LIVERPOOL stumbled to an uncharacteristic defeat at the hands of Serie A side Atalanta in the midweek Champions League fixture at Anfield.
Because of that, and with no malice intended, Brighton Hove Albion should expect a backlash from the English champions when they visit Falmer Stadium today.
The Italians exposed the Reds’ shortcomings with an efficient and purposeful performance. That the Premier League giants were unable to register a single shot at goal throughout and concede two at the other end, would have hurt immensely and perhaps none more than their manager Jurgen Klopp.
For this reason alone, one fears the worst for the home team today.
But Seagulls head coach Graham Potter know that if they can keep Liverpool quiet for the first hour or so, they may have a chance of stemming the Red tide — maybe holding them to a draw or even pulling off an unlikely win.
Liverpool’s faithful might scoff at this thought, but they would do well to remember what Aston Villa achieved (7-2) against
Klopp and Company, and that Leeds scored three times against them on the opening day.
The enforced absence of defenders Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomes is a massive blow to Liverpool. But they coped well enough without them against then league leaders Leicester City last weekend and much of the time since Van Dijk’s long-term knee injury in the Merseyside derby.
Today Klopp will most likely revert to a backline of James Milner, Fabinho, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson — the one who started and then excelled against Leicester.
Klopp will also be heartened by the expected return of Mohamed Salah from a bout of Covid-19. The Egyptian star missed the Leicester game but could feature in the starting line-up today. His return will be a massive boost.
Potter might well be quietly confident of springing a surprise of his own.
The Albion boss knows that this season, even if it is only eight or nine games into the campaign, has been laden with unexpected results and loads of goals.
If they manage to get their noses in front early on, one never knows what may happen then.
Chasing a second victory in as many matches, Brighton will surely look to Neal Maupay to lead their charge from the front. He should find assistance perhaps from Pascal Gross and Solly March, both who have impressed lately — the latter getting the winner against Villa last Saturday.