Roberto De Zerbi will start his Brighton & Hove Albion career with a difficult trip away to Anfield in the English Premier League. Both teams are in the top half of the table, with Brighton surprisingly sitting in the fourth position, four points ahead of Liverpool. However, the Seagulls haven’t played a competitive match since their 5-2 victory over Leicester City. Liverpool, on the other hand, won and lost a match in the UEFA Champions League during that period.
Liverpool are on a three-match unbeaten streak and played a goalless draw against Everton before the demise of Queen Elizabeth II. The Reds have won two, drawn three and lost one match. They have managed to find the back of the net 15 times with an average xG rate of 2.58 per match and conceded six goals with an xGA rate of 1.19.
Brighton have won four matches and drew and lost one match each. They have scored 11 times and averaged 1.84 xG per match. The defence has conceded five goals, and this is the lowest number amongst any other team in the league. However, the Seagulls have played one game fewer than most of the other teams.
We now look at some of the stats that could predict the outcome of the match.
The attacking zones
Liverpool are likely to attack from the right side in this game. Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t feature in any games for England and will be fresh for this match. The Reds average 44 positional attacks and 2.17 counterattacks per match. They shoot the ball 17.83 times and have an accuracy rate of 38.2%.
Brighton will be playing their first match under the new manager and there could be some tactical changes. They have attacked more from the left side and the centre. The Seagulls average 31.5 positional attacks and 2.33 counterattacks per match. Their shot average per match is 12.83, with a 36.4% accuracy rate.
Liverpool’s box penetrations
Liverpool players will look to penetrate the opposition penalty box in every possible situation. They average 28 entries per 90 minutes into the penalty box and are six entries ahead of Manchester City, sitting in second. This shows that Klopp’s men like to flood inside the penalty box and get on the crosses or passes attempted by a teammate. They have the highest crossing average of 19 crosses. Brighton will have to deal with such runs into the box.
The defensive test
Liverpool’s defence has leaked some easy goals this season, and this is the reason behind their struggles. The Reds have won only 52% of their defensive duels and are only slightly above the Wolves in the dashboard. Brighton, on the other hand, have won 58% of their duels and are ranked amongst the top-five teams. Both defences will be tested in this match as these two teams play an attacking style of football.
Mohamed Salah has scored six times in ten appearances against Brighton. He will look to add more goals to his tally. This season, the forward has two goals and two assists to his name. This is a chance for him to get back into the golden boot race for this season.
Pascal Gross is enjoying his time at Brighton. The German attacking midfielder has scored three goals and has two assists to his name. Gross has found himself inside the 6-yard box on 3-4 occasions and has scored tap-in goals from there. He will once again look to make these box-penetrating runs to score a goal.
Liverpool will still be without their first-choice left-back, Andrew Robertson. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also miss the match. However, some of the players have recovered from their injuries and that will boost the Liverpool camp. Ibrahim Konate, Curtis Jones, and Jordan Henderson will be available for selection.
Brighton will be without Jakub Moder and former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana.
Liverpool will look to capitalise on the opportunity to play against an unsettled Brighton side. They have a new manager and will be playing under different tactics. It might take some time for the players to adjust to these tactics. Most of the players have also recovered from injuries, and that will give Jurgen Klopp more options to choose from. The Reds will look to close the gap between the two teams with a win.
Visuals via Wyscout and the TFA data viz engine