Martin King previews Liverpool’s 3rd Premier League game of the season against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The 2018/19 Premier League season moves onto its third gameweek this weekend, with more than a few fixtures for the world to fiest its eyes on. Ours, however, are firmly fixed on the Saturday evening clash between Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion, where the home team seeks a third straight win, while the visitors dream of a second giant-killing.
Two wins, six goals scored and two clean sheets kept. Liverpool’s start to the season has been ideal for a side facing greater levels of scrutiny from the public with each day.
The wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace may have been followed by high praise from the media and fans alike, but over time that hasn’t added or taken anything away from Jürgen Klopp’s men.
The German has demanded less focus on external reviews and more on mastering the quality of consistency from his players in everything they do – a fair demand, given the same admirers can so easily turn into critics.
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Sadio Mané has been the Reds’ leading light thus far, accompanying excellent displays of raw speed and strength with three goals. Adopting Liverpool’s number 10 jersey seems to have unleashed a beast waiting inside the Senegalese striker and he is rightly being tipped to surpass teammate Mohamed Salah as the team’s top marksman this year.
Though, if he doesn’t get you, another one will. As the team’s last encounter with Brighton proved, Liverpool have assembled a squad with goal-threats littered all across the pitch and the bench.
A challenge for Chris Hughton then, who has already seen what the Seagulls’ opponents can do first-hand, losing last season’s league games by an aggregate scoreline of 9-1.
Brighton bounced back from an opening day defeat at Watford with an impressive win against Manchester United and on the back of that big victory at the Amex Stadium, the Englishman hopes his side can face a tough task at Anfield, with the confidence they can get something out of it.
“An away game at Liverpool, it doesn’t come much tougher than that.” the Brighton manager said, according to the club’s official website. “We certainly need to show a lot of the qualities that we showed in last week’s performance.
“The result [against Manchester United] allows us to go to Liverpool with three points. Perhaps it’s a little more daunting if you’ve lost your first two games and your next one is against Liverpool.
“Hopefully we’ll go there with a little more confidence and less pressure. There isn’t anybody that would expect us to win, but we’ve got to approach the game in a manner that will allow us to get something.”
Reds manager Klopp admitted, in his press conference on Friday, that the depth of Liverpool’s talent means he could make changes to his team on Saturday, after fielding the same line-up for the season’s first two games.
Midfielder Fabinho is once again set to make his debut for Liverpool after overcoming illness to return to regular training. Jöel Matip has completed another week behind the scenes unscathed, as Dejan Lovren remains out for the foreseeable future.
Goalkeeper Loris Karius will be absent from the match-day squad, as he has all but completed a loan move to Turkish club Besiktas.
Brighton will be without Lewis Dunk at Anfield. The defender hasn’t trained this week, according to his manager, after sustaining injury in the win over Man United. Other notable absentees include captain Bruno, Jose Izquierdo and Florin Andone.
Liverpool will not be making any pre-match predictions but a third win of the season looks very certain for Saturday evening.
Their opponents will undoubtedly look to tighten up and make life difficult for their attackers in a similar way to Palace on Monday night, but even then the Reds still found a way to victory, so the Anfield faithful won’t tolerate any less from this encounter.
Prediction: Liverpool 5-0 Brighton & Hove Albion