Preview: Liverpool v Brighton

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool need just a draw against Brighton at Anfield on Sunday to seal their place in the top four and a spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Premier League
13 May 2018
Gameweek 38
Kick-off: 15:00 local time/21:00 HKT
Venue: Anfield

Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: M. Scholes, S. Massey
Fourth official: M. Jones

Head-to-head summary

Liverpool 11 7 3 1
Brighton 11 1 3 7

Previous encounter

Brighton 1-5 Liverpool (02/12/17) Premier League

Brighton scorer: G. Murray (51′ PG)
Liverpool scorers: E. Can (30′), Roberto Firmino (31′) (48′), Philippe Coutinho (87′), L. Dunk (89′ OG)

Players to watch

Adam Lallana has had a stop-start season largely due to injury but he is now back to full fitness and will be motivated to put on a top display in order to get himself into contention for a place in the team to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final.

The skillful midfielder is yet to open his account this season having made just 13 appearances in all competitions, and he will no doubt be eager to prove his worth on Sunday afternoon.

Veteran forward Glenn Murray shows no signs of slowing down and continues to show his predatory instincts in front of goal for the Seagulls. With 14 goals in all competitions in 2017/18, he is the club’s leading scorer and could be a threat to the Reds defence.

His 12 Premier League strikes represents his best return in the English top flight as a professional footballer.

Team form and manager quotes

Liverpool come into the contest having picked up just six points from a possible 15 in their last five league matches. Despite a superb run to the final of the Champions League, a demoralising loss to Chelsea in their last game seems to have shaken confidence.

With the Blues breathing down their neck in fifth place, the Reds need a draw or a win to ensure a top four place. Manager Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports: “As long as we are not 100 per cent in the Champions League, this last game is the most important of the season.

“I’ve said it a few times, all the things we’ve done so far have built a basis, we have to use the basis. The basis is obviously good because if we win against Brighton we are in the Champions League.”

Meanwhile, Brighton boss Chris Hughton brings his team to Merseyside with their Premier League status intact in 14th place on 40 points.

The Seagulls put up a fighting display in their last match against champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, although they eventually succumbed to a 3-1 loss to Pep Guardiola’s men.

As such, Hughton takes the view that playing against the best sides like City and Liverpool requires a higher level of focus.

He told reporters: “It’s always a learning curve playing against the big sides, they do things that maybe the other sides don’t.”

Team news

The Reds are without the injured Joel Matip (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Joe Gomez (ankle), while Emre Can remains out with a back injury.

Lallana is back to full training and is set to feature following a hamstring concern, though Sadio Mane could be rested.

The visitors have largely a clean bill of health with only two players missing in Izzy Brown (knee) and Steve Sidwell (back).