Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 11/20
This Liverpool team has already made history, but the remaining part of the 2019/20 season in the Premier League will see them looking to see their names in several more chapters. Next stop – Brighton and Hove Albion and their Amex Stadium in the 34th round of the campaign.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Graham Potter’s side hasn’t looked all that well this season and there were moments when it looked not unlikely that they play in the Championship next term, but they’ve managed to get their act together; just in time, it seems. At the moment, Brighton sit in 15th place with 36 points to their name, nine more than Aston Villa and Bournemouth who are currently in the relegation zone, together with Norwich City with 21. West Ham United and Watford, with 31 and 28, respectively, form the cushion between the Seagulls and the drop. Nonetheless, there is still work to do for Brighton in order to secure survival.
The current form of the team should provide the players with an encouragement boost. Since the return of English top-flight football from the coronavirus-induced break, they managed to beat Arsenal at home and squeeze a point away at Leicester City, before losing to a resurgent Manchester United team at Old Trafford and beating Norwich City in an important relegation clash at the Carrow Road. Before the break, they drew away at Wolverhampton Wanderers and lost at home to Crystal Palace, which means their last-six league record reads two wins, two draws and two defeats.
Potter is still without the services of winger Jose Izquierdo through a long-term knee problem. Midfielder Steven Alzate could be back in contention following a groin injury, but he remains a doubt.
Defender Shane Duffy and midfielder Dale Stephens sat out the Norwich game on the bench, and they should now be ready to start.
There’s very little to say that hasn’t been said a million times already about Jurgen Klopp’s team, and none of it will help us figure out what kind of performance they’ll be putting in on Wednesday. We saw them looking very pale in a 0-0 draw away to local rivals Everton. We saw them smash Crystal Palace at home by 4-0. We saw them play absolutely dreadful football away to Manchester City and lose by the same scoreline a few days after their long-awaited Premier League title was confirmed. And we saw them put it another unconvincing performance at home against Aston Villa on Sunday which didn’t prevent them from winning 2-0.
On the other hand, Klopp is adamant that he’ll be sending out the strongest team available in each of the remaining games of the season, keeping the rotation of the starting XI to a bare minimum. Even though he and his players say it’s not important to them, there are records out there that can still be broken – the biggest number on wins in a season, the biggest number of points in a season and the biggest gap ever between the champions and the second-place team – all of those tasks are reasonably achievable for them at the moment.
Defender Joel Matip is out for the season with a toe problem and he is the only name unavailable for Klopp to select. However, Dejan Lovren has been missing from the squad for the last two matches as a precaution due to a minor knock. It remains to be seen if his name is on the list for the Amex trip.
Winger Xherdan Shaqiri is back from a calf injury. He sat out the Aston Villa game on the bench and could be given some time on the pitch this time around. Forward Roberto Firmino and captain Jordan Henderson came on in that game and their presence sparked the team into life, which means both are now likely to start. Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the obvious candidates to make way.
As has been pointed out above, there’s no telling what kind of a game we’ll be getting from Liverpool, but one thing is certain; barring an utterly embarrassing performance, such as they put in at the Etihad, the champions should win this game and even though the Seagulls can be a tricky customer for top teams, the points are expected to head for the Merseyside.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 11/20