Liverpool v Brighton 16:30 Sun
Having already met in the Carling Cup earlier this season, Brighton, who are odds against with William Hill, will travel to Anfield this weekend with recent experience of playing against Liverpool as manager Gus Poyet will look to take advantage of stuttering Liverpool hoem form in the FA Cup.
The Merseysiders have had a tough month of fixtures so far and will look forward to facing Championship opposition as a chance to get back to winning ways.
Kenny Dalglish’s side are currently on a two-game losing streak after failing to topple Tottenham and Manchester United and advancing into the sixth round of the FA Cup would certainly provide a welcome boost to club morale.
After experiencing a fine start to their Championship season, Brighton wen through somewhat of a mid-season lull but appear to be finding form once again.
The Seagulls are unbeaten in nine outings across all competitions and could extend that record to ten with a weekend win over the home favourites.
Gus Poyet’s team can go into this encounter with the mentality that they have nothing to lose from fielding a strong outfit and while Liverpool won’t underestimate their Championship rivals, the Reds could put out a weakened side on Saturday, with a top four finish understandably of major importance.
When the two sides clashed in September, Liverpool just about edged out Brighton with a 2-1 victory and a similar result would go a long way.
With a derby fixture against bitter rivals Everton just around the corner, Liverpool may choose to preserve their squad and save some of their bigger stars this weekend.
The Merseyside outfit haven’t got any major injuries to worry about at the moment and one man who could feature is recent comeback, Luis Suarez, who will go up against Uruguayan compatriot, Gus Poyet, who supported the striker throughout his racist allegation crisis last month.
Kenny Daglish may make the decision to include the Uruguayan, who is looking to come back to full fitness after his eight game ban and a tie against Brighton may be just the tonic, while fringe players such as Jamie Carragher and Maxi Rodriguez should get a starting birth.
Regardless, the pair will hold nothing back on Saturday as both top-half teams hope to progress on FA Cup weekend.
Gus Poyet will welcome back the inspiration of Matt Sparrow in midfield, who returns after suspension, while Craig Mackail-Smith, Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes are all looking to lead the line at Anfield, in what could become a very attacking formation.