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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Brighton v Liverpool: Reds to make their class count in the end

Brighton v Liverpool: Reds to make their class count in the end

Andrew Atherley says the champions might not make easy work of Brighton at the Amex...

Brighton v Liverpool
Wednesday 8 July, 20:15
Live on Sky Sports

Close to safety

Brighton have performed best of the bottom six since the restart, taking seven points from four matches, and Saturday's 1-0 win at Norwich has put them close to safety.
Graham Potter's side are 15th on 36 points, nine clear of the drop zone with five matches to play.
Potter appears to have no fresh injury worries and is likely to opt for a lone striker, probably top scorer Neal Maupay.

Squad rotation

Liverpool bounced back from their 4-0 defeat at Manchester City with a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa on Sunday, maintaining their 100% record at Anfield with two home games to play.
A perfect home record is just one of the milestones still within reach of Jurgen Klopp's champions but how interested they are is open to question.
Klopp has been rotating his squad and Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino might get their turn in the starting line-up, having sat out the first hour of the Villa match.
It is notable that Firmino has been partnered with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane from the start in only two of the four matches since the resumption, and yet Liverpool have not scored in those games without all three on the pitch.

Jazz-funk or heavy metal?

Brighton were in a rut before lockdown, having failed to win in the first three months of 2020, but they started back with a 2-1 home win over Arsenal and have been resolute on the road with a goalless draw at Leicester and the win at Norwich.
In between those away games they were blown away 3-0 at home by in-form Manchester United and they might be fearing a similar result here if they were facing a Liverpool side with everything to play for.
Having said that, the reverse fixture at Anfield was only 2-1 to Liverpool, who had a nervy final 15 minutes after Alisson was sent off and their two-goal lead was quickly reduced.
In fact, only seven of Brighton's 33 games have ended in defeat by two goals or more.
Liverpool have been more jazz-funk than heavy metal since securing the title, lacking the intensity that has made them so irresistible for most of the season.
Odds of 1.59 for a Liverpool win are fair judged on overall form, but it is difficult to be sure whether they are as driven as before. In their four matches since the restart, only the 4-0 home win over Crystal Palace has seen Klopp's side hit their customary heights.
Their rhythm has been disrupted further by Klopp's keenness to involve some of the fringe and young members of the squad in the final few games, making them difficult to weigh up.
Only Manchester City have scored against them, however, and Brighton are a low-scoring side, which makes it difficult to see an upset home win at 6.40.
A draw looks more of a possibility but even if Liverpool are not at full tilt the away win is still easily the most likely result.
On the basis that Brighton could make it difficult without offering much goal threat themselves, draw-Liverpool at 4.70 on the Half Time/Full Time is the selection.

Tight goals figures

Matches at the Amex have been fairly tight since Potter took charge, much as they were under previous boss Chris Hughton, with 11 out of 16 (69%) having under 2.5 goals.
Four of the five exceptions came when Brighton scored at least two goals themselves, which points to a low scorer unless Liverpool are unusually lax at the back.
Ten of Liverpool's 16 away games (62%) have had over 2.5 goals, although only two have gone higher than that and the most common scoreline has been a 2-1 Liverpool win (in 31% of their away games). Another 2-1 win for the Reds is 9.20.

Opta Stat

Brighton have won two of their four Premier League games since the restart (D1 L1), as many as they had in their previous 18 (W2 D8 L8). The Seagulls are looking to pick up back-to-back wins in the competition for the first time since November. Brighton are 6.40 to win.