Jurgen Klopp warned his Liverpool team to give Brighton and Hove Albion “respect” ahead of their visit to the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
In Roberto De Zerbi’s first game after taking charge from Graham Potter, the Seagulls drew 3-3 with Klopp’s Liverpool in a thrilling match at Anfield in October.
The Italian has enjoyed a successful spell since then, and Brighton currently sit eighth in the league, just a point and a place behind Liverpool.
Klopp knows his team are in for a tough game on Saturday, telling reporters: “Brighton deserve respect.
“Brighton move the ball well, that’s true. All the games are really important now.
“Who would have thought their possession stats would increase after Graham Potter (left)?”
Leandro Trossard, who scored a hat-trick in that 3-3 draw earlier this season, will play no part on Saturday after reports of him training away from the first team amid links with Tottenham.
“Leandro isn’t in the list of players for tomorrow,” De Zerbi said. “He knows my opinion.
“If he wants to play with me, he has to work hard, he has to run and he has to be in the right way.”
While De Zerbi is delighted with his start to life in the Premier League, he wants results to improve at the Amex Stadium, adding: “I’m very happy. I’m lucky to work with these players at this club.
“Everything is fantastic at the moment but we haven’t won a lot at home and we are focused on this.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brighton and Hove Albion – Evan Ferguson
The 18-year-old has scored in his last two Premier League appearances, and he could become the third-youngest player to score in three consecutive games in the competition with another goal here, as well as the youngest non-Englishman to do so.
Liverpool – Darwin Nunez
The Uruguay international has had a mixed start to his Premier League career, with some flashes of quality hindered by concerns over his finishing ability. He did, however, score a superb goal against Wolves in the FA Cup and will be hoping to get on the scoresheet again against the Seagulls, though there have been worries over his fitness after missing training sessions this week.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Liverpool will be without the injured Virgil van Dijk for this game – the Reds are, however, unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League games when the Netherlands international has not started (won 11, drawn three) since losing 1-0 at home to Fulham in March 2021.
– Brighton have scored 32 Premier League goals in their 17 games in the 2022-23 season, exactly twice as many as they had at this stage in 2021-22 (16). It is the most the Seagulls have scored at this stage of a league season since 1976-77 under Alan Mullery (39).
– Liverpool have earned just 28.6 per cent of their Premier League points this season away from home (eight out of 28), the lowest ratio in the division. However, Brighton have won the lowest share of their points in home games this term (41 per cent – 11 out of 27).
– Brighton won none of their first five Premier League games under De Zerbi (two draws, three defeats) but have won four of their last six under the Italian (lost two). The Seagulls converted just 6 per cent of their shots in their first five games under him (four out of 68) but have scored with 21 per cent of their shots in the last six games (17 from 80).
– Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 10 away league games against Brighton (won five, drawn five), winning four of their five visits to the Amex Stadium in the Premier League (one draw).