BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION VS. LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, October 1st |
Premier League | Anfield
3PM GMT/10AM EST
It’s difficult to properly preview Brighton, as the Reds get to be the first test for their new manager, Italian Roberto De Zerbi. The Seagulls have long been a smart and adaptable team under Graham Potter, and it’s unlikely that De Zerbi will have looked to change all the attributes he has inherited.
Brighton have had a largely positive start to the 2022/23 season: apart from a relatively surprising loss away to Fulham and a home draw to a frustrating Newcastle, they have managed relatively firm wins. Last time out (they also had two matches postponed) they put five goals past Leicester City; their most impressive result thus far is probably their 2-1 win at Old Trafford, which was both a fun game to watch — they tore United’s defense apart for their two goal — and an exhibition of strong mentality late, as United attempted a comeback.
Just as Liverpool likely needed the two-week break, Brighton will have been grateful for the time Di Zerbi has had to bed in after his arrival 10 days ago. Potter’s Brighton was always a very tricky challenge for the Reds, who will both hope to look more themselves againt Brighton on Saturday and perhaps to find Di Zerbi’s version to be less of a challenge. One positive: the international break means that the new manager has only had one full day with the full team together.
In terms of squad availability, Brighton will be without Enock Mwepu, with “everyone else available” for selection. Both Adam Lallana and Tariq Lamptey, however, have very recently returned to training, and will likely feature from the bench if they make it on the pitch Saturday.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
It’s been an absolute age since we’ve seen Liverpool play a match, and in a lot of ways it’s been a blessing: the season has not started in a very Klopp’s Liverpool sort of way. Often, it’s been hard to watch.
The hope here is that the extended time off has allowed both players to come into health and dusted off some of the poor form that’s haunted the team thus far. Prior to the first match, manager Jürgen Klopp said that, due to the fitness challenges caused by the World Cup and associated scheduling, he was aiming to get to full fitness/the end of “pre-season.” Fingers crossed that’s what’s happened.
In terms of injuries, Klopp quieted the panic over the absence of both Darwin Núñez and Diogo Jota from training: they were given time after a long flight back from international duty. Both are fit for Brighton, though at the time of the press conference Friday morning, Klopp had not personally seen them.
Andy Robertson, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keïta are unavailable through injury. As for Robertson’s status, he’s been “out running,” which is a good sign for his recovery. Calvin Ramsey is back in training after the new signing’s back injury, but is not yet ready to play with the first team. He will likely play for the U21s — like newer signing Arthur — as he gets up to speed.
Ibrahima Konaté, who was unfortunate to suffer an injury at the season start, is fully back in training. Presumably, Klopp will choose a centerback pairing based on tactical considerations and training quality rather than fitness — finally.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “Brighton did extremely well before and now they have a really exciting new manager. They have a really brave coach. He’s really influential, his football idea suits Brighton. We don’t know what to expect other than really good team.”
De Zerbi: “The game with Liverpool is very difficult for us, but I believe in my players. Liverpool is one of the best teams in the Premier League, in Europe, in the world, but I trust in my players to play a good game. And after we will look at the result.”
Referee: Andy Madley Assistants: Derek Eaton, Steve Meredith Fourth Official: Tony Harrington VAR: Simon Hooper Assistant VAR: Darren Cann
Kickoff is set for 3PM GMT/10AM EST tomorrow. Stick with The Liverpool Offside team to keep yourself up to date with team news and match buildup, live updates, and post-match reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.