Liverpool start 'make or break' run at Brighton
Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits the club face a run of games which will "make or break" their season ahead of a Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
The Reds are in fifth spot, a huge 14 points behind table-topping Manchester City, but they are in striking distance of Manchester United Chelsea and Arsenal immediately above them.
Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Stoke City on Wednesday meant Jurgen Klopp's side have lost just one of their last 10 league games, winning five and drawing four.
The Merseysiders also face a crunch clash against Spartak Moscow next week as they look to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
"It's going to be a make or break period in terms of challenging," Gomez said. "What we want to try to do is capitalise on the points available and hopefully we can keep on a decent run and get as many as we can.
"That momentum and confidence can carry you through and it just means more points are up for grabs."
Klopp named Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah on the bench for the midweek win over Stoke before he introduced him just after the hour.
Despite limited time on the pitch, the Egypt international continued his impressive form with two goals against the Potters as he took his tally to 12 in the Premier League for the season.
- 'Amazing Salah' -
Gomez believes the fact Klopp could rest Salah shows the strength of Liverpool's squad this season.
"Mo's in amazing form and the goals he brings to the team are massive for us," the England international added. "Not just him, our attacking force is so strong and we still had him to bring on.
"It shows the depth of this squad. Especially in this period now, it's going to be gruelling so we all have to be ready to do our bit."
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne is Liverpool's only long-term absentee for the trip to Brighton as he recovers from a back injury.
Reds midfielder Adam Lallana missed the game at Stoke with a minor muscular injury while centre-back Ragnar Klavan should return from illness.
Brighton followed the narrow defeat at Manchester United with a scoreless home draw with Crystal Palace, their fourth successive stalemate at the Amex Stadium.
Chris Hughton's side are fast-developing a reputation for being hard to break down, although their chances of building on a positive start appear to hinge on the efforts to find a consistent cutting edge.
Left-back Gaetan Bong should return after missing the Palace clash to strengthen a defence Hughton knows will be tested by Liverpool.
The Brighton manager said: "Everybody talks about Manchester City at the moment and rightly so... but certainly where Liverpool are at the moment, they are in Manchester City-form.
"If you look at all the offensive quality of Manchester City then you have to look at Liverpool as well. They are very, very dangerous opposition."
The atmosphere on Saturday is unlikely to be as charged as it was for Brighton's clash with bitter rivals Palace that was marked by a number of flares and fireworks let off in the visitors' end.
"Certainly as a team and a group of players, you have to concentrate very much on exactly what happens on the pitch, trying to get a result from the game," Hughton said. "But of course you are made aware of events.
"You could tell during the game there were some bangers going off with a little bit of smoke.
"They are the things which definitely don't affect you as a group of players, because your concentration is on the game, but you are very much aware they are happening."
© 2017 AFP