Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion
| Sunday, May 13th |
Premier League | Anfield
3:00 PM GMT/10:00 AM EST
Liverpool has pulled a Liverpool and left qualification for the top four until the very last game of the season, forcing Klopp to play his strongest team before the Champions League final. They have two weeks between this game and the final, but with Liverpool’s threadbare team, the concern isn’t fatigue but injury.
So let’s do figure out the possibilities. Liverpool currently sit at 72 points for this season, while Chelsea are behind them with 70 points, thanks to a draw against Huddersfield midweek. Liverpool’s goal difference will be impossible for Chelsea to overtake. Therefore, Liverpool will drop out of the top four only if they lose and Chelsea win. A draw is enough for Liverpool to secure Champions League football for next season, assuming that Chelsea don’t beat Newcastle by 15 goals.
It’s a good bet that the Reds can get it across the line, especially at Anfield and after a full week’s rest for the players, but nails will still be bitten to the quick until the final whistle anyway. Brighton have only won two games on the road this season, and Liverpool are unbeaten at home. But Liverpool do Liverpool things and always make life interesting.
Making things more difficult is news that Sadio Mané may be an injury concern for Klopp. The winger is said to have picked up a knock against Chelsea and has missed several training sessions this week. A decision will have to be made regarding his fitness and whether it’s worth the risk for Klopp to play him in this one with an eye towards the final.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Let’s be optimistic and say that Mané has passed a fitness test for this clash. Otherwise, Klopp should be expected to play his best starting XI for this match.
Liverpool will be missing (deep breath): Joel Matip, Emre Can, Joe Gomez, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Adam Lallana has a chance to make it on the bench for this one, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Brighton and Hove Albion will be missing Steve Sidwell and Izzy Brown, but are otherwise at full strength.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “You want to be really focused. The season now for most of the team in the league is a nice time but for us it is work. All the awards around are really deserved but hopefully the last one was yesterday and now it is about playing the game on Sunday.”
Chris Hughton: “We’ve tried to enjoy the season as much as we can. I have been able to enjoy it on the whole, apart from the first few weeks we haven’t been in the bottom three. The last week is the best for me because this is where we wanted to be.”
Referee: Kevin Friend Assistants: Mark Scholes, Sian Massey-Ellis Fourth official: Craig Pawson
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.