Liverpool were already a “top, top team” last season, according to Chris Hughton.
And now Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has splashed out £170million to improve them, Hughton is bracing himself for an even tougher task to try to send shockwaves through the Premier League for the second time in a week.
Brighton need no telling about the attacking threat Saturday’s hosts pose after suffering two of their biggest defeats last season against Klopp’s side.
And Seagulls chief Hughton reckons that Anfield “is one of the most difficult places to get a result” right now.
His daunting next assignment will not be any easier with influential defender Lewis Dunk set to miss out injured.
Albion are flying high though, after stunning Manchester United 3-2 at a rocking Amex last weekend.
Hughton said: “I hope that result has done a lot for our confidence and mentality because an away game at Liverpool, they almost don’t come any tougher than that. We will need to show a lot of the qualities we showed last week. I expect it to be faster and more intense than United.
“Liverpool play at a very high tempo and have a lot of pace in the team. You could call it a front six, a three in midfield with very good movement and I don’t have to tell anyone about their front three.
“They were very good last season, got to a Champions League Final, and had circumstances been different they might have even won it. And they have recruited well in the summer so are an improved squad.
“Everyone is speaking about Manchester City and how well they have started after winning the Premier League. But Liverpool were a top, top team and they have improved so you must take that in mind and we need to defend well.
“That will be the basis of what we have to do. But we have to make sure we are a threat. If you are defending for 90 minutes there will only be one outcome.”
Dunk suffered an ankle injury after 20 minutes against United, so Nigeria centre-half Leon Balogun – a free transfer signing from Mainz – is in line to deputise again at Anfield.
Hughton added: “I have no worries on that one. He is an experienced player. He won’t be fazed by it.”
It was difficult for Brighton against Liverpool last season, but Hughton insisted his side’s defeats – 5-1 at the Amex and 4-0 at Anfield on the last day – do not tell the full story.
Hughton, whose team were safe before the latter loss, said: “They had to win to guarantee Champions League football and turned up in full force.
“As managers, we have all been well beaten by fives or sixes. But it never felt that way, particularly the home one. I never felt the gap was that massive, which gives us a bit of comfort.”
* BRIGHTON striker Tomer Hemed has joined Championship strugglers QPR on a season-long loan.
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