Brighton would settle for 14th place at the end of the season, but sitting in the bottom half of the table is unsatisfactory for Everton and manager Ronald Koeman is under serious pressure, with results in the Europa League poor too.
Merson is tipping Brighton for a 2-1 victory, and had harsh words for Koeman's Everton.
He said: "I am not sure Everton players know what they are doing. I just think Ronald Koeman has to let the reins go and tell them to go out and play and express themselves.
"It looks nervy and nobody looks like they want to take a chance. They are struggling and don't look like they are together.
"Koeman is under massive pressure. I think Brighton will win this one."
Everton were stunned in their last match by Burnley at Goodison Park, and have had to dwell on that for the last fortnight.
The international break may have done Everton good, but their main problem is a lack of a natural goalscorer, having blundered in the transfer window by overlooking it.
A loss against Brighton on top of their recent poor record would be disastrous for a side which came into the season fancying their chances of challenging for a Champions League place.