No time to panic
We might have suffered consecutive defeats for the first time this season away at City and Wolves, but this is no time to panic with a four-point lead at the head of the table. That’s especially the case as the margins were tight versus City, while it was an experimental side at Wolves that saw nine changes to the starting XI and three teenagers handed their debuts. The promoted outfit have caused plenty of upsets against the big guns, even beating Chelsea and Spurs since the start of December, and so there’s no reason to think our mental resolve has been broken by the results of the past week and a bit.
Dejan Lovren has received plenty of criticism from us before, but his injury and subsequent departure from the field early on against Wolves has left us short at the back. Fabinho will likely be the one to deputise until a specialist in the position returns, but while the Brazilian will be missed at the base of midfield, it could well leave us with a centre-back partnership that’s incredibly comfortable on the ball. 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever can be pleased with his debut, but he showed his inexperience with some of his positioning and has more to learn before he can be thrust into the thick of a title race.
Squad members fail to take their chances
Although Naby Keita and especially Xherdan Shaqiri have demonstrated enough so far to suggest they have long-term roles to play at Anfield, Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi did little to convince they can be of much use going forwards. Moreno has never been sure defensively while Sturridge is clearly not the player he once was, and though Origi netted an equaliser at the time, it was a rather hopeful swipe at the ball between the most open set of legs you’ll ever witness and the Belgian did little else worthy of note.
Brighton no pushovers at the Amex
The Seagulls are W12-D11-L6 on home turf since getting promoted and have the upper hand hosting ‘Big Six’ sides since March (W3-D2-L2). They’ve netted in all 10 home games this season as both teams scored in seven, and so given our new-found problems at the back, as well as the return to the starting line-up of our big guns, both teams to score looks a very healthy price indeed. For all our improvements defensively, we’ve still only kept four clean sheets in our last 10 on the road, though having won our three encounters with Brighton since the start of last season by a combined score of 10-1, we should possess the firepower to triumph regardless.
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