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    ʕ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Dick Head's Avatar
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    Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool *** Official Match Thread ***


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    Brighton v Liverpool

    PREMIER LEAGUE

    Venue: The American Express Community Stadium
    Date: Saturday 12th January 2019
    Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
    Referee: Kevin Friend
    Assistants: Simon Long, Richard West
    Fourth official: Roger East



    TEAM NEWS

    Brighton are again without defender Bernardo, who suffered a hamstring injury against West Ham on 2 January.

    Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Jose Izquierdo and Mat Ryan also remain unavailable.

    Virgil van Dijk will return for Liverpool after missing Monday's FA Cup defeat at Wolves, but the Reds remain short of centre-back options.

    Dejan Lovren is out with a hamstring injury and Joe Gomez is still unavailable, so Fabinho could again play in central defence.

    Joel Matip has returned to training following a fractured collarbone and will be monitored, as will midfielder Jordan Henderson, who has been nursing a calf problem.

    A host of key players rested against Wolves will be recalled to the starting line-up.

    MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES

    Jonathan Pearce: A third Liverpool defeat on the spin wouldn't be destructive to their campaign but it would be corrosive.

    Their December aura of invincibility would evaporate. Doubts would creep in if they lose a first top-flight away game at Brighton.

    It's certainly possible given their defensive headache. The wily Glenn Murray will relish meeting any young pup or defender playing out of position.

    Brighton have shown against Manchester United and Arsenal this season that they can live with top-six sides at home.

    It'll take a mighty effort. I can't see them keeping a clean sheet and they must start well. But a draw to end Chris Hughton's miserable run against Liverpool wouldn't be surprising. The leaders must win their next three at home though.

    WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

    Chris Hughton on his side's recent form: "Can we go into the game with some comfort? We can until kick-off time and then it's about how you perform on the day.

    "They will be big favourites, as everybody would imagine, and it will be us doing as well as we can on the day.

    "I'd certainly rather be going into the game in good form than in bad form."

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "Statistics from the past have no relevance in the present because it is always different. We don't think about the season before or 20 years ago.

    "Two weeks ago I think everyone was so excited about the distance between [the teams at the top].

    "We have now two games which we lost, which is not nice, but it is not a real problem because these games have gone as well.

    "We only talk here [in the press conference] about the points and the distance, we never do that during the week [in training] because it is just not relevant."

    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    • Brighton have lost their last six matches against Liverpool in all competitions.
    • The Reds have won all three Premier League meetings, scoring 10 times and conceding just once.
    • Liverpool have never lost away at Brighton in the top flight, winning twice and drawing three times. Those five games have produced a total of 25 goals - 16 for the Merseysiders and nine for the Seagulls.

    Brighton

    • Brighton have lost just six of their 29 Premier League home matches, but five of those have come against the established top-six sides.
    • This will be the first time they have played a home game against Premier League leaders.
    • Brighton have scored a league-high 62.5% of their goals from set-pieces (including penalties) this term, but opponents Liverpool have conceded a league-low two goals from set-pieces.
    • The Seagulls have just nine goals from open play in the top flight this season; only Huddersfield, with five goals, have a lower total.
    • However, they have scored in each of their last 13 home league games, their longest such streak in the top flight.
    • Chris Hughton's side are unbeaten in three league games (W1, D2) - they have not gone four matches unbeaten in the top flight since a five-match streak from January to March last year.
    • Hughton has lost all six of his previous Premier League games against Liverpool as a manager. Gary Megson is the only man with a worse record against the Reds.

    Liverpool

    • Liverpool could suffer three consecutive defeats in all competitions for the first time since January 2017.
    • They last lost back-to-back Premier League games in August and September 2015, under Brendan Rodgers.
    • The Reds have won their last eight Premier League games which have kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday, with seven of those victories by a margin of at least three goals.
    • Roberto Firmino has scored four goals in his last two Premier League games - as many as he had in his first 19 top-flight appearances this season.
    • Mohamed Salah has scored twice and assisted twice in his three Premier League appearances against Brighton.
    ● A 21-year-old man from Shoreham was arrested at the Amex stadium on suspicion of throwing a pie at Wilfried Zaha ●

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