Liverpool come into their final Premier League game needing just a point to secure Champions League football, as they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield.
Chelsea meanwhile must win and hope that Jurgen Klopp’s men lose if they’re to snatch fourth and condemn the Reds to needing to win the Champions League if they’re to also have top European football next season.
Liverpool could welcome back Adam Lallana from a thigh injury here, if he passes a late fitness test.
Forward, Sadio Mane also faces a fitness test after overcoming a knock.
Versatile defender, Joe Gomez is ruled out until start of next season as he recovers from ankle surgery.
The Englishman joins Joel Matip (thigh) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) on sidelines for rest of season.
Emre Can meanwhile is close to a return from a back injury and is expected to be in the squad for the Champions League Final.
Brighton have an unchanged squad with Steve Sidwell their only absentee with an ankle injury.
Liverpool’s six match unbeaten league run came to an end last time out with defeat at Chelsea.
At Anfield, the Reds haven’t lost all season taking 11 wins and seven draws as well as 11 clean sheets.
Against Brighton’s fellow promoted sides this season. Liverpool have won their home games 5-0 on aggregate.
Brighton have been inconsistent during their last eight league outings, suffering four defeats whilst taking three draws and a single win.
Brighton’s Pascal Gross has netted two goals in their last four, both coming at home against two of Liverpool’s fellow ‘Big Six’ rivals, Tottenham and Man Utd.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in last six across all competitions against Brighton (W5 D1).
- Brighton’s last win at Anfield came in a 2-1 FA Cup fifth round win en route to 1983 final.
- The last five meetings have seen both teams score at least once.
- Brighton are yet to score from a free-kick or counter attack this season whilst Liverpool have netted 10 times from those two types of goal scenarios combined.
- Shane Duffy has made the most clearances out of any Premier League player this season and roughly 100 more than fellow Brighton teammate, Lewis Dunk.
- Brighton have scored a league high five own goals this season and one more here will see them equal the highest own goal tally this decade, currently held by this weekend’s opponents, Liverpool who put six at back of their own net in 2013-14 alongside Sunderland.
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has missed 21 big chances this season, one fewer than Brighton’s top five players combined.
Where can game be won or lost?
|Per Game Average||Liverpool (home)||Brighton & Hove Albion (away)|
|Shots on Target||6.89||2.56|
|Goals per First Half %||34.1||80|
|Goals per Second Half %||65.9||20|
Brighton definitely need a sensational defensive display here because Liverpool could run riot.
The only area where the Seagulls match Liverpool is in yellow card average, but that is quite meaningless because its goals that win you points not the lack of yellow cards.
If am being honest, Brighton’s best hope is to score in first half otherwise the result won’t make for pretty reading, given the Reds superiority all over the pitch.
As for Liverpool, the only way I can see them losing this game is if aren’t clinical enough. They have wasted nearly 12 of their shots at home off target which could well prove to be their undoing if the Seagulls can take a point from this game.
If Liverpool can reduce that issue and Brighton don’t deliver then this should be an easy outcome.
Liverpool might have the Champions League Final on their mind but I expect a comfortable win against a team who struggle away from the Amex.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Jake predicts: Liverpool 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Result: Liverpool 4-0 Brighton & Hove Albion