Liverpool gear up for match against Brighton amid injury crisis
Sports Desk, Nov 27 (efe-epa).- Liverpool are looking to put their Champions League loss and injury woes to one side as they travel to Brighton in Premier League action.
Jürgen Klopp’s side lost to Italian side Atalanta by two goals to nil this week at home and can expect a tough match away to 16th-place Brighton and Hove Albion, where the squad will be reunited with one of their former colleagues in the shape of Adam Lallana.
“We will be ready for a lot of defensive work,” Klopp said in the pre-match press conference. “They make the pitch big and we have to be ready for it.”
The German manager said team captain Jordan Henderson had returned to training but that his line-up for tomorrow’s game was still unclear. Liverpool’s defense has been damaged by a raft of injuries, including center-back Virgil van Dijk and wing-back Trent Alexander Arnold.
The injuries in the first team have allowed several youngsters, such as Curtis Jones and Neco Williams, to step up to the plate.
Liverpool are currently second in the table, equal on points with first-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who are ahead on goal difference. Saturday’s game against Brighton will also be goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s 100th in a Liverpool shirt.
Klopp has more choice upfront, however, with Diogo Jota slotting in as an alternative option to Roberto Firmino alongside Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.
Manchester City kick-off after Liverpool’s Saturday opener with a home clash with struggling Burnley.
Pep Guardiola’s side hasn’t exactly been racking up goals so far this year and draws with Leeds, Liverpool and West Ham and a recent loss to Spurs leaves them 13th in the league.
Fans are eagerly awaiting the return of injured Sergio Aguero, who is still not quite at his best, Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference.
“He’s still not in his best condition. We cannot forget how long his injury was. He needs to be so sharp to score goals in the box,” he said. “But he needs time. And after, he has seven months ahead to show what he can do.”
Kevin de Bruyne is to return against Burnley following after a mid-week rest, however.
“One day we will score the goals, put on the table what we deserve. It’s time to put more players in the box, be positive and it will happen. We need to continue the good feelings and tomorrow try to score goals,” Guardiola continued.
Aguero will have been deeply affected by the death of Diego Maradona’s on Wednesday as the football star, widely regarded as one of the best of all time, was the grandfather of his son, Benjamin.
Saturday’s action will then move to Merseyside with Carlo Ancelloti’s Everton braced to host Marcelo Bielsa’s recently promoted Leeds United.
As is custom, Bielsa heaped praise on his rival manager.
“First of all, he’s been wanted by all the best teams in the world. He has been chosen by some of the most powerful institutions in football which shows how good he is,” he said.
“The second thing is that he has triumphed everywhere he has been and the third thing is that he is a manager who is well respected by the players as well as his other colleagues.”
The Argentine also paid tribute to fellow countryman Maradona.
“We have lost an idol and that makes us feel weak. Everything he did as a footballer was of beauty which cannot be matched,” he said.