The Seagulls rallied from 2-0 down to hold Marseille to a 2-2 draw in midweek, while their Merseyside counterparts concluded a troubling period by seeing off Union SG 2-0.
Flashbacks to Villa Park may have been present in the minds of the travelling Brighton faithful on Thursday night, as after witnessing their side being blown to smithereens in a 6-1 embarrassment against Aston Villa, Brighton conceded 19th and 20th-minute goals to Chancel Mbemba and Jordan Veretout at the Orange Velodrome.
Newly-appointed Olympiens head coach Gennaro Gattuso was ostensibly en route to a first win in the Marseille hotseat, but as injuries began to pile up for the hosts in the second half, Roberto De Zerbi’s men took full advantage, as Pascal Gross reduced the arrears before Joao Pedro’s clinical penalty stole a point for the Seagulls.
As valiant as Brighton’s efforts were across the channel, De Zerbi’s side are now enduring an unsightly three-game winless run heading into the visit of Liverpool, having also been dumped out of the EFL Cup by Chelsea before their West Midlands mauling last weekend.
A sixth-placed ranking in the Premier League table – only three points behind leaders Manchester City – is still nothing to be sniffed at, but the defensive statistics are alarming for De Zerbi, whose side have already let in 20 goals in all tournaments this term, more than any other side in the English top flight.
It will therefore come as little shock to learn that the hosts have not managed to keep a single clean sheet this season, but following back-to-back triumphs over Newcastle United and Bournemouth at the Amex, the Seagulls could now win three Premier League home games on the bounce for the first time since 2019, and 11 goals scored on familiar territory is second only to Villa’s 13.
As was the case with Brighton, Liverpool also entered the second round of Europa League fixtures reeling from a sickening Premier League result, having been on the wrong end of a horrendous officiating decision during their first defeat of the season against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Two red cards, one incorrectly disallowed strike for Luis Diaz and Joel Matip’s last-gasp own goal all contributed to the Reds’ downfall in a 2-1 Lilywhites beating, and while Jurgen Klopp’s half-hearted wish for a replay owing to Darren England’s unparalleled VAR howler should not be granted, his side exorcised their domestic demons on Thursday.
Union SG gave Klopp’s side a good run for their money on Merseyside, but Ryan Gravenberch crashed home his first Liverpool goal after Anthony Moris spilled Trent Alexander-Arnold’s strike into his path, and Diogo Jota put the game to bed in second-half injury time with a crisp strike across goal.
Liverpool were far from their brilliant best on Thursday, but a first clean sheet in five games was a welcome statistic for Klopp, whose charges had strung together an eight-game unbeaten run away from home in the Premier League before their North London nightmare at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Trips down south last term were not enjoyable occasions for the Liverpool faithful, though, as their side suffered a pair of 3-0 and 2-1 Brighton beatings in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively, prior to which fans flocked to watch the Leandro Trossard show at Anfield as the now-Arsenal man scored all three for the Seagulls in October’s 3-3 spectacular.
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
Liverpool Premier League form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-3 Liverpool
Jellied legs from their Europa League exploits will hit both teams hard this weekend, although Brighton may be feeling the effects to a greater degree given their taxing journey home from Marseille, while Liverpool were able to rest a few more big names on their own turf.
Goals have been a guarantee whenever these two sides have stepped out onto the field this term, but while Brighton subjected Liverpool to two Amex beatings earlier in 2023, the hosts’ severe defensive deficiencies should see the Reds exact revenge.