Liverpool vs Brighton – Match preview and prediction

With one eye on next weekend’s Carling Cup final with Cardiff City, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is set to shuffle the pack for the visit of Brighton to Anfield on Sunday. This FA Cup tie will not be easy for Liverpool and Seagulls boss Gus Poyet is looking for a famous scalp in a competition he fared well in whilst playing for Chelsea.

Poyet won the FA Cup with the Blues back in 2000 and has enjoyed his time down on the South Coast in the competition this season, knocking out Newcastle in the previous round. The solitary goal in that game was created by striker Will Buckley, whose shot cannoned off Mike Williamson to give Brighton the win. Buckley missed the midweek game against Millwall, but is fit having shaken off his injury worry. Poyet has dipped into the loan market earlier this week and brought in Manchester City youngsters Gai Assulin and Abdul Razak, who could both make their debuts at Anfield. Brighton are unbeaten in 2012, winning six and drawing four of their games so far, and are full of confidence heading into Sunday’s fixture.

Liverpool last won a trophy in 2006, which was the FA Cup, and Dalglish’s side only have this competition and the Carling Cup as potential trophy hauls this season. The Reds have been great in the cup so far this season and defeated old rivals Manchester United in the last round thanks to a late Dirk Kuyt goal. Dalglish has the welcome boost of returning midfielder Maxi Rodriguez after the Argentinian international recovered from his foot problem. Young defenders Jack Robinson and Jon Flanagan could feature in the squad along with experienced defender Jamie Carragher. The Liverpool veteran has been limited in appearances this season, but if he plays on Sunday, the 33 year old equals club legend Ian Callaghan with 210 cup appearances for the Reds.

Dalglish’s men did not have to contend with European action this week and have a fresh squad ready to book their place in the quarter-finals. Brighton are in good form, but the Reds have already beaten Poyet’s side in the Carling Cup this season and should do the same at Anfield. Reds striker Luis Suarez will meet the Brighton boss who protested his innocence over his ban for racial abuse, but Suarez will be in no mood for congratulations and could be a good choice to score the opening goal for Liverpool.

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