9 min Mitoma beats Alexander-Arnold down the left and lifts a cross towards the near post, where Konate gets in front of Ferguson to clear. It’s been a really entertaining start to the game.
9 min “The FSG-out groupthink is so depressing,” says Ian Copestake. “We got lucky ridding ourselves of truly awful owners and now look gift horses in the mouth. Anfield developed, millions spent on strikers, defenders but yes no midfielder. So the owners have to go?”
Yeah but think how many £200m midfielders you’ll be able to buy if you’re taken over by the Devil PIF Group.
8 min A tame long-range shot from Elliott is easily saved by Steele. Was going wide anyway.
7 min Alexander-Arnold spins a delicious outside-of-the-boot pass to release Salah, who wins a corner off Estupinan.
4 min: Off the line by Dunk! Liverpool almost score with their first attack. Salah, on the right side of the area, threaded a left-footed shot that was blocked by Webster in front of the diving Steele. It came back to Salah, who shoved it towards goal with his right foot, and Dunk stretched to make a superb clearance off the line.
3 min March’s inswinger is claimed confidently by the backpedalling Alisson.
3 min Lamptey wins an early corner down the right. Brighton have made a fast start, trying to replicate the intensity that overwhlemed Liverpool in the league.
2 min Kaoru Mitoma has his first run at Alexander-Arnold, who defends well and concedes a throw-in.
1 min Peep peep! Naby Keita gets this mouthwatering game under way.
“Many of my Liverpool-supporting brethren on the WhatsApps (zero sistren obviously) are #FSGOUT primarily for a failure to invest in players like, say, Moises Caicedo,” says Niall Mullen. “But really, so far at least, it’s been money going to the wrong part of the team. Unless Klopp knew all along that Bajcetic would be the new Busquets then it’s the failure to refresh the creaking midfield rather than a failure to splash the cash that has really hurt the team.”
In his defence, he did try to sign Aurelien Tchouameni and he would clearly sacrifice his favourite baseball cap to buy Jude Bellingham. I suppose the debate is at what point you should compromise and take somebody from the B-list.
Maybe Klopp thought – and it wouldn’t have been unreasonable given their age, even if the signs have been there with Henderson – that he could get one more season out of the old midfield while integrating the younger players. But yes, the alarm bells were ringing when they being outrun by allcomers at the start of the season.
Roberto De Zerbi on Moises Caicedo (and other matters)
“The fear your preamble instilled in me,” says Ian Copestake, “could equally have been evoked in two words: Steve Foster.”
And here he is, using his headband to great effect in the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday 40 years ago.
The pre-match thoughts of Harvey Elliott
Brighton’s famous win at Anfield in 1983 wasn’t the only time they took care of England’s best team in the FA Cup.
Roberto De Zerbi had to choose between Evan Ferguson and Danny Welbeck up front. In fact he’s picked both, which might mean a slight change of system.
In all Brighton have made four changes from the 2-2 draw at Leicester last weekend. Jason Steele, Tariq Lamptey, Adam Webster and Ferguson replace Robert Sanchez, Jan Paul van Hecke, Adam Lallana and Moises Caicedo, who is Absent With Official Leave.
Jurgen Klopp has made one change from the bloodless 0-0 draw with Chelsea eight days ago. Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces James Milner at right-back.
Brighton (possible 4-2-4) Steele; Lamptey, Webster, Dunk, Estupinan; Gross, Mac Allister; March, Welbeck, Ferguson, Mitoma.
Substitutes: Sanchez, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour, Van Hecke, Veltman, Moran, Hinshelwood.
Liverpool (possible 4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Gomez, Robertson; Keita, Bajcetic, Thiago; Salah, Gakpo, Elliott.
Substitutes: Kelleher, Fabinho, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Tsimikas, Nunez, Matip.
There are so many reasons to love Brighton: the Bella Union record shop, a general vibe of tolerance and inclusivity, the steak bulgogi. And then there’s the football club. Pound for pound, Brighton might be the best and most exciting team in England right now.
The side that walloped Liverpool a fortnight ago cost just £31m, which is about half of what they’ve been offered for Moises Caicedo alone, and since Christmas they have scored 19 goals in six games. It would be an insult to Graham Potter to say that Brighton have gone to the next level under Roberto De Zerbi – but they have gone to a different, more invigorating one.
Last season Potter took Brighton to their highest-ever top-flight finish of ninth. Brighton could yet top that – they are currently sixth – but what De Zerbi would really love to do is win their first major trophy. They have only reached one FA Cup final, a story we all know well – forty years later, Smith still must score.
On the way to the final in 1982-83, Brighton took out the champions Liverpool in the fifth round, when Jimmy Case scored a spectacular winner against his old club and Phil Neal missed a penalty before retreating instantly to his station like an obedient Labrador.
Liverpool will return to the Amex Stadium with maybe one part trepidation, three parts determination. Jurgen Klopp called their performance the worst of any team throughout his managerial career. They don’t necessarily have a score to settle, but they certainly have a wrong to right.
Kick off 1.30pm