Just a fortnight on from an embarrassing defeat at the AMEX, Liverpool know they must deliver a much improved performance if they’re to beat Brighton to a place in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday.
Brighton vs. Liverpool
FA Cup Fourth Round | AMEX Stadium
January 29, 2023 | 1.30pm (BST)
Jurgen Klopp continues to refer to his side’s 3-0 loss to the Seagulls as “the worst game he ever saw” from one of his teams.
And with Brighton going from strength to strength under Roberto De Zerbi, the Reds certainly have their work cut out if they’re to continue their defence of the FA Cup this season.
Here’s 10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool’s latest trip to the south coast.
1. A chance to put things right
When asked what Liverpool must do differently if they’re to cause Brighton more problems on this occasion, Klopp’s response was a pretty straightforward one:
It was a performance and result that the Reds will want to forget in a hurry, but let’s hope the pain of such a harrowing defeat can inspire a much improved showing this time around.
Liverpool haven’t conceded a goal in the two matches since their previous trip to the AMEX, and they’ll need to be equally as solid if they’re to stand any chance of a positive result.
A reminder, too, that a draw would result in a replay at Anfield at some point in the coming weeks, rather than extra-time or penalties on Sunday.
2. Last game before January window shuts
It seems a very long time since Liverpool added to their squad with the £44 million signing of Cody Gakpo from PSV, doesn’t it?
Some supporters seem to forget that the Reds have moved to strengthen their squad this month, but with just a few days until the January window slams shut, it seems unlikely that there will be any more additions.
Instead, much of the focus will be on who could leave Liverpool in the coming days. Klopp has hinted that Nat Phillips could be on his way, with Rhys Williams recalled from his loan at Blackpool earlier this week.
There have also been murmurings of an exit for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Brighton said to be one of the teams interested.
3. Caicedo speculation
At the start of the month, many Liverpool fans were hoping the Reds might be among the teams to make a move for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo this month.
That hasn’t transpired, but both Arsenal and Chelsea are said to have made bids to sign the Ecuadorian in recent days.
The Gunners are believed to have made a £60m offer on Friday, with some reports suggesting Caicedo is keen to seal a move away from Brighton before the end of deadline day next Tuesday.
Should that be the case, there may be a possibility that Caicedo is not involved on Sunday, despite Roberto De Zerbi’s claim on Friday that the midfielder is “only focussed on Brighton.”
Elsewhere, Levi Colwill and Adam Lallana will not be available for the hosts as they continue to nurse injuries.
4. 3rd meeting this season
It feels like Liverpool have had a game against Brighton every other week this season, doesn’t it?
This will be their third meeting of the campaign so far, with the Reds failing to win either of the previous two, and conceding six goals in the process.
In their two matches since that defeat at the AMEX, Liverpool beat Wolves 1-0 in an FA Cup third round replay, and played out a goalless draw with Chelsea last weekend.
Brighton have played just the one game since, a 2-2 draw away to Leicester last Saturday, with the impressive Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson on the scoresheet.
5. Carvalho & Phillips doubts
Klopp provided an extensive injury update in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Fabio Carvalho is expected miss the trip with “a little thing,” while Nat Phillips has been struggling with “a proper, proper cold” in recent days.
James Milner missed one training session this week but is expected to be fine.
The boss also revealed that Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino and Arthur will all hopefully be able to return to training in “a couple of weeks,” but Luis Diaz will take “longer.”
6. Same midfield to continue?
After the defeat to Brighton earlier this month, Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita replaced Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in the win against Wolves, and continued in midfield against Chelsea.
Given the fact the Reds kept clean sheets in both of those matches, it would seem sensible to carry on with the same trio, but you could argue that Fabinho and Henderson are in need of game time.
Elsewhere, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Darwin Nunez should both be fine to return to the starting XI.
Here’s two ways the Reds could line up on Sunday.
7. Did you know?
The Reds are unbeaten in eight games in the FA Cup. If they avoid defeat here it will be nine, their best since a run of 10 between January 1992 and January 1993.
It would also be Liverpool’s fifth longest unbeaten run in the history of the FA Cup.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are looking to keep a third successive clean sheet for the first time since April 2022.
They need one goal to record 850 in all competitions under the German.
8. What’s Jurgen said?
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Klopp said he won’t be showing his players footage of the errors they made at the AMEX earlier this month:
“Of course we had intense talks after the Brighton game.
“We had to change immediately, and we did. A couple of days later we played against Wolves and it obviously looked completely different.
“After the game, I said it looked like two different sports.
“Now, we will not do the meeting where we show all the bad situations from Brighton, or it will be a proper horror show. We saw that already – we played it and saw it.”
9. Coote in the middle
David Coote will oversee proceedings at the AMEX.
Coote was in charge when Liverpool lost their hold on the Carabao Cup at Man City last December.
In 11 Premier League matches this season, he has handed out 34 yellow cards and one red.
He sent Robert Sanchez off in Brighton’s home draw with Newcastle in the league in November 2021.
10. How to follow…
Brighton vs. Liverpool is being shown live on ITV1 in the UK, with kickoff set for 1.30pm GMT.
This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog will also be in full swing, with Sam Millne providing minute-by-minute updates from around 12.45pm
Up the Reds!