Liverpool vs Brighton was the final league match of 2017/18 for these sides, and little has changed in the three months since. The Seagulls began this season with an away defeat at Watford, maintaining their record of being the worst team on the road in the Premier League since their promotion. But they followed that with a win over Manchester United, to keep up their excellent home record. Only the big six and Everton were better than Brighton in front of their own fans last term.
As for Liverpool, they have beaten West Ham at home and Palace away, just as they did last season. They even scored the same number of goals as in those matches, but in 2018/19 they kept clean sheets rather than conceding one. As Brighton have scored just ten goals in their 20 away matches in the Premier League, is there any hope for them on Saturday evening?
It’s very unlikely, as Liverpool haven’t just won their two matches, but they’ve also been the best team in the division on the underlying statistics too.
That’s all well and good, but Jürgen Klopp will surely use the visit of the league’s worst travellers to rotate his XI, so such a strong performance can not be guaranteed. After this game, the Reds travel to Leicester and Spurs and host Chelsea and Manchester City in their next five league matches. This game provides an excellent opportunity for the likes of Shaqiri, Sturridge and Henderson to get some minutes into their legs, while others rest theirs.
Charlie Adam may not be a fan of the former, but the Swiss international was unquestionably one of Stoke’s better players last season. That may be damning with faint praise, but if Shaqiri can win the ball back in front of the penalty area as he did for the Potters (as can be seen with the red marks on the below dashboard) then he and Jürgen will get along just fine.
Shaqiri has only had a brief run out against West Ham, so hasn’t created any big chances yet for his new side. One man who has though is Naby Keita. He may not have any assists, but he has been Liverpool’s second best player for attacking points on the Twelve algorithm (see the leader board here), so it’s only a matter of time.
In total, six Liverpool players have created big (a.k.a clear-cut) chances this season, which is more than any other Premier League team in these fledgling weeks of 2018/19. While Brighton may not have the depth on the creativity front, they have one of the top individuals: Pascal Gross.
The former Ingolstadt man created the joint-second most clear-cut chances in the Premier League season. Not bad for a £3m signing from a relegated side, is it?
Gross may not have created any clear-cut chances yet this season, but in the eyes of the Twelve algorithm he has been Brighton’s best player, and he did get an assist last weekend. His efforts in the win over United almost earned him a spot in our team of the week, and he looks the Seagull most likely to cause Liverpool any problems.
It would be surprising if the home side does have any issues though, whichever team Klopp elects to send out. Liverpool look well set to win here, to take nine points from their opening three games for only the fourth time in the Premier League era.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Brighton