Despite the possibility of a giant-killing for Brighton, it is probably Liverpool who have placed the most importance on this fixture. With the Reds completely out of the title race and seeing the European positions slip through their fingers, Kenny Dalglish knows that the FA Cup is his best chance of success for the Anfield outfit this term. Brighton on the other hand are closing in on the Championship playoffs and Gus Poyet may not want the Seagulls to suffer any other distractions as the season finale approaches.
Despite a promising start, it would be fair to say that Liverpool supporters cannot wait for this campaign to end. Their team has been at the centre of controversy, while they have made a gradual slide down the league since the opening weeks of the season. At the time of writing, the Reds sit in 7th position meaning that they are in grave danger of losing out on a European place. For this reason, the FA Cup could be their get-out clause although they know better than anyone that Brighton will be difficult opponents with the Seagulls possessing an unbeaten record in the competition at Anfield. However, with the Reds yet to lose a game at home this term, this could be quite a different prospect for their opponents.
Brighton on the other hand do have something to play for in their division, with Gus Poyet’s side just two points away from the top six positions. Such a placing comes following some good form over recent times, with the Amex Stadium side putting a ten game unbeaten run together over the last few weeks. Perhaps the most impressive result from that batch of games was in the previous round of the FA Cup, with the Seagulls recording a 1-0 victory over Newcastle following an own goal from Magpies defender Mike Williamson.
As for team news, Liverpool are tipped to hand starts to several of their younger players for this clash. Elsewhere, Maxi Rodriguez will return to the reckoning after successfully recovering from a foot problem. Brighton on the other hand could be set to hand out two debuts, after Gai Assulin and Abdul Razak both joined the Seagulls on loan from Manchester City earlier in the week. Elsewhere, Will Buckley could also feature, having missed the club’s last match against Millwall.
In terms of a prediction, our tip is going to be for a home victory. Liverpool haven’t fared very well in the FA Cup in recent years, especially against Championship opposition. However, the Reds have been a dominant force at home this term and even though Brighton are performing well in the league, we don’t think they’ll have what it takes to overcome the Premier League outfit.