Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool will lock horns in a mouth-watering clash in the Premier League this Sunday.
Fresh off a comprehensive win against Union Saint-Gilloise in the Europa League, Jurgen Klopp’s men will shift their attention towards the Premier League as they have a great opportunity to close the gap with leaders Manchester City or even grab the top spot.
Meanwhile, Brighton will look to shake off their late struggles and try to throw a spanner in the works of the Reds.
Klopp’s men are fourth in the league table with 16 points – only two points adrift of Man City – while the Seagulls are two places behind them and are separated by only one point.
The Reds’ near-perfect start to the season came to a crashing halt in a controversial defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last week, a game marred by a monumental VAR error.
Although they were robbed of a goal due to a huge technical blunder, Liverpool put on a horror show with two red cards for Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota and a dramatic own goal by Joel Matip in the eleventh horror.
It didn’t take longer to recover from the setback as the Merseysiders trumped the Belgian outfit Union SG on Thursday to record their second consecutive win in the Europa League.
There were more positives from the win, with players like Ryan Gravenberch – who also scored a goal, Wataru Endo and Jarell Qanshah showing their quality.
Barring the defeat against Spurs, Liverpool have been performing at the highest level this season and pose themselves as genuine title contenders.
Klopp appears to have moulded a well-rounded squad capable of competing on all fronts and winning trophies similar to the one the German gaffer had seasons ago.
Mohamed Salah has been delivering the goods as usual, racking up four goals and assists apiece to continue fortifying his legacy as one of the best players of all time.
Darwin Nunez looks more rejuvenated than last season and has grown into a pivotal figure in the attack. He produced a memorable performance against Newcastle United, scoring two late goals to snatch a victory.
Summer signings Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have bedded in quickly, forming the spine of the midfield.
Elsewhere, Brighton looked destined for another fairy tale season after starting the campaign on a high note, collecting four wins in the first five Premier League games, including remarkable results against Newcastle United and Manchester United.
Despite losing some key figures such as Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Robert Sanchez, the Seagulls seamlessly strengthened the squad with their smart transfer strategy, bringing in the likes of Joao Pedro, Ansu Fati, Carlos Baleba and Bart Verbruggen.
Moreover, Roberto De Zerbi’s reputation as one of the most promising managers in the world grew further after having his side play the attractive brand of football in a more dominant fashion.
However, following the narrow setbacks against AEK Athens in the Europa League and Chelsea in the EFL Cup, Brighton were handed their biggest reality check in the 6-1 defeat against Aston Villa.
Unai Emery’s Villans completely picked the Seagulls part, and even an astute tactician like De Zerby was out of his depth.
Brighton’s woes continued in the Europa League away game against Marseille on Thursday as the French giants went 2-0 in the first half.
However, De Zerbi’s men produced a valiant effort after the break, as goals from Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck helped them secure a 2-2 come-back draw.
The Seagulls should have gained a bit of momentum with the result, and they will look to carry it against Liverpool this weekend.
Having knocked down top sides like Man Utd and Newcastle United this season, Brighton will look to live up to the reputation of being the giant slayer against the Merseysiders.
Their recent record also speaks in their favour, as Brighton got the better of Klopp’s side on a couple of occasions at the American Express Stadium last season.
Kaoru Mitoma will pose a big threat to Liverpool’s backline, and Brighton will fancy their chances if the Japanese winger, who has three goals and four assists this season, brings out his A game.
Young Irish striker Evan Ferguson also has a great chance to be Brighton’s hero if he replicates what he did against Newcastle last month – scoring a sensational hat-trick.
Pervis Estupinan, who missed the Marseille clash with a muscular injury, is expected to be out of action for a few weeks, and Tariq Lamptey will operate as the left-back in his absence.
In addition to Estupinan, the home side will also be without former Liverpool players James Milner and Adam Lallana for Sunday’s clash.
Billy Gilmour will return to the starting eleven after appearing as a substitute against Marseille. The Scot will feature alongside Gross in the strongest possible midfield line-up.
On the other hand, Liverpool has quite a long list of absentees. Jota and Jones will miss the clash through suspension, while Cody Gakpo is sidelined after picking up an injury against Spurs.
Another recent entrant in the injury list is the Irish keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who suffered a nasty blow in training ahead of the Europa League game against Union SG and subsequently missed the clash.
Gravenberch is likely to make it to the starting eleven in the absence of Jones, especially after his impressive performance against the Belgian side Union SG.
Brighton potential starting XI (4-2-3-1)
Bart Verbruggen; Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, Tariq Lamptey; Billy Gilmour, Pascal Gross; Solly March, Joao Pedro, Kaoru Mitoma; Ivan Ferguson
Liverpool potential starting XI: (4-3-3)
Alisson Becker ; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz
We Say: Brighton 4-3 Liverpool
Given that both sides tend to press high and play high-risk football, chances are that it would be an open-ended encounter.
Despite Liverpool’s impressive run of form, we are still going with Brighton, who have an equally top-quality squad to come out on top and also considering the home-ground advantage.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.