Undefeated in their last four, Brighton take on title favourites, Liverpool, who have lost two on the bounce. Can the Seagulls keep their run going or will the Reds get back on track? Steve Rawlings takes a look…
Brighton v Liverpool
Free hit for the Seagulls
After three Premier League defeats in-a-row, Brighton have stopped the rot nicely with a draw and a win at home – 1-1 with Arsenal and 1-0 against Everton – a 2-2 draw away at West Ham and a comprehensive 3-1 win in the FA Cup away at Bournemouth.
What’s particularly encouraging for Seagulls fans is that the goals have been shared around a bit lately and since their main talisman, Glenn Murray, opened the scoring from the penalty spot against Crystal Palace last month, eight different players have found the net.
Unbeaten in four in all competitions is a decent run of form and Brighton boss, Chris Hughton, quite rightly, feels his side are taking on the Premier League leaders at a good time.
“At the moment, playing at home to Man City or Liverpool are the toughest games you can play. Can we go into the game with some comfort? We can until kick-off time and then it’s about how you perform on the day,” he said this week.
“They will be big favourites, as everybody would imagine, and it will be us doing as well as we can on the day. I’d certainly rather be going into the game in good form than in bad form. In this game, people won’t expect us to get anything and anything we do get will be a bonus.”
Having climbed to 13th in the table, 10 points above the bottom three, Brighton are starting to look safe in just their second season in the Premier League and this game is something of a free hit. As Hughton alludes to, they can go out and play without pressure on Saturday and that might just make things tough for a Liverpool side desperate to get back on track.
Can Klopp’s charges return to winning ways?
Liverpool had been unbeaten in 21 Premier League games and they’d won nine in-a-row up until last week but after a 2-1 defeat to title rivals, Manchester City, and an early exit from the FA Cup after suffering the same scoreline against Wolves on Monday, Jurgen Klopp’s charges need to get back to winning ways fast.
Victory at the Etihad last week would have seen the Reds go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League but Leroy Sane’s second half strike saw the gap at the top closed to just four and it’s vital that Liverpool regain momentum.
The Reds are still the favourites to win the Premier League but they won’t be if they fail to get back on track here.
Although they’ve lost two in-a-row, it’s hard to imagine it’s the start of anything like a poor run. Liverpool and City were closely matched and although the home side deserved to shade it, with a little a slight change of fortune, the fixture could have easily gone the other way and given nine changes were made for the Cup tie at Molineux, defeat there wasn’t a massive shock.
It’s a risky business putting all your eggs in one basket but having left out all of his star players for the tie at Wolves, Klopp has effectively done that domestically. In theory, not being involved in any more Cup games at home should be advantageous. They’ll be playing far fewer games than their closest rivals, Manchester City and Spurs, who are both still in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup but it’s as broad as it’s long. Playing less games might be a plus but winning breeds winning and hanging your hat on securing the Premier League could intensify pressure as the end of the season approaches.
Liverpool too short at long odds-on
Liverpool have a strong recent record over Brighton, winning each of their last six encounters in all competitions but they only beat them 1-0 at Anfield back in August and they’re short enough at around the [1.3] mark given the lack of pressure on the home side, the importance of the fixture to the visitors, and the possibility of a few key absentees.
The return of their sensational striking trio, Sadio Mané, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, will give the Reds a huge boost after all three were rested against Wolves and there’s even talk of Joe Gomez returning at the back but Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren could be missing on Saturday and a number of players have been said to be suffering from some sort of sore throat bug since they lost to City.
Brighton’s record at the Amex is pretty impressive too and 18 of their 26 points this season have been gained at home. They’ve won five of the ten Premier League matches played at the Amex so far this term, beating the likes of Manchester United, Everton and Wolves and their only defeats have come at the hands of Chelsea and Spurs. They lost just four at home last season – against the champions, Manchester City, on the opening weekend, against Saturday’s opponents, in the last game of the season, and they also went down 4-0 to Chelsea and 2-0 to Leicester.
Despite their solid recent form and their record at the Amex, it’s still hard to envisage Brighton beating Liverpool. An argument could be made that the draw is the value play at around the [6-0] mark in the outright market on the exchange but the safer play appears in the side markets…
Both teams to Score value at odds against
Over 2 ½ in the Over/Under 2 ½ Goals market is trading at odds-on and so it should be. Only 50% of Brighton games have seen three or more goals in the Premier League this season but matches involving Liverpool have produced three or more 57% of the time and looking at their respective records at home and away, I fancy there’ll be goals.
Brighton have scored in all ten Premier League matches at home this season and Liverpool have scored in all of their 11 games on the road. In fact, the only time Liverpool have failed to score was at home to City back at the start of October. Both teams have scored in 70% of Brighton’s home games and in 55% of Liverpool’s away matches so odds against looks very fair in the Both Teams to Score market and that’s my only play.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, Both teams to Score, Liverpool to win and the prolific Mo Salah to find the net pays £4.16 for a £1 stake.
Steve’s Premier League P/L 2018/19
Staked: 60 pts
P/L: -15.47 pts
Source: Betfair Premier League