BRIGHTON VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool travel to the Amex stadium tomorrow afternoon (3pm GMT kickoff), as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion. Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.
Jürgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Darwin Nunez is unlikely to be available having missed training all week owing to a hamstring complaint. That comes with the news that Roberto Firmino is still out and not even close to a return to training.
It’s a double whammy that leaves the gaffer without four forwards. Elsewhere, James Milner has resumed training and is set for a return to the matchday squad. With Van Dijk, Arthur, Jota and Diaz still out, the manager’s options are limited.
In goal, Alisson Becker will be aiming to put the Wolves clanger behind him quickly. The Brazilian has been the Reds’ best player in what has been a tough campaign thus far, and the last thing they need is for him to suffer a dip in form.
Ahead of him in defence, there’s an argument to be made for one change to the back four that started against Wolves last time out. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will line up in the fullback positions whilst Konaté might lose his place as Matip’s partner.
It’s been an underwhelming return to action for the Frenchman following his World Cup exploits. He was woeful against Brentford where he scored an own goal for the first goal and made an error for the third. He followed that performance with a shaky display against Wolves and was especially culpable for their second.
Gomez could come in for him as a result. The Englishman himself has endured a topsy turvy season. He’s had some brilliant performances and some not so brilliant displays. He’s already played 21 times this campaign and will be hoping to establish himself in Virgil’s absence.
The midfield has garnered a lot of unwanted attention this season so how the manager shapes them up tomorrow will be interesting to say the least. He bemoaned a lack of bite in the challenge against Wolves as Lopetegui’s men constantly cut through the Reds.
This could see Naby Keita handed his first start of the season. Fabinho was dreadful last time out and has been for most of this campaign, but with no real alternative, he will start again. Thiago will then complete the trio. He’s been the best of a bad bunch.
The skipper will likely be left out, but his energy from the bench second half could be needed to get a result over the line. The manager can of course change shape. The shortage of forwards could see him return to the 4-4-2 system we saw prior to the World Cup.
That is probably fanciful thinking however. The German has been loathe to deviate from his approach, even with the decline of his midfielders. It would thus be no surprise to see the 4-3-3 rolled out once more.
Up top, Salah will line up on the right as usual. In Darwin’s absence, new signing Cody Gakpo will see his versatility tested early doors. After playing on the left wing against Wolves, he will be expected to play through the middle tomorrow.
It is a position he has played before but he will be directly up against Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster. It is not the easiest introduction to the top flight and Gakpo will have to sink or swim. On the left wing, the manager will in all likelihood opt for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Klopp has preferred the 29 year old over Carvalho in that left wing position for some reason. With all due respect to the former Arsenal man, we shouldn’t be in a position in 2023 where he’s starting league games in attack. This underlines a lot of the frustration the fanbase have.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Thiago, Salah, Gakpo, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Subs: Kelleher, Konaté, Tsimikas, Milner, Henderson, Jones, Elliott, Carvalho, Doak.