Liverpool may be dealing with a run of injury issues in defence, with the club expected to start their last fit senior centre half, Virgil van Dijk, alongside midfielder Fabinho when they take on Brighton on Saturday, but that doesn’t change who the favourites are.
At least that’s Brighton manager Chris Hughton’s take on the matter, as he shrugged off the suggestion that injuries and a pair of losses to start 2019 could significantly boost his side’s chances of winning when Jürgen Klopp’s Reds pay their visit Falmer Stadium.
“At the moment, playing at home to Man City or Liverpool are the toughest games you can play,” Hughton noted, touching on the fact that with Brighton as hosts there will be more of an expectation on them trying to attack than if they were playing at Anfield.
If there’s an advantage for Brighton, it won’t be Liverpool’s defensive injuries but that The Seagulls are “going into the game in good form.” Since Christmas, they’ve drawn Arsenal and West Ham, beaten Everton, and knocked Bournemouth out of the FA Cup.
Still, given Liverpool sit top of the table and Brighton sit 13th, even a point would be a good result for them on Saturday, and it sounds as though it’s likely they will set up to try to earn just that—and to frustrate Liverpool’s attack rather than to test their defence.
“They will be big favourites, as everybody would imagine,” Houghton added. “It will be us doing as well as we can on the day. In this game, people won’t expect us to get anything and anything we do get will be a bonus.”