Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool Preview: Seagulls look to upset league leaders as title race hots up
Jurgen Locadia in action against Bournemouth. Photo - Getty Images/Mike Hewitt.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool Preview: Seagulls look to upset league leaders as title race hots up

Brighton will be looking to continue their four game unbeaten run at home to table-topping Liverpool. 

Joe Glayshier

A return to league action for both teams see Brighton look to continue their unbeaten run and Liverpool look to return to winning ways after two straight defeats. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup and will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table as they face a Brighton team who swept Bournemouth aside 3-1 in their tie at the Vitality Stadium.

Team news

Chris Hughton will be without full-back Bernardo through a slight hamstring injury, while Asia Cup duo Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Maty Ryan are still unavailable. Jose Izquierdo remains out with a knee injury. 

Albion are likely to line up as follows: Button, Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Stephens, Pröpper, Gross, March, Andone, Locadia.

Liverpool have a defensive crisis with Dejan Lovren (hamstring), Joel Matip (fitness), Joe Gomez (leg) and Virgil van Dijk with a potential illness, leaving them short of centre-backs. Fabinho could fill in as he did in the FA Cup tie against Wolves.

Liverpool could line up as follows: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Firmino, Mane, Salah.

Hughton hails Van Dijk

Chris Hughton, former Tottenham Hotspur defender has branded Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk as one of the best.

When likened to some of the Premier League greats, the Brighton manager replied:

"Is he that level of player? Yes, of course, I've no doubt he is when you look at the qualities he's got.

"The other players we've mentioned have done it over a long period. If you're asking me if he's at their level as a player, then the answer is yes."

The Dutch defender claimed December's Premier League Player of the Month award. 

"But if you're talking about an influence on our game and the history they have, then, of course, they've done it for a longer time and he hasn't."

In-form Locadia man to watch for Albion

Brighton forward Jurgen Locadia has been in a rich vein of form since coming into the side against Bournemouth last month, with two goals and an assist in his last four games.

His pace and power coming in from  the left has been vital for the Seagulls in recent weeks and the partnership with Davy Propper has proved pivotal for both players’ form.

Stopping Salah will help Brighton

Top scorer Mohamed Salah will be the biggest threat for Brighton with his pace and sharpness in front of goal. Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy will have to be at the top of their games to stop the Egyptian from scoring his 14th goal of the season.

Salah’s partnership with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is almost telepathic and being able to restrict Liverpool to few chances will be key for the Seagulls.