After a rare home defeat by Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, Premier League champions Liverpool travel to the south Coast with strugglers Brighton next on the agenda in the day’s early kick-off. As for their Merseyside rivals Everton, they host Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in a tricky home clash. Read on for two previews from Saturday’s action…
Brighton vs Liverpool: Seagulls hope to sting injury-laden Reds
KO at 12.30pm BST
Liverpool suffered their first home defeat in a 90-minute match since September 2018 on Wednesday, losing 2-0 to Italian side Atalanta during a forgettable Champions League game.
Jurgen Klopp’s unhappy about the match scheduling, but they face an away trip to the south Coast on Saturday as strugglers Brighton await them this weekend.
Graham Potter’s men won 2-1 away against an in-form Aston Villa side last week, in what was their first league victory since mid-September. Can they make it two from two here?
Two goals in four second-half minutes from Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens helped Atalanta exact revenge against the Reds during their Group D clash. Mohamed Salah (COVID-19) returned to the starting eleven, but could only watch well-worked moves stun a significantly weakened backline.
Ilicic netted his first goal from open play since their final match pre-lockdown, where he had a hat-trick during their unforgettable 4-3 UCL win over Valencia. Gosens was lurking unmarked in the area and made no mistake from close-range, scoring his second goal of the campaign.
After a 3-0 home win over Leicester three days earlier, Klopp made a handful of changes but they didn’t do the trick against their motivated visitors. James Milner – their MOTM last week – shifted into midfield, while Fabinho and Diogo Jota were among the substitutes.
Fullbacks Neco Williams and Konstantinos Tsimikas made rare starts but struggled, while Divock Origi had an hour to forget in his third start of the campaign.
Brighton know they’re hosting an injury-stricken Liverpool side and hope to seize a promising chance this weekend.
They’ll have to do without talented youngster Tariq Lamptey through suspension, after he was sent off in stoppage-time against Aston Villa last week. Can they build on that victory?
Final thoughts and possible line-ups
With multiple injuries to key players, Liverpool are vulnerable right now.
That’s a double-edged sword – they’ll be motivated to cope without their strongest side, away to Brighton: capable of causing an upset.
Brighton: Ryan; Burn, White, Dunk, Webster; Lallana, Bissouma, Gross; Welbeck, Maupay, March.
Liverpool: Alisson; Robertson, Matip, Fabinho, Milner; Jones, Wijnaldum, Jota; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Everton vs Leeds United: Toffees target more comfortable viewing
KO: 5.30pm BST
Having escaped Craven Cottage with victory in a five-goal thriller last weekend, Everton target an easier evening when hosting Premier League newcomers Leeds on Saturday.
The Whites were unlucky not to beat ten-man Arsenal last weekend and hope for more fortune in the final third at Goodison Park. The Toffees haven’t kept a clean sheet for two months, after all.
However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men are four points off top spot after nine matches while Leeds sit 14th in an unpredictable campaign to date. Can either earn all three points on this occasion?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his impressive goalscoring return with a brace, while Abdoulaye Doucouré added a first goal since his £20m move from Watford in September.
Fulham rallied in the second-half, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s strike proved little more than a consolation for the Chelsea loanee midfielder.
Lucas Digne excelled (five key passes, two assists) with the captain’s armband in Seamus Coleman’s absence, while Alex Iwobi impressed in an unorthodox right wing-back role and Richarlison made his return from suspension.
All in all, it was a memorable afternoon for Everton but they won’t rest on their laurels after ending a four-match winless run in west London.
Why? Leeds pose multiple threats, which is why form can be deceiving at this early stage in a frenetic top-flight campaign. Reports in France confirmed Digne (ankle) sustained a serious injury in training this week – another untimely blow as far as their injury list is concerned.
Since narrow wins over Fulham and Sheffield United in September, Marcelo Bielsa’s men have won just one of their six subsequent fixtures.
However, they’ve played the likes of Manchester City, Wolves, Leicester and Arsenal in that run and been unfortunate at times too.
Bielsa, shortlisted for FIFA’s Coach of the Year award this week, is likely to shuffle the pack slightly after a frustrating goalless draw against the Gunners last time out. Will they benefit?
Final thoughts and possible line-ups
The last H2H meeting between them was eight years ago in the EFL Cup – Leeds winning 2-1.
Statistics are essentially redundant because of that and all things considered, Everton will expect to earn a hard-fought win here.
Everton: Pickford; Nkounkou, Keane, Mina, Godfrey; Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Rodriguez.
Leeds: Meslier; Alioski, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; Rodrigo, Phillips, Dallas; Harrison, Bamford, Raphinha.
Pictures’ source: Express (Daily and Sussex), Yorkshire Evening Post, Football365.com