Two defeats on the spin and no defenders – Liverpool’s Brighton task isn’t easy
Richard Marsh | 10 January 2019
Can Klopp’s men grab crucial win on Saturday?
Liverpool’s quest for a first league title in 29 years is now entering it’s decisive and most crucial period.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are top of the table, and hold a four-point advantage over Manchester City. But there are still 17 games to go, and they must juggle Champions League duties too.
The Reds go to Brighton this Saturday, and there are a number of reasons why this trip to the South Coast is nothing short of crucial.
Klopp has been unfortunate in seeing three of his recognised centre-halves – Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip – suffer long-term injuries.
When Lovren went off early on in the FA Cup defeat to Wolves, Klopp had to turn to 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever.
The Liverpool boss will be reluctant to use the teenager in the league, with a title on the line.
It means Fabinho may have to drop back and slot in alongside Van Dijk. The Anfield outfit have conceded only 10 goals this term – the fewest in the league – but that defence could now be vulnerable at precisely the wrong time.
Momentum is key
Klopp may have rung the changes for that cup loss at Molineux, but it means his side have now lost their last two games, having been beaten 2-1 by Man City last week.
With Pep Guardiola’s men subsequently trouncing Rotherham 7-0 and Burton 9-0, morale and momentum is with the reigning champions. And in a title fight, that can have a vital influence.
So if Liverpool fail to win at Brighton, they’ll be three without a victory. They’ll also hand City all the impetus they need when they host Wolves on Monday night.
Seagulls shine at home
And going to Hove won’t be easy. Chris Hughton’s men are organised, tactically solid and have never once looked like relegation candidates this season.
A large part of that success is their home form. The Seagulls have lost just twice at the Amex this term, and even then, they forced Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur to scrape 2-1 wins.
Hughton’s boys have already beaten Manchester United and held Arsenal on their home patch too.
Liverpool are running out of defenders, they’ve seen City regain the momentum, and their hosts are playing well at home. Yet they can’t afford to slip up.
The pressure is on, but after winning this fixture 5-1 last season, our traders make the Reds 3/10 favourites.
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