Liverpool are back in action on Saturday for what feels like their first game in a decade. The Reds who host Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday (2pm GMT), saw two league fixtures postponed before the international break.

It has allowed for a moment of reflection for the manager as well as valuable time for injured players to step up their return to fitness. Jürgen Klopp looked dazed and confused after the thrashing in Naples, with talk of reinvention dominating the post-match press conference.

Since then, there’s been a morale boosting victory over Ajax, with the performance level going up several notches (even if there’s still room for improvement). This elongated break would have aided the gaffer reflect on the season so far and forge the way forward.

Also, the likes of Ramsay, Konaté and Henderson stepped up their recovery from injury and are closing in on a return to action. Deadline Day loan signing Arthur Melo also sacrificed his break to undergo an intense training regime.

The Brazilian was left out of Juventus’ pre-season tour so took advantage of the break to get up to speed, even featuring twice for the U21s in a bid to regain full sharpness and rhythm. The contingent that departed for internationals all returned without injury as well.

Some got needed minutes under their belt with their respective countries. Jota for example continued his comeback from injury with two outings for Portugal, netting against Czech Republic. Van Dijk and Salah also got among the goals over the break.

The player who probably benefited most from the internationals was record signing Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has seen a bright start to his Liverpool career slowed down by a daft sending off on his full debut. It’s been stop-start since.

He started consecutive games for La Celeste in the past week (a feat he’s yet to manage for the Reds) and found the back of the net against Canada with a powerful header from ex-Red Luis Suarez’s cross. A confidence boost for the big man is no bad thing.

The Reds will have to be at their best to turn over a Brighton side that have been impressive this campaign. The Seagulls have lost Graham Potter to Chelsea though so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without the English tactician.

Roberto De Zerbi has big shoes to fill. The 43 year old has the daunting task a trip to Anfield as his first game in charge of Brighton. He might not want to change things up too soon, with the Seagulls flying high in 4th.

They have already chalked up wins at Manchester United and West Ham this season, with their 5-2 trashing of Leicester City last time out equally eye-catching. They’ve suffered just the one defeat this season, that coming in a narrow 2-1 reverse at Craven Cottage.

Potter did a truly terrific job with the Seagulls, finishing in ninth place last season. He deserves his chance at a top six club, and Brighton will have to find their way without him. In the corresponding fixture last season, the Seagulls came back from two goals down to leave Anfield with a share of the spoils.

Games straight after an international break are usually hard to call, with players still readjusting to the demands after playing in varying teams with varying systems and formations for their respective nations.

The Reds have an astonishing nine fixtures in October and it is imperative they shake off any hangover from the campaign so far and kick the month off with a victory. They have already fallen nine points off the pace and can’t afford any more slip ups.

Jürgen Klopp had an impeccable record against Brighton until recently. The German tasted victory in each of the first six against the Seagulls. In the last four meetings however, the Reds have only managed a solitary win, succumbing to one defeat and two stalemates.

Each of the last four at home to Brighton have been tight affairs (2-2, 0-1, 2-1 and 1-0). It is sure to be another closely contested affair at Anfield tomorrow, one the hosts will be looking to edge.

Team News

Kelleher, Ramsay and Konaté have all returned to light training ahead of this clash but it’s unlikely they will be involved straightaway. Skipper Jordan Henderson marked his return from a hamstring injury with a late cameo against Germany and should be in contention for a start.

As should Arthur Melo, with the Brazilian not featuring since a late cameo in Naples. Robertson (knee), Jones (leg), Keita (muscle) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) all remain out.

For Brighton, Jakub Moder (ACL) is a long term absentee. Enoch Mwepu (illness) and former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana (calf) are both doubtful.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s