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Brighton & Hove Albion-Liverpool Preview
With their offence clicking again and defence finding some early form, Liverpool are off to a strong start. That being said, there is still reason to be cautious about their visitors to Anfield this weekend.
Coming off a victory over one Premier League giant, Brighton and Hove Albion look for another upset when they face the Reds on Saturday.
After recording 84 goals - second only to champions Manchester City - in the top-flight last season, it's no surprise Liverpool have been productive out of the gate this term. The Reds have totaled 34 shots - 14 on target - whilst outscoring West Ham United and Crystal Palace 6-0.
Though they didn't face the elite of the Premier League, posting back-to-back clean sheets has those on the red side of the Mersey feeling good about things. They last blanked their first three opponents of the season in 2015-16.
For the club, though, it's always business as usual, as long as manager Jurgen Klopp is watching.
"We know the players that we have got going forward, if we keep those clean sheets then we've got every chance of nicking a goal at the other end," veteran James Milner, who converted a successful penalty to open the scoring against Palace, told Liverpool's official website.
"So, it comes from the keeper and all the way through the back four and all the way through the team and the way we play. Everyone defends together … it gets us off to a good start."
Whilst Sadio Mane has paced the offence with three goals, Virgil Van Dijk's skills within the back four have shown why the Reds paid a hefty price (reported £75 million) to bring him aboard last season.
"Quality costs a specific price, it's with cars like that, with a lot of things like that, and with players as well and that's why we paid it," Klopp said. "Nobody thinks about it anymore and that's good because he's a player in this market, in the moment, he's at least worth it."
Liverpool's offence and defence were both on display whilst outscoring Brighton 9-1 in doing the double last season. Seven different players scored for Liverpool in those two matches.
Brighton fell 4-0 at Anfield last season, but enter this contest with plenty of momentum after hanging on for a 3-2 home win over Manchester United last weekend to bounce back from an opening 2-0 defeat at Watford. Glenn Murray, who scored against Liverpool last season, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross all scored for the Seagulls, who prevailed despite keeping just 36 percent of the possession.
"We've really set the bar high now," defender Leon Balogun told Brighton's official website. "This is the level we always want to achieve consistently."
Brighton, which managed survival upon their promotion to the Premier League last season, certainly feel good about things, but also don't want to get ahead of themselves.
"With the performance we showed (against Manchester United), we'll want to replicate that against Liverpool," midfielder Anthony Knockaert said. "It will be another tough game and we'll see what happens.
"It gives us confidence going to Anfield, but we know they're a strong team. They've got some great players but hopefully we can get something.
"We'll stay humble, as we remember where we've come from."
Updated August 23, 2018