Three key battles to look out for in Brighton vs Liverpool

Next up in the Premier League is a tough away trip to Brighton, with Liverpool looking to build on their mid-week victory over Union Saint-Gilloise in the Europa League.

Liverpool may have got back to winning ways in Europe, but they are still somewhat licking their wounds domestically after falling victim to appalling officiating against Spurs, which saw the club handed a first loss of the 2023/24 campaign.

Brighton also put in a strong showing in Europe, coming back form 2-0 down against Marseille to draw the game, but the South Coast club also have something to prove in the Premier League following a resounding 6-1 loss at the hands of Aston Villa (who Liverpool beat 3-0 earlier in the season).

In terms of form between the two sides, it is actually the Seagulls who have the upper hand, limiting Jurgen Klopp's side to just one win in the last seven fixtures.

READ MORE: Liverpool's predicted starting XI to face Brighton

Both teams will be desperate to go into the international break on a high after their losses, and the game has the ingredients to be a cracker.

Here are three key battles which could decide the tie.


TARIQ LAMPTEY VS MOHAMED SALAH

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton's first choice left back Pervis Estupinan is without doubt one of the best left-sided defenders in the league, so Mohamed Salah will certainly be pleased that he won't have to face off against the Ecuadorian on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Roberto De Zerbi confirmed that the 25-year-old would miss the clash with Liverpool and will be on the sidelines for around a month.

He said: "Unfortunately, it is an important player we are losing but we can play in that position with Tariq Lamptey, Igor Julio or others. We have to be ready with others."

The most likely candidate to fill in at left-back is Lamptey. The youngster has forced his way into Brighton's starting XI and even won the equalising penalty against Marseille.

However, he is yet to come up against someone of Salah's quality on the right-hand side, and we all know that the Egyptian can make a fool out of the world's best defenders whenever he feels like it.

Liverpool's winger has eight goal contributions in all competitions already this season and will be looking to continue his fantastic start against Brighton, so Lamptey should be expecting a challenge.

KAORU MITOMA VS TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Potentially the most important match-up that will decide the result of Brighton vs Liverpool is on the home side's left flank.

Mitoma has already shown his quality this season, with three goals and four assists in just ten games in all competitions, and he has proven in the past that he can be a hell of a thorn in Liverpool's side – scoring the winner in last season's FA Cup clash.

Alexander-Arnold has often been left slightly exposed against rapid, agile wingers and is still gradually returning to full speed following the hamstring injury that saw him sidelined for three weeks.

The full-back played just an hour against Union Saint-Gilloise mid-week, and hardly put a foot wrong from an offensive or defensive standpoint.

However, this is a different level of test.

With Alexander-Arnold's creativity likely needed to break down a tough Brighton defence away from home, the space may naturally open up for Mitoma to exploit, meaning it will need the combined efforts of Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate to lock the Japan international down and make sure he has as little impact as possible.

SOLLY MARCH VS ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER

For the first time since joining Liverpool for £35m in one of the bargain transfers of the summer window, Mac Allister will face off against his old club and his battle in the midfield will be one of the major deciding factors of the game.

Due to his versatility, on many occasions this season, Liverpool's World Cup winner has been asked to play as the most defensive midfielder at the base in the middle of the park, controlling the temp and spraying passes out wide. He has done this job superbly.

While this sometimes negates the attacking talents Mac Allister displayed at Brighton, Liverpool have an abundance of threat up top and need a player of his quality to pull the strings in midfield and keep the game ticking.

Solly March, perhaps Brighton's most advanced midfielder, will be looking to use his knowledge of Mac Allister's game to the best of his ability and get the better of him, and with how advanced Liverpool play at times, he'll know that if he can get passed his former teammate, he will be able to create chances and dictate the game.

However, Mac Allister only played 45 minutes mid-week in the Europa League and will be going into the fixture on Sunday fit, fresh and ready to make a statement against his former club.

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