Liverpool’s chance to again cut the deficit back to three points at the top must first see a victory recorded at Brighton, who are responsible for one of the Reds’ six draws this season.
Brighton vs. Liverpool
Premier League (28) | Amex Stadium
Saturday, March 12, 2022 | 12.30pm (GMT)
The Reds fell to a rare Anfield defeat in midweek having failed to capitalise on their chances but the mood was not a dispirited one as progression the last eight of the Champions League was secured.
Now, it’s straight back into league action to kickstart another defining run of games as Jurgen Klopp’s side look for a strong finish up until the March international break.
Here are 10 things to know ahead of the trip to Brighton.
1. Brighton struggles
After catching the eye at the start of the season, it’s been a steady decline for Brighton in recent months with just one win from their last nine games and four from the last 25.
Their recent run has seen Man United, Burnley, Aston Villa and Newcastle all inflict defeats with the Seagulls managing just one goal in that time.
Graham Potter insists the “spirit’s been good” and no heads have dropped, with Liverpool now to pose a different challenge all in itself.
“I always like playing against Liverpool because they’re one of the best, and it’s very rare in anything in life that you get to face the best, so you should look at it as a massive challenge and a huge opportunity,” Potter said .
2. Who to expect for the Seagulls
The hosts are to have a near full-strength squad for the early kickoff, with ex-Red Adam Lallana expected to be in the mix after making his return to the bench against Newcastle after a hamstring injury.
Potter has utilised both four and three-man units in his backline which will leave Klopp and co. guessing.
But center-back Adam Webster is still expected to miss out which could again lead to a partnership of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, with Marc Cucurella and Joel Veltman on either side.
Possible Brighton XI: Sanchez; Veltman, Duffy, Dunk, Cucurella; Alzate, Bissouma; Lamptey, Lallana, Trossard; Maupay
3. Any Reds out?
Roberto Firmino is to be back in the matchday squad after missing the last six games in all competitions, adding another option to Klopp’s attacking line.
But the manager did reveal that there are Covid cases for players and staff and Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk and Thiago were the notable absentees from Thursday’s training.
It leaves question marks over their ability to feature, with the hope for Van Dijk and Thiago being that they simply needed a recovery session while the rest of the squad trained.
Aside from that trio, there were no new concerns to emerge from Tuesday’s defeat.
4. Fresh legs in the XI?
A lot will, therefore, rest on the availability of Van Dijk and Thiago but if the duo are available one would expect them to be in the XI at the Amex.
And it could be that Klopp makes just two changes from the Champions League clash, with Luis Diaz injected on the left wing in place of Sadio Mane.
After starting from the bench, Jordan Henderson is likely to replace Curtis Jones in midfield, and it leaves plenty of options off the bench for each department when and if needed.
Predicted Reds XI: Alison; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Diaz, Jota
5. Mo at home on the road
Mohamed Salah is one goal away from becoming only the third man to score 50 away goals for Liverpool in the Premier League era.
Only Michael Owen (55) and Steven Gerrard (51) have reached the milestone and by doing so, Salah would be the first non-Englishman to achieve the feat for the Reds.
He has a total of five goals against Brighton, time for another on Saturday?
6. Speaking of Mo
And on Salah, the Egyptian was the talk of the town on Friday as the manager was asked to touch on any new contract updates and his response was that “It’s Mo’s decision”:
“It’s Mo’s decision, pretty much. The club did what the club can do, there’s nothing bad to say about it. It’s all fine.
“From my point of view, it’s exactly like it should be at this moment in time.
“Nothing happened further, no signing or rejection or whatever, we just have to wait for that. It’s all completely fine. There’s no rush in that situation.”
7. ‘Not good losers’
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp anticipates a reaction from his side who he conceded are “not good losers”:
“We are not good losers, honestly. I have usually after the game a little speech in the dressing room; actually most of the time it is quite nice, to say to the boys how good they were and stuff like this.
“Obviously in this game it was slightly different. I realised when I looked at their eyes I was in a better mood than the players when I came in and I lost as well.
“My first thought was, ‘We are through against a tough opponent.’ The boys’ first thought was, ‘Wow, we lost.’ Both are fine somehow.
“Always in life reaction is important. We have to see, we have to show a reaction. I’m pretty sure we will.”
8. Did you know?
It’s another early kickoff for Liverpool this season, the third 12.30pm start time, and against Burnley and Watford the Reds emerged as 7-0 winners on aggregate.
Wouldn’t mind making that three!
And as for the record across Klopp’s time at the club, 17 have been on the road and Liverpool have won eight and lost three of those – time to make it nine from 18!
9. Day for Dean
It’s none other than Mike Dean for this one, who was also in charge of the reverse fixture back in October that ended in a frustrating 2-2 draw.
The Tranmere-supporting Dean has overseen a total of four Reds games in 2021/22, with the other three all ending in convincing victories for Liverpool.
In that period he has averaged 2.25 yellow cards per game, so perhaps don’t be expecting too many Dean dramatics with his disciplinary actions!
10. How to tune in!
Liverpool’s trip to Brighton is live on UK television this weekend, with BT Sport 1 the place to tune in with coverage starting at 11.30am, ahead of the early 12.30pm kickoff.
But if that does not tickle your fancy, then This Is Anfield has you covered on our matchday liveblog, with Dan Clubbe at the helm to take you through all the action with some unapologetically biased commentary!