Matcherna duggar tätt, under onsdagen tar Liverpool emot Brighton på Anfield. Graham Potters lag kommer från en meriterande seger mot Tottenham och har skaffat sig en lucka till övriga lag i bottenstriden. Fotbollsskribenten Jeremy Smith(@jeremysmith98) berättar här om hur den första halvan av säsongen varit för laget.
- We are halfway through the season, what are your thoughts on Brightons performances so far?
Our performances in general have been excellent. We’ve arguably only had one real horror show (against Leicester) and have been well in touch in pretty much every match we’ve played. We’ve been playing fantastic football at times – great passing moves from back to front. The problem is that we’ve let ourselves down with poor finishing and, until more recently, defensive lapses too. So it has been very frustrating as we feel like we haven’t got the points that our performances have deserved.
- Sky Sports recently published a table based on expected goals, Brighton were fifth in that table, with seventeen points more than today. What do you think need to change for you to score more goals?
That stat sums a lot of our issues up. I think sometimes we’re guilty of the old Arsenal cliche that we’re trying too hard to walk the ball into the net. There has been some bad luck too (eg hitting the woodwork five times vs Man Utd). But the basic issue is simply that our forward players are not clinical enough and it’s a bit of a vicious circle as the more they miss the more their confidence is affected, meaning that they’re probably more likely to be too tentative the next time too. Add to that the fact that a couple of strikers – Welbeck and Connolly – have also had injury problems. Basically a mixture of factors but the problem is that reliable goalscorers are rare and expensive. Hopefully a couple of our strikers will find a little form. If our defence can tighten up then we won’t need to score as many!!
- You are currently in the bottom four, how do you rate your chances of staying up?
I feel a lot better than I did a few days ago, after Fulham only drew with West Brom and then we beat Spurs! I still feel like there will be scary moments but I am hoping that our quality will eventually start showing – I am biased but I think we’re a lot better than those below us and even a few above us!
- You signed Adam Lallan from Liverpool before the season started, how has he performed so far?
The problem is that, as expected, he has also missed a lot of games through injury and, even when fit, is being carefully managed fitness-wise. But when he has played he has looked classy and been a very effective transition between midfield and attack, as well as being a vocal leader on the pitch. More importantly though, he is by all accounts a great influence off the pitch, helping what is a young squad with lots of advice.
- There are many rumours about Liverpool being interested in signing Ben White in the summer, how would you describe him as a player and do you think we will see him in a red shirt when next season starts?
He is a classy looking ball playing defender. Quick, reads the game well, great at bringing the ball out and a good passer too. There was a bit of adjustment to the higher level but he really seems to have settled now and is versatile too – arguably his best match for us was at Leeds as a defensive midfielder. There’s clearly lots of interest but I’d like to think that he’ll stay one more season before leaving. Everyone has their price though!
- What kind of game do you expect against Liverpool?
We have Burnley at the weekend which, in terms of the bottom of the table, is a bigger match, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Potter rotates a little in midfield and attack. But whichever team he puts out I think we’ll keep playing our passing game and will not be parking the bus. We’re not expected to get anything so hopefully the Spurs win can help us relax and we can somehow sneak a surprise result.