All roads lead to Kiev on Saturday May 26….a mentality that was ultimately our undoing against Chelsea last week. Make no mistake: we enjoyed lots of possession and created some outstanding openings, but there was a general lack of intensity in our performance that enabled the Blues to walk away with a 0-1 win.
“I hate the result but the performance was good enough to get a good point,” Jurgen Klopp said afterwards. “It’s clear against Chelsea you have to avoid crosses, but the cross came in and it’s difficult against Giroud, and that’s the goal.
“Chelsea were strong but we did well and had a few good moments. But we weren’t clinical enough. The performance was okay, but the result was exactly the opposite of what we wanted.”
It is forgivable, of course, for our players to be eyeing the Champions League final – the moment that will be the pinnacle of their career – but it is important to finish the domestic campaign on a high, and the home date with Brighton on Sunday that concludes league matters affords us the perfect chance to do just that.
The Seagulls have done remarkably well to avoid relegation in their first season in the top flight, and Chris Hughton would surely deserve to be named Manager of the Year but for the repeated heroics of Sean Dyche.
The outpouring of emotion that greeted the conclusion of their 1-0 win over Manchester United was symbolic, and indicated feelings of a job well done (and deservedly so). But did their players sign off for the summer at such a high point?
They toiled against Manchester City on Wednesday night, eventually going down 1-3, and lest we forget for all their over-achievement they still boast the second worst away record in the division. They haven’t won on the road since November and have just one away day clean sheet in 2018; at Burnley, perhaps predictably.
This isn’t an anti-Brighton piece by any means, but the stats suggest a full-strength and focused Liverpool should win this match at a canter.
Liverpool Team News
With no new injury news, there is no reason why Jurgen Klopp cannot field his strongest starting eleven on Sunday.
The seasons of Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are over, and there was inconclusive news about Emre Can’s condition. A scan on his back injury on Monday did not reveal much at all, and no the German must undergo further tests before he can return to training. He is unlikely to feature in the Champions League final nor the World Cup.
There is more positive news for Adam Lallana. The England man this week returned to intense training, and while it could be too soon for him to feature against Brighton the midfielder could offer much-needed back-up in the central areas in Kiev.
Brighton have secured their Premier League status despite winning jut one of their last eight matches. Burnley did something similar last season – starting brilliantly before tailing off towards the end – and it appears as if the Seagulls have entered their own late-season malaise.
A formline of W1 D3 L4 tells its own story, and the stats outlined earlier in this piece – no away win since November, one clean sheet on the road in 2018 – are further evidence for the prosecution.
As if to rubber stamp the notion, their formline away from home against the top six this term reads W0 D0 L5!
Liverpool vs Brighton Betting Tips
Really there is no reason why Liverpool won’t win this game comfortably. They are going to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, and the roar of the Anfield faithful should help to concentrate the minds of all of those in a red shirt.
Brighton have struggled this term on the road, especially against the ‘big six’, and while they rarely get thrashed it is fair to say that losing has become something of a habit for them.
And so from a betting perspective we simply have to investigate markets that give the Reds the edge; even if the 1/5 on a Liverpool win is clearly unbackable.
Klopp will want his boys to end the league campaign on a high, and seeing a second-string Manchester City side put three past the Seagulls on Wednesday should fill them with confidence.
We ca access a shade under Even money on Liverpool with a +2.00 Asian handicap: if they win by two goals our stake is refunded, three or more nets the lot.
Also, it’s worth remembering that we have kept clean sheets in 11 of our 18 league outings at Anfield this term. Brighton, being not the most prolific on the road with 10 scored in 18, may struggle to create any meaningful chances.
So, we can take the 5/6 on offer for a Liverpool win to nil.