Time for some more Premier League action as we face Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield. Last week showed that they are a side that should not be underestimated as they beat Manchester United 3-2. We beat Crystal Palace 2-0 with goals from Mane and Milner, and we sit at second place on goal difference, tied with five other teams with six points. Out for us is Lovren and the Ox.
Formation-wise, we should go 4-3-3 with the starters being Alisson, Trent, Gomez, VVD, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Salah, Firmino, and Mane. I think it’s important to show faith in the players that have given us the wins so far this season. Reward them for the performances and results.
Brighton will most likely go with a 4-4-1-1, which is what they went with last weekend. Both of their outside midfielders grabbed assists, which can tell us that they will most likely look to get their vast majority of opportunities from crosses from these two players.
For this game, we may need help offensively from a variety of sources. Since it looks like Brighton look to their outside midfielders to create their chances, we may need to target those players and make them defend deep in their own box when we have the ball.
We can do this by bringing up our fullbacks and have them join the attack as much as possible. Our three forwards can play a bit narrower, occupying their back four. This allows our fullbacks to go forward freely, unless their outside midfielders drop down. And if they constantly drop down while also having the task of going all the way up for chance creation, then they will tire quickly, and their quality will drop.
And if Brighton decides to defend our front three with only three of their own (one of the defenders helps with the coverage of one of our fullbacks), then I will gladly take our front three over their back three any day of the week. We could also get runs from our midfielders such as Milner and Keita. Brighton will be forced to send midfielders of their own to cover, meaning the counter-attacking structure will suffer for Brighton since they are committing players back that they were not expecting to.
Defensively, since they may look for the wide channels for chance creation, we may need to put a special emphasis on forcing them to play to the middle. Some simple cover shadow usage from Salah and Mane, shaping their body so that they are “covering” the Brighton outside midfielders without actually man marking them should force them to play up the middle, where we will have three midfielders and Firmino waiting to pounce and win the ball. Then we can launch a counter-attack with our front three.
Even though Brighton will be full of confidence, we should be able to handle them if we focus 100% on the task at hand and not take them for chumps. And I trust Klopp will get the boys to do that. I’m predicting 3-1 for Liverpool.