Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- There has been an understandable drop-off from Liverpool since the title was secured
- Brighton has done enough to pull itself clear of danger in Graham Potter’s first season
- Liverpool have lacked intensity but Jurgen Klopp will demand an improvement on Wednesday
|What||Brighton and Hove Albion vs Liverpool|
|Where||Amex Stadium, Brighton, England|
|When||Wednesday, 8 July 2020, 3.15 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Jurgen Klopp promised that his team would not lose focus after wrapping up the Premier League title, but that was always going to be easier said than done. Liverpool’s first encounter since being crowned champions of English soccer for the first time since 1990 saw it demolished 4-0 by a Manchester City side that had just relinquished the crown.
Liverpool did return to winning ways on Sunday, overcoming Aston Villa 2-0 at Anfield. It was far from a classic performance from the Reds, however, and they had to wait until the 71st minute to break the deadlock through Sadio Mane. There has been a clear dip in the team’s performance since it got over the line; that is inevitable to some extent, but Liverpool still has something to play for this season.
That something, alas, is not the FA Cup or the Champions League, with Klopp’s side having already suffered elimination from both competitions. But four wins from its final five matches would see Liverpool break Manchester City’s 100-points tally from 2017/18 and set a new record in the history of the English top flight. Such feats may not have bothered Klopp and co. earlier in the season, but now that the trophy is guaranteed there will be a collective desire to become – by one measure at least – the greatest team of all time.
Brighton, for its part, has all but realized its primary objective for the campaign: avoiding relegation. Nine points clear of the drop zone, Graham Potter’s side will almost certainly be participating in the Premier League in 2020/21.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Liverpool Odds
|Liverpool to win both halves||Odds|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Liverpool started slowly against Aston Villa and went in goalless at half-time. It also failed to score against Manchester City – either in the first 45 minutes or the second – yet it did create chances in that opening period at the Etihad Stadium, and Klopp will want to see his team start quickly here.
In its most recent game against a big-six side, Brighton was dominated by Manchester United in the first half. Liverpool, like its arch-rival, will also seek to take the initiative early on before completing the job after the interval. With that in mind, back the Reds to win both halves.
Liverpool’s Fringe Players Must Do More to Stake Their Claim
When everyone is fit, Liverpool has a pretty settled starting XI. The back five of Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson picks itself. The strongest front three is undoubtedly Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. And Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum have cemented their status as Liverpool’s first-choice midfield trio.
There is plenty of competition for places in the engine room, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita were both handed a chance from the first whistle against Aston Villa. Neither took it, and the two men were off the pitch by the time Mane had given Liverpool the lead with 19 minutes remaining. Divock Origi also did little to suggest he is capable of stepping in for any of the front three over long periods.
It was a missed opportunity for all three players, and fringe members of the Liverpool squad must do a better job of staking their claim for a regular role in the final five matches of the season. For now, do not be surprised if Klopp reverts to the tried and trusted against Brighton.
Brighton Should Consider This a Successful Season Given Adaptation
Brighton was a sinking stone in March, but the break allowed it to regroup and it finally recorded its first win of 2020 in its first game back against Arsenal. The Seagulls followed that up with a creditable 0-0 draw with Leicester City, and then responded to the defeat by Manchester United by beating Norwich City 1-0 at the weekend.
Brighton is unlikely to finish any higher than 15th – its rival, Crystal Palace, has a six-point cushion in 14th – but that would still represent a successful season given the change in the dugout last summer.
Potter has made Brighton more expansive than it was under Chris Hughton, a more conservative head coach. He has done that while continuing to get results, and thus deserves credit for his work this term.
Liverpool Gunning for Points Record and Will Aim for a Fast Start
With that points record in its sights and a need to respond from a lackluster display against Villa, expect Liverpool to come flying out the traps at the Amex. Klopp will want to see an improvement and the Premier League champion should deliver one.
Brighton has had its moments against big teams this year, including in that victory over Arsenal last month. Liverpool is in a category of its own, however, and it is hard to look past a comfortable evening for the visitor.
Take the Yes option here – Liverpool was far from its best against Aston Villa but that could actually increase the chances of a strong performance against Brighton.