It’s been the better part of a month since the reds played a Premier League game, and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that this break can help kick start their stuttering campaign. Brighton travel to Anfield under the stewardship of a new manager, Roberto De Zerbi, and he will be looking for a positive start himself.
With Brighton sitting in 4th position in the league, they have enjoyed a tremendous start to the season. The methods and game-plan of Graham Potter has seen them excel, yet the sudden departure of their now former manager (to Chelsea), will have surely had some kind of effect on the squad.
On the Brighton availability front, Jakub Moder is still sidelined with a long term injury. Tariq Lamptey should be fit enough to make the bench alongside former red, Adam Lallana, whilst Enock Mwepu is unavailable due to illness. The line up will see one enforced change from their last outing (the emphatic 5-2 win at home to Leicester), and the new manger may be reluctant to change too many areas of a successful team. The fact Brightons last game was September 4th could be a concern, however the side should still hold enough confidence to hunt a positive result.
Robert Sanchez will continue in goal, and the back three of Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster will surely remain. Roberto De Zerbi has a history of playing a back four, but that will probably be integrated later on through the season. In midfield, Alexis Mac Allister, Moisés Caicedo and Pascal Groß will start in the middle, with Leandro Trossard & Solly March the likely wide men. With Danny Wellbeck the starting striker, presumably Deniz Undav will start for the injured Mwepu.
For the home side, Jurgen Klopp has slowly seen some players return to injury. Their own last outing was their Champions League win against Ajax (winning 2-1 on September 13th), so they will be slightly less rusty than their opponents. Their own casualty list still sees Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Andy Robertson & Caoimhin Kelleher ruled out, though Curtis Jones, Calvin Ramsey and Ibrahima Konate all returned to training this week. None of these returning pieces will be starters, but Klopp is still starting to see his group more intact once again.
Alisson Becker will start in goal, with Trent Alexander Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas at full back. Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk will resume at center back, with Joe Gomez starting on the bench. The midfield will see Fabinho and Thiago reunite in the league once more, with Harvey Elliott the attacking part of that trio. Jordan Henderson is just back from injury, so will likely be held back until Rangers in midweek.
The front line offers the most questions, with Mohamed Salah the only definite starter. All the remaining forwards have been on their respective international travels, but Roberto Firmino seems the more likely middle man, with either Diogo Jota or Luis Diaz on the left. Darwin Nunez will start on the bench, with his gradual integration on going.
The reds will be looking to make a statement this week (in both the League & Champions League), and with more midfield control, they’ll feel confident about winning all three points. Brighton may be a little ring rusty, and could still be sore about losing their brilliant young manager, Graham Potter. The new coach is a very talented manager, yet it’s an unknown as to how long it will take for him to bed in.
Trent Alexander Arnold will surely be chomping at the bit to prove a point, and indeed many Liverpool players will be looking to make a strong impact. The home sides variation in control and play should see them win this, but it could be a right affair. Brighton have the truly outstanding Moisés Caicedo to rely upon, and his midfield battle will make for scintillating watch.
Player to watch – Trent Alexander Arnold
Liverpool 2 – 1 Brighton