01 December 2017

Liverpool at Brighton 12.02.17

10am ET, live in the US on NBC Sports

Last four head-to-head:
6-1 Liverpool (h; FA Cup) 02.19.12
2-1 Liverpool (a; League Cup) 09.21.11
3-2 Liverpool (a; FA Cup) 01.30.91
2-2 (h; FA Cup) 01.26.91

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 3-0 Stoke (a); 1-1 Chelsea (h); 3-3 Sevilla (a)
Brighton: 0-0 Palace (h); 0-1 United (a); 2-2 Stoke (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Salah 12; Mané 4; Coutinho, Firmino 3; Sturridge 2; Alex O-C, Henderson, Matip, Wijnaldum 1
Brighton: Murray 4; Groß 3; Hemed, Izquierdo 2; Knockaert, March 1

Referee: Martin Atkinson (LFC History) (WhoScored)

Guess at a line-up:
Alexander-Arnold Lovren Klavan Robertson
Wijnaldum Henderson Coutinho
Salah Firmino Mané

Not quite sure what we're getting from Liverpool here. Not that we're ever all that sure. In regards to formation, line-up, or performance.

In theory, it'd be another chance to use the 4-4-2 formation, even if that's also the formation that Brighton will likely play. Liverpool will be away, against a side that Liverpool will need to draw out, but also one that's good from the flanks, especially through Anthony Knockaert.

And it'd also give Liverpool a chance to hold some key players out ahead of next Wednesday's all-important Champions League decider.

But with Coutinho and Henderson rested at Stoke, you'd have to believe they'll both start tomorrow. And those players, more than any other in the front six, have trouble fitting into a 4-4-2 formation.

So we're probably likely to see something incredibly close to "full-strength" in the usual 4-3-3 formation. At least in the front six; Liverpool may still change players in defense. Liverpool will have to change at least one, with Matip out thanks to a minor muscle injury. Again. Gomez has started the last three matches, starting three consecutive for the first time this season, and Alexander-Arnold should come in at right-back. Although, if Klavan's still ill – he was still absent from training yesterday – Gomez might have to start at center-back. Alberto Moreno also seemingly has to get a rest sometime, as long as Andrew Robertson hasn't actually fallen into the Springfield Mystery Spot.

But I wouldn't expect the sort of changes we saw against Chelsea and Stoke, even with the short span between Wednesday and Saturday matches. There are four whole days between this and Spartak Moscow, after all.

Meanwhile, Brighton rarely seem to rotate much. Only Sidwell is definitely absent – and has been all season – while left-back Bong is a slight doubt. They'll play 4-4-2. They've been vastly better than I expected, for what little that's worth. Their games usually feature low goals totals, for both sides. Their last five league games have featured all of eight goals: 1-1 Southampton, 1-0 Swansea, 2-2 Stoke, 0-1 United, 0-0 Palace. Only six teams have scored fewer, only five teams have conceded fewer. City and Arsenal both won by 2-0 score lines, away and home respectively, but both teams had to put in work to do so.

If past is any precedent – which is no promise with two games this week – the XI will be Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Groß, Murray. We might see Izquierdo on the left rather than March, and if Bong can't go it'll be Suttner at left-back.

Like Huddersfield. Like West Ham. Like Southampton, like Stoke. Liverpool have to go again. Get your goals – because that's what you do – and try not to do anything dumb at the back. Keep rolling in the league, against the sides that gave you so much trouble last season. One match at a time.

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