Brighton vs Liverpool preview: Chance for Reds to go seven points clear
Last Updated: 12/01/19 11:27pm
Liverpool can extend the gap to Manchester City to seven points - until Monday at least - when they take on Brighton on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp's table-topping Reds travel to the Amex Stadium with a four-point cushion on champions Manchester City, whose next game is on Monday Night Football against Wolves.
City ended Liverpool's unbeaten Premier League start in their 21st match at the Etihad Stadium before Klopp's men slipped to an FA Cup defeat at Wolves. The last time they lost three games on the spin was back in January 2017.
Liverpool may have score more than once to take maximum points as the Seagulls have netted in each of their last 13 Premier League home games.
Klopp is expecting a tricky encounter but believes his team are fully prepared to deal with Brighton's threat.
"As long as you can stay completely focused and completely with yourself the better it is," Klopp said.
"So far that is what we try to do and it has been pretty easy for us to stay focused.
"There is no game in the Premier League where you can count the three points beforehand. I like that. It is good."
Brighton boss Chris Hughton says Liverpool are favourites to claim the Premier League title.
"At this moment, I think they are favourites simply because of the points difference, and I think they've been outstanding," said Hughton.
"But you certainly can't write off a Manchester City team that have been the best team over the last few seasons and arguably played the best football. I think Liverpool are favourites but I couldn't tell you who will win it. And certainly I wouldn't put money on it."
Hughton has no new fresh injury concerns as Jose Izquierdo is not ready to return from a knee injury.
Mathew Ryan and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are on international duty at the Asian Cup.
Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson are back in training for Liverpool, while Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Joe Gomez miss out.
Klopp faces having to come up with another fix in central defence
Virgil van Dijk is the only fit centre-back with Lovren (hamstring) and Gomez (foot) unavailable and Matip only returning to training on Thursday from a broken collarbone.
Midfielder Fabinho played in that position in Monday's FA Cup game and, if Matip is not ready, may be asked to do it again.
- Brighton have lost their last six matches against Liverpool in all competitions, including all three Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 1-10.
- Liverpool have never lost away at Brighton in the top-flight (P5 W2 D3 L0), with the five previous meetings featuring 25 goals (16 for Liverpool, 9 for Brighton).
- Liverpool are looking to win their first four Premier League meetings against an opponent for the fifth time, and the first since March 2015 when they did so against Burnley (also against QPR, West Brom and Wigan Athletic).
- Five of Brighton's six Premier League home defeats have come against 'big-six' sides; this will be their first ever Premier League home match against a side starting the day top.
- Liverpool have won their last eight Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday, winning seven of those by a margin of at least three goals.
- Liverpool's 21-game unbeaten run and nine-game winning run in the Premier League came to an end against Man City last time out. They have not lost consecutive games in the competition since September 2015 under Brendan Rodgers.
This is the biggest game of the season for Liverpool, even bigger than the Manchester City game. They have to win this game, if they draw it will just be a disaster. Going out of the FA Cup was a blessing in disguise. They put all of their eggs in one basket, which they should, but that will count for nothing if they don't win at Brighton.
They could have been 10 points clear a week ago. If they fail to win at the Amex and City win, their lead could be down to two points. Psychologically that would be it. They have to win this game or they will not win the league. This is a really hard game for Liverpool, especially what they have been through the last few weeks, but I reckon they will hold their nerve.