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Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool (FA Cup 4th Round) - 13:30, Sun 29th January

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Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool

13:30, Sunday 29th January
Falmer Stadium, Brighton
FA Cup Fourth Round
Referee: David Coote

FA Cup holders Liverpool make a swift return to the south coast this weekend, with one-time runners-up Brighton & Hove Albion their hosts. The Seagulls – now managed by Italian Roberto De Zerbi – cruised into this fourth round tie courtesy of a 5-1 win away to Championship Middlesbrough, whilst Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool arrive having beaten Wolves (away, 1-0) at the second time of asking (following a somewhat controversial 2-2 draw at Anfield). The sides are separated by three league positions and just 2 points, but there are contrasting moods around the clubs – Brighton occupy 6th and might just be working on the best season in their history, whilst Liverpool languish in 9th and have endured a torrid first half of the season.

It is of course only a fortnight since Brighton & Hove Albion last hosted Liverpool, with the recent Premier League fixture stirring extremely contrasting emotions for supporters of both sides. The injury-hit Reds put in an entirely lacklustre first-half performance, before a Solly March brace early in the second-half handed control to the Seagulls. The hosts’ victory was sealed with ten minutes to spare: Danny Welbeck’s touch & finish were utter class, but the goal game from a throw-in and the visitors’ hapless defending currently stands as one of the most representative moments of their dismal season to date. Liverpool supporters will hope that the 3-0 defeat proves to be the nadir of their season – perhaps even being their lowest point in seven season; Brighton, on the other hand – gilded by the return of World Cup-winner Alexis Mac Allister – could claim to have given their supporters their best moment of the club’s current six-year top-flight stay to date.

The sides last met in the FA Cup in a fifth round tie at Anfield ten years ago, with Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool hosting Guy Poyet’s Brighton. The Reds progressed to the next round following a 6-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Martin Skrtel, Andy Carroll, and Luis Suarez, alongside a trio of own goals. Lewis Dunk is a notable name on that 2012 team-sheet – Dunk was his side’s captain for the 3-0 win two weeks ago, and can be extremely proud of the long & successful career he’s enjoyed with his hometown club. The 2012 meeting was a seventh between the sides in the competition, with Brighton claiming a couple of victories in 1983 and ’84 (and Jimmy Case scoring an Anfield winner for the Seagulls in the first of those wins!). Liverpool of course added an 8th FA Cup to their trophy cabinet last season, whilst 1983 finalists (losing their Wembley replay 4-0 to Manchester United) Brighton were eliminated 3-1 away to Spurs in the fourth round.

Following their relegation from their previous stint in the top-flight in 1983, Brighton & Hove Albion spent quarter of a century yo-yo-ing between the second and third tiers. Their stability & progression since then seems to have coincided with the arrival of current owner, Tony Bloom, in 2009. Promotion to the Championship was secured in 2011 and – but for a very 2014-15 – the Seagulls were usually in & around the Playoff positions during their six year stay. Chris Hughton was the manager who took the helm during that challenging season, and he went on to secure automatic promotion in 2017. Hughton would keep Brighton in the Premier League through his next two seasons in charge, but survival in 2019 was hard-fought and the board opted for change.

Graham Potter was the manager identified to succeed Hughton and lead the Seagulls into a new era as an established top-flight club. A former Football League left-back, Potter had developed a strong reputation whilst guiding Swedish side Östersund from the fourth-tier to the top-flight and Europa League football over a seven year stay, before steadying a relegated Swansea in 2018-19. The Seagulls were unspectacular through Potter’s first two seasons, and he worked to adapt the team to his style, but his reputation surged once again last season, with Brighton finishing a best-ever 9th place. The good times looked set to continue this season, with Brighton sitting 4th in mid-September after winning four of their opening six matches. Unfortunately for supporters of the Seagulls, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea had started the season poorly – Tuchel was dismissed and Potter was a wanted man. Despite Brighton sitting as pretty as they ever had, there were suddenly question marks over their project once again.

Enter Roberto De Zerbi, a former Italian attacking-midfielder of many clubs. De Zerbi spent three season in charge at Serie A Sassuolo between 2018 and 2021, helping I Neroverdi really entrench themselves in the top flight following their 2013 promotion. De Zerbi moved on to Shakhtar Donetsk for 2021-22, and his side sat top of the league with a slight advantage over Dynamo Kyiv when the season was abandoned following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It may have seemed that supporters’ concerns at the managerial change were justified during the first month or so of De Zerbi’s tenure, as Brighton took just 2 points from five matches, but things have been pretty good for three months now – the Seagulls have won five of eight games and currently sit 6th, with games in hand over those round them.

Brighton were eye-catching from the flanks in the recent league encounter, with Solly March netting a brace and Kaoru Mitoma causing all sorts of problems down Liverpool’s right. Jurgen Klopp has deployed a new midfield trio of Thiago, Naby Keita, and Stefan Bajcetic in the last two games, but will be mindful of the threat of Mitoma – in particular – when selecting his XI for Sunday. Roberto De Zerbi, too, will have more to think about: Darwin Nunez is likely to make a first start in four weeks on Sunday and is never far from the heart of the action. Brighton have some favourable league fixtures coming up, and progression in the FA Cup could really see them push on with the season with a spring in their step. Even with the replay against Wolves, Liverpool’s recent schedule has been relatively light – supporters would dearly love to see evidence of some rhythm having been established on the training ground during Sunday’s match: a far better showing than a fortnight ago is much needed.

this will be interesting - Chaos is available.

A Red Abroad:
Jürgen's 'post-embargo' presser...

A Red Abroad:

--- Quote from: jackh on January 27, 2023, 11:39:22 pm ---Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool

Referee: David Coote

--- End quote ---

Nunez is available and the league game car crash midfield can be altered . Perhaps 1-0 instead of 3-0 but it will take a big performance to come away with anything . They have had our number a lot recently even when we were good, with us only winning 1 of the last 6. Their defence is average which gives me hope


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