Watch Jurgen Klopp’s pre-match press conference – Brighton vs. Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Chris Hughton and Brighton as he previewed Liverpool’s next Premier League clash at the Amex on Saturday.

The Reds head to the south coast this weekend as they look to respond to their 2-1 defeat to title rivals Man City last time out in the league.

Klopp’s side still hold a strong, four-point lead at the top of the table, and are now entering a less intense run of games that includes meetings with Brighton (13th), Crystal Palace (14th), Leicester (seventh), West Ham (10th) and Bournemouth (12th).

But the manager is aware of the challenge ahead, using his pre-match press conference on Friday to highlight the Seagulls’ improvement and their threat to Liverpool.

“Chris is outstanding, unbelievable,” he said of his opposite number.

“I don’t exactly know when or where he started with Brighton, but is it right they were fighting to stay in the Championship? That says everything about their improvement.

“Now it’s really, apart from the top six places, just [one of the toughest places] for [teams] to go.

“The kind of defending they do, the style of play they have if they have the ball, makes them special.

“It’s really difficult in this Premier League to have that position they are in without massive money—they do it really smart.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Joel Matip warms-up during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp provided an update on the fitness of his squad, with Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson back in training but Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana still out.

“It’s not that serious. It’s a muscle thing obviously, and I would expect him back after Crystal Palace. I’m not sure, but we have to see,” he said on Lovren.

With Matip a doubt and both Lovren and Gomez out, Fabinho is expected to partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back on Saturday, and Klopp said “what we want is the natural understanding of the game, it’s still only football.”

The manager also confirmed Rafa Camacho would not be leaving the club on loan after links with Sporting CP, and offered his advice to those youngsters edging towards a first-team breakthrough.

Liverpool’s streamlined schedule without the FA Cup and League Cup was also on the agenda, but rightly Klopp insisted they can only consider this an advantage if they win their games.

That must start again this weekend in East Sussex, but with Brighton without defeat in four games it will be a tough task.

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