Klopp: Liverpool win “not an opera… but really nice song”

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Leave it to Jurgen Klopp, the master of heavy metal football, to describe Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat of Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday in musical terms.

“I liked the performance,” he said. “It wasn’t an opera of football but it was a really nice song.”

Call it “Clampdown,” as the Reds held Brighton without a goal at home for the first time since March.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton limited Liverpool’s chances on the day, falling victim to the referee’s whistle when Pascal Gross was mismatched on Mohamed Salah and dragged his fellow forward down in the box.

Salah finished his chance, and Liverpool increased its table lead before Man City plays Wolves on Monday.

“It was clear that we had the ball a lot but it is really difficult,” Klopp said. “Chris Hughton is a smart fox. They close the space perfectly. It is really difficult to stay 100% for the whole game. It is a challenge but this is a proper football game which we won and I like that.”

And, as Liverpool chases its first top-flight title in the Premier League era, Klopp was again asked about his team’s long-term focus.

“We have to win each game. That is how it is. We are Liverpool and we have to win football games. That’s nothing new. You don’t want to draw games here but you have to work in each step of the game. Try to create and if you find a way then use it.”

Liverpool is at home for its next two matches, Jan . 19 versus Crystal Palace and 11 days later against Leicester City.

Premier League preview: Brighton v. Liverpool

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  • LFC is unbeaten in 3 PL games vs. Brighton, winning a combined 10-1
  • Liverpool has not lost back-to-back PL games since 2015
  • Brighton has scored in its last 13 PL home games

Brighton puts its stellar home record on alert as the Seagulls host Premier League leaders Liverpool at Falmer Stadium on Saturday, with kickoff at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The hosts have been fantastic in Premier League play in front of the home fans, with just six losses in its 29 Premier League matches at home over its two-year top flight history. However, five of those six losses have come against the Big Six clubs. They will be without defender Bernardo, who injured his hamstring in early January against West Ham. Also missing is struggling summer signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh who has been out since early November with a hamstring tear.

The Reds, meanwhile, are looking to turn around its first losing streak of the season, with a league loss to Manchester City plus an early FA Cup exit at the hands of Wolves last time out. Virgil Van Dijk is back in contention after missing the FA Cup defeat midweek, but his central defensive partner is still a mystery. Dejan Lovren is out with a hamstring injury of his own, while Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are long-term absentees, so Fabinho could deputize along the back line again. Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, is a game-time decision after a calf problem popped up.

After Liverpool’s riveting loss to Manchester City in league play last time out, the Reds will be looking to turn things around and regain the upper hand in the title race. For Brighton, they sit in 13th place with 26 points, eight above 15th placed Newcastle.

What they’re saying

Brighton manager Chris Hughton on Jurgen Klopp‘I think he’s been outstanding for the game here. When you see how their team work without the ball to get it back and the quality they show, it’s orchestrated by the manager and the demands of the manager. This season shows what a great job that he has done. They are better prepared than any other team with the quality they have got. It is all led by Jurgen Klopp and they are a great team to watch.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on early Cup exits: “I would love to still be in these competitions, but we are not in them. We have to make the best of the time now. I know Pep [Guardiola] said he would prefer to be in four competitions. I would prefer the same. We have to make the best of the time and get as many points as possible.”

Video preview

Prediction

Defensive injuries, a tough road destination, and a losing streak. There’s plenty going against the Reds in this Premier League away match, but Jurgen Klopp won’t let them lose three in a row. It’s possible this ends in a disappointing draw, but Liverpool guts out a tough 2-1 victory.

WATCH: Andone’s remarkable solo goal cooks rivals Palace

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It wouldn’t surprise us if Florin Andone was still running around the Amex Stadium after his industrious goal in the M23 Derby.

“Andone’s third was special,” said Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton. “It showed real desire.”

[ RECAP: Brighton 3-1 Palace ]

No kidding. Brighton’s 25-year-old Romanian scored for the second-straight match, and his goal was a fantastic feat.

Having bagged a goal against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, Andone chased down a ball few men would’ve kept after on Tuesday.

Andone cooked James Tomkins for pace, then cut back to lose him before using Mamadou Sakho as a screen to shoot past Wayne Hennessey from an acute angle.

It’s exhausting just to watch.

Glenn Murray signs one-year contract extension at Brighton

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Raheem Sterling. Callum Wilson. Mohamed Salah. Harry Kane. Anthony Martial. Richarlison. Sadio Mane. Glenn Murray.

All of these players have six Premier League goals this season. One of these is not like the others.

Glenn Murray – at least nine years older than everyone else on that list – has signed a one-year contract extension at Brighton & Hove Albion, keeping him at the club through the summer of 2020.

The 35-year-old has been absolutely critical to Brighton’s season as the Seagulls sit 12th in the Premier League table. Murray’s six goals have ALL secured points for the club. He has the opening goal in a 3-2 victory over Manchester United, both goals in a 2-2 comeback draw with Fulham, a 90th minute equalizing goal in a 2-2 draw with Southampton, the only goal of a 1-0 win over West Ham, and the only goal in a 1-0 win over Wolves. In the seven games Murray has not scored, Brighton has lost six and won one, scoring four total goals over the seven matches.

“It means a lot that the club has shown another year’s faith in me,” Murray told the official club release. “I just want to carry on in the form I’m in at the minute and continue scoring goals at this level for Brighton. I don’t think at any stage of my career I’d have believed I would be getting another contract in the Premier League at this age, but you just never know what can happen in football.”

Murray originally joined Brighton in 2008 and stayed for three seasons before departing for Crystal Palace on a free transfer three years later. He then rejoined Brighton in the summer of 2016, first on loan from Bournemouth before completing a permanent transfer a year later. He has 231 total appearances for the Seagulls over his career, and his winner against Wolves in late October was his 100th goal for the club.

“Glenn has scored consistently for us, first in helping us win promotion, and now in the Premier League as we seek to establish ourselves at the top level,” said manager Chris Hughton. “He’s proved himself at the very top late in his career, and his professionalism and approach on and off the pitch is a big factor in why he’s still doing it now. After recently reaching the 100-goal mark for the club, I know Glenn will be hungry to add more goals to that tally, and I am pleased he’s extended his time with the club.”

PL Preview: Manchester City vs. Brighton

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  • Manchester City has never lost to Brighton at home
  • Brighton has not kept a clean sheet this season
  • Manchester City has dropped four points in its last 12 matches

Defending champions Manchester City don’t currently own the top spot in the Premier League standings, but Pep Guardiola just needs one slip, one stumble, one opening by Liverpool to take control. In order to do so, City needs to take care of business.

The next bit of business is a home date with Brighton & Hove Albion Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion ]

Manchester City has rattled off three straight wins by a combined 10-1 score since drawing with Wolves back in late August. Guardiola is still missing Kevin De Bruyne, but the Belgian will return to training soon and is expected to return to the lineup in the near future. Benjamin Mendy, Eliaquim Mangala and Claudio Bravo are all still missing, but otherwise Manchester City is at full strength.

Meanwhile, Brighton sits in the crowded bottom half of the standings and has just one win on the season, earning just two points over its last four matches. The Seagulls are missing playmaker Pascal Gross who suffered an ankle injury against Fulham, plus Dale Stephens who came off midway through Saturday’s loss to Tottenham with a hamstring injury.

Each of Brighton’s last five matches have been either draws or decided by one goal. Before this past weekend’s 2-1 loss, Brighton had staged a pair of late, two-goal comebacks.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Brighton: “It’s a really good side, a good manager and they were together for a long time. They know exactly what they have to do. They are really well organized. It will be a really tough game, but we know that and we will try to do a good game.”

Brighton manager Chris Hughton on playing Manchester City: “Along with playing Liverpool away, I would say that this is the toughest game. We did okay in the Liverpool one and might’ve got a result there, so you always have to be positive going into games like this. No-one expects us to get anything from it, so that’s normal and that pressure is taken off, but we want to do as well as we can.”

Prediction

Brighton has put in a few very good performances and look a formidable opponent for anybody in the Premier League, but their defensive frailties have cost them numerous points over the last few games, and that will prove deadly against Manchester City. A few mistakes will turn into a multi-goal deficit, and this isn’t a team you can exploit late in games for a messy comeback. Pep Guardiola will earn a comfortable 2-0 victory.