Brighton & Hove Albion will make the long trip up to Anfield on the final day of the season this Sunday in hope that the mauling at the hands of Liverpool at the AMEX Stadium will not be repeated.
Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho’s sheer class proved to be way too much for Chris Hughton’s side to handle and helped the Reds to a 5-1 win on the south coast. However, the Seagulls come into this meeting with their 2018-19 Premier League status sealed and Liverpool will have one eye on their upcoming Champions League Final against Real Madrid.
The hosts just need a point to secure Champions League qualification for next season, with Chelsea two points behind them in fifth but with a far inferior goal difference. As for the visitors, they can really have a go at the home side given that their Premier League safety was ensured after a shock victory against Manchester United last time out.
Ahead of the final game of the season, Klopp has hailed the game as Liverpool’s “most important game yet” of this season. A loss could mean that the Reds would fall behind Chelsea in the standings and miss out on Champions League qualification unless the Blues slip up against Newcastle United.
After their heroics in the 5-2 victory in the Champions League against AS Roma, Liverpool’s form has been poor, to say the least. No victories since that historic night at Anfield means that the Reds’ qualification for Europe hangs on thin ice.
Klopp will look to reinvigorate his players after their 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge against Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. They will need a positive result to head into the Champions League final against Real Madrid with the right mindset.
Brighton secured their top-flight status with a victory against Manchester United at the AMEX thanks to a goal from Pascal Groß.
Following that historic win against the Red Devils, the Seagulls were well beaten by the champions Manchester City at the Etihad. Hughton is preparing his team for an intense game at Anfield.
He has spoken about this game meaning something to the team despite the fact that their Premier League status is safe. In his pre-match press conference, the Brighton boss spoke how games like these are “daunting” for his side, however, also said these are the type of games that are exciting for the team to be involved in.
“We’ll have a group of players who haven’t played at Anfield before and these are the ones you look forward to as a team”, said Hughton.
Klopp will be concerned about the absence of Senegalese winger Sadio Manè ahead of the game. The attacker picked up a knock in the defeat against Chelsea in the past week and has missed key training sessions ever since that game.
The Reds could welcome Adam Lallana back into the first-team fold. The England international has made a full recovery following his hamstring injury he suffered at the end of March.
Klopp is still without long-term absentees including Joel Matip, Emre Can, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez.
Hughton has no fresh problems to deal with as he has a fit and ready squad to pick from, for the final clash of the season.
Steve Sidwell is the only one still making his recovery on the sidelines and is expected to be ready to return to first-team football in the coming season.