On paper, a 0-0 draw with Chelsea looks a decent result for a team that has been struggling for clean sheets of late. But anybody that witnessed Liverpool’s engagement with the Blues at Anfield on Saturday will have been left in no doubt that the Londoners would have been worthy winners.
Thiago Silva, Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile all missed glorious chances for the visitors, while Liverpool themselves huffed and puffed as Jurgen Klopp’s new-look team floundered.
Harvey Elliott was deployed as a left winger, while Cody Gakpo gave an energetic performance in attack without ever really threatening the Chelsea goal.
Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita were handed rare Premier League starts in midfield, but it’s rather telling that Liverpool’s best player on the day was Allison, who had plenty of activity to keep him warm in freezing temperatures on Merseyside.
All told, this was a poor game between two teams fumbling in the dark for form, and their nervous approach to the contest was ultimately to blame for a bitty, conservative meeting that had very little to write about – not ideal when trying to deliver an in-depth analysis!
Afterwards, Klopp said he felt that his side were ‘good in spells’, but admitted he was happy enough with the point – describing the result as a ‘little step’ in the right direction. If you had any doubts about the depth of the malaise that Liverpool find themselves in, that summarises it right there.
At least the weekend brings a welcome distraction from the rigours of the Premier League. The Reds travel to the south coast on Sunday to tackle Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round.
Liverpool Team News
He may have worded it more diplomatically, but make no mistake Klopp dropped a number of his stars from the starting eleven against Chelsea.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were amongst the casualties, and it remains to be seen which of those – if any – will return for the meeting against the Seagulls at the weekend.
At a guess, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho and Henderson may be amongst those who do return, while Darwin Nunez’s pace and aggression could make a return in attack – Gakpo has been rather thrown in at the deep end since joining the club, and could probably do with the afternoon off.
Elliott did not look a natural on the left flank, so he may be shuffled back into midfield, with his vacancy on the wing taken by either Fabio Carvalho or, more likely, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Otherwise, there’s been no forward progress for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Bobby Firmino and Diogo Jota in their quest for a return to fitness. February now seems to be their most likely timeline for recovery.
It was barely two weeks ago that Brighton gave Liverpool something of a tonking in a 3-0 victory.
That was the Seagull’s fourth win in five games at the time, and while that run has been tarnished a little in a 2-2 draw with lowly Leicester City last time out, that was another contest in which they were the better side.
All told, Brighton have netted a incredible 19 goals in their last six games in all competitions – confidence is high in their camp – but they have shipped nine times, which shows a certain vulnerability in defence.
Brighton vs Liverpool Betting Tips
The form of Brighton, and the woes of Liverpool, are such that it’s a surprise to see the Seagulls made the underdogs for this game by the bookmakers.
They will give it both barrels in front of a sell-out crowd, and their ability to put the ball in the net seemingly at will should fear Liverpool fans with dread.
Yes, the Reds kept a clean sheet last time out, but as mentioned that was as much to do with Chelsea’s poor finishing – and the brilliance of Alisson – as it was Liverpool’s defensive solidity.
So Brighton to win at 17/10, we hate to say it, holds plenty of appeal – have Liverpool really improved since their last meeting with the Seagulls on January 14? It would be hard to say as much.
You’ll get a shade over even money on Brighton with a +0 Asian handicap – you’ll get your stake refunded if the game ends in a draw, while if you have access to a Bet Builder tool you can back Brighton to win or draw (Double Chance) and Over 2.5 Goals at 17/10.