Hello. It’s the question every football fan has been asking for the last few months. Can Liverpool, after all this time, finally get their hands on it? One way or another, we’ll find out today. Yes, if Liverpool fail to beat Brighton, they will become the new owners of the Premier League Crisis Baton™.
Our not entirely mature culture dictates that, at all times, at least one Premier League club must be in crisis. At the moment Huddersfield hold the baton of doom, but if Liverpool fail to win today – on the back of a despicable run of two straight defeats in all competitions – they will be the ones under scrutiny. To hell with nuance; to hell with the fact they played well at Manchester City, that the Wolves defeat meant very little, and that a draw or defeat at a Brighton side who are very good at home would not exacty represent the second coming of Devon Loch.
Perception is often more important than reality in modern football, and that’s why Liverpool need to keep the external mood as calm as possible for as long as possible. The football media in this country has the capacity to produce a blizzard of horse pucky so powerful as to affect even the most resilient, focussed group of players. Liverpool will have enough authentic, internal pressure to cope with as they get closer to their first title since 1990.
All of which is to say that it’s pretty important they win an awkward game at Brighton today. At the moment Liverpool are four points ahead of Manchester City; in other words, they have two lives, because they can afford to a lose game and still be in control of their own destiny. They’ll want to keep that buffer for as long as possible, or better still increase it.
There’s every chance there will be a record points total for a runner-up this season, so draws will feel like defeats for Liverpool and City over the next few months.
That game at the Amex is one of five 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League. The rest all involves clubs from the Premier League Second Division, including two meaty tussles between teams fighting to avoid relegation: Burnley v Fulham at Turf Moor, and Cardiff v Huddersfield at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff.
These are the fixtures:
- Brighton v Liverpool
- Burnley v Fulham
- Cardiff v Huddersfield
- Crystal Palace v Watford
- Leicester v Southampton
There are some huge games in the Football League too, including West Brom v Norwich (Championship), Sunderland v Luton (League One) and Bury v Milton Keynes Dons (League Two). You can see a full list of all the other matches taking place today by clicking this thing here.