Liverpool faced the biggest test of their Premier League title-winning credentials last Thursday, and they failed it. Or they lost the match at least – the Reds had the higher quality chances and were about a centimetre away from taking the lead.
As it is, they now face their latest, biggest match: Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. The Seagulls might not be anywhere near as dangerous as City, but anything less than a win for Liverpool and rival fans and media alike will proclaim that their championship challenge is falling apart. While the Liverpool side which lost at Wolves in the FA Cup was a weak one, a failure to win here will lead to calls of a crisis.
Fortunately for Jurgen Klopp, the Reds’ record following defeats, their results against Brighton, and their record against Chris Hughton sides are all very strong indeed.
All eyes on Saturday. 💯 pic.twitter.com/ZdGIevNVfI— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 10, 2019
Since the German took charge at Anfield, Liverpool have never lost two league games in a row. In the league match following their 19 previous league defeats, they have won 11 and drawn eight. Most of the draws occurred in Klopp’s early time too – the Reds have won seven of their last eight league matches following league losses.
Liverpool have also won all three Premier League meetings with Brighton, and all six with teams managed by Chris Hughton by an aggregate 25-4 scoreline. The Seagulls have lost six home games since they won promotion in 2017, with five of them being against sides from the big six. All the history and form points towards an away win.
The best soccer bookies are on board too. A Liverpool win is priced at just 10/31, with Brighton at 37/4 and the draw available at 9/2. The underlying statistics back this up too: only City have a better expected goal difference than the Reds this season, and only five sides have a worse one than the home side.
2-0 Win Looks Enticing
The same numbers are predicting a 2-0 Liverpool win, which sounds about right to me. It’s priced at 23/4 if you’d like a flutter on that outcome.
However, it does go against the grain of Brighton’s home record this season. Hughton’s side have scored in every league match at the Amex in 2018/19, with themselves and Manchester City the only two teams in the division who have netted in every home game in this campaign. The Seagulls have already faced Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal on home turf too, so haven’t built that record on easy fixtures alone.
But no side has conceded fewer goals than Liverpool this season, either in total or away from home. In their three Premier League meetings with the Reds, Brighton’s only goal has been a penalty too, so barring that occurring here it’s hard to see how they’ll get on the score sheet.
The Seagulls may have scored in every home match, but only more than once three times and in just one of their last eight. A ‘yes’ is priced at evens with ‘no’ at 10/13 in the both teams to score market, and my money will be going on the latter.
Go Against Bookies; Back Under 2.5 Goals
When it comes to the total goals market, the bookmakers are much clearer on which way it should go. Under 2.5 goals is available at 27/20, who have over 2.5 at 4/7. I’m going to go against the bookies though and go with under.
While Liverpool are capable of scoring three – if we assume Brighton probably draw a blank – they’ve only done so in three of their 11 away league matches this season. After their City defeat, Klopp will be happy to get out with three points and a minimum of fuss, so I’m expecting a low scoring encounter.
For goalscorer bets, Salah may be the 31/10 favourite to score first, but Roberto Firmino, at 4/1, represents better value. The Brazilian is on fire at the moment with four goals in his last league two games, and three in his last five on the road. However, as he is yet to score an opening goal in the Premier League in 2018/19, perhaps an anytime scorer bet at 6/5 is the better option.
Glenn Murray is the only Brighton player with more than two home goals this season, so seems the obvious choice on their half of the market. He hasn’t scored since early December though, while Jurgen Locadia has netted in the Seagulls’ last two home matches. He’s 9/2 to score if you think he’ll spoil the other Jurgen’s trip to the south coast.