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of a huge match.

 

1. The first of 10 cup finals for Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 16, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The disappointment of the 4-3 FA Cup defeat to Man United needs to be consigned to history, with bigger matches now on the horizon.

That starts on Sunday, in what should be seen as one of 10 cup finals for Liverpool in the league, as they look to win a second Premier League title under Klopp.

It is pointless thinking about what could happen in the City-Arsenal clash if the Reds don’t do their job first, and they have to be switched on from minute one.

This one is a banana skin that has the potential to be sticky.

 

2. Have Brighton lost a spark?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 1, 2022: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton were the hipster’s choice last season, playing some magnificent football under De Zerbi and qualifying for Europe in the process.

This time around, they have lost a bit of their spark, despite still sitting eighth in the league table, and they were unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa League by Roma.

They have won two of their last six games in all competitions and all this is not to say that Brighton don’t carry a threat and could damage Liverpool’s title hopes, as the 2-2 draw at the Amex earlier in the campaign proved.

From a Reds perspective, the hope is that the Seagulls already have one eye on the beach this summer!

 

3. Who’s missing for Liverpool?

It seems to be an unwritten rule that Liverpool can’t go more than a week without a new injury emerging, and that has again proved to be the case.

Andy Robertson hobbled out of Scotland’s 1-0 defeat at home to Northern Ireland in midweek with an ankle problem, ruling him out of the Brighton game. It is only to be a short-term issue, though.

Thankfully, the rest of Liverpool’s fitness issues are easing, with Curtis Jones on the cusp of a return, and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota are not far off either.

Alisson is expected to return from a hamstring problem in the next two to three weeks, while Joel Matip, who won’t be seen again this season, is running again after an ACL injury.

 

4. Does Liverpool’s XI pick itself?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 13, 2024: Liverpool's (L-R) Luis Díaz, Alexis Mac Allister, Darwin Núñez during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp should be able to name a formidable starting lineup at Anfield on Sunday, which often hasn’t been the case this season.

Caoimhin Kelleher and Conor Bradley will continue following excellent runs in the team, and Ibrahima Konate is expected to be back in for Jarell Quansah.

Robertson’s expected absence means that Joe Gomez starting at left-back is a no-brainer.

Should Wataru Endo be deemed ready to play after returning from Japan duty, he will join Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister in midfield.

In attack, the trio of Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez picks itself, especially with Cody Gakpo searching for his best form.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Endo, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister; Salah, Diaz, Nunez

 

5. How will Brighton line up?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Brighton & Hove Albion's captain Lewis Dunk during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton aren’t without their own injury problems currently, with star winger Kaoru Mitoma a noticeable absentee.

Youngster Jack Hinshelwood and long-term casualty Solly March are also out, but centre-back Adam Webster and attacker Joao Pedro are fighting to be fit.

Former Liverpool pair James Milner and Adam Lallana could feature, too, although the former hasn’t played since the end of January.

Possible Brighton XI: Verbruggen; Lamptey, Ven Hecke, Dunk, Estupinan; Gilmour, Gross; Adingra, Lallana, Enciso; Welbeck.

 

6. Brighton are a “good watch”

Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp was asked about one of his possible successors, De Zerbi, and his answer was quite telling:

“We all know how difficult it is against Brighton. Roberto is doing an incredible job there, and it’s a different game against Brighton.

“I think they improved over the 18-20 months since he is there. The first game, I think we were the first opponent after he joined the club, and we had no clue what to expect.

“The way they play. It’s a really different way; I couldn’t coach that, it goes against my personality, but it’’ a good watch.

“It’s very demanding for the players, clear positioning, pass in the right moment. He’s a top coach, he’s doing really well.

 

7. Klopp winless vs. De Zerbi

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi embrace before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has overcome the vast majority of managers he has faced during his time at Liverpool, but De Zerbi is one individual who he has had issues against.

The two bosses have come up against one another four times, and the Brighton man has won twice and drawn twice – and he’ll been keen in what is an audition for Liverpool’s top job.

Last season, a thrilling 3-3 draw was played out at Anfield in the league, before the Seagulls dispatched Liverpool at the Amex, winning 3-0.

They also triumphed 2-1 at home in the FA Cup fourth round, thanks to a late Mitoma winner.

Then there was the 2-2 draw on the south coast last October, as the Reds conceded to a Lewis Dunk equaliser after Robertson failed to deal with a free-kick out wide.

Records are there to be broken, though, right?

 

8. Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 10, 2024: Manchester City's goalkeeper Ederson Santana de Moraes is beaten as Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister score the first equalising goal from a penalty kick during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have scored 120 goals this season in their 46 games, in all competitions.

That tally is already the joint-sixth highest number of goals the Reds have netted in a season in the club’s history, with a minimum of 12 games still to play.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have scored 73 goals in 23 home games this season – in comparison, they found the net just 56 times in 25 Anfield outings in 2022/23.

What a turnaround it has been since August.

 

9. Coote in charge at Anfield

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Referee David Coote during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

David Coote has been confirmed as the referee for Sunday’s game, as he looks to avoid controversy at Anfield.

He failed to do that when he was on VAR duty for the Reds’ home clash with Arsenal in December, not giving Liverpool a penalty after an obvious handball by Martin Odegaard.

Coote’s only Reds game so far this season was the 2-1 victory at home to Fulham in the League Cup semi-final first leg earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Paul Tierney is on VAR – odds on him once again angering Klopp? Feels odds on, doesn’t it?!

 

10. Follow the match with TIA

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: A general view of Anfield and the newly opened upper tier of the Anfield Road stand seen before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Brighton is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm (UK), with kickoff at 2pm. That’s followed by Man City vs. Arsenal (4.30pm).

Don’t forget about the clocks going forward by an hour, whatever you do!

TIA’s matchday live blog will be running from 1.15pm, with Harry McMullen in the chair this week.

Into these, Reds!