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Packed Anfield & Lallana – 5 key things from Klopp’s pre-Brighton press conference

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Jurgen Klopp was eager to insist his side have a lot to improve despite their 23-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which he knows is under threat from Brighton.

Here are five key points from the manager’s press conference at Kirkby:

 

1. 1 midfielder back, 2 unlikely

Klopp will have the option of selecting Naby Keita at Anfield on Saturday with the No. 8 “lucky” to have escaped serious injury and so the manager thinks “he will be ready.”

And while Thiago returned to team training on Thursday, “it doesn’t mean he is ready to play a football game” and a place on the bench, if anything, is all Reds can expect.

But it’s Fabinho‘s knock to the knee that remains a concern with Klopp having said “it doesn’t look that good, a bit more complicated” and one that will in all likelihood keep him out once more having failed to train.

 

2. Liverpool will need all 5 centre-backs

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 27, 2021: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Joe Gomez during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip have been the go-to pairing so far this season with Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips rotating in and out of the side.

For Gomez, in particular, Klopp knows the quality he adds to the side but acknowledges that he has “only top-class” options in the position now but his moment and that of his fellow centre-backs will come.

“The boys get along really well with each other, all five of them. That’s really nice to see so they respect each other a lot. And we will need them and we will need Joe and Joe’s qualities are incredible. We all know that.

“But it’s just we have now top-class players, only top-class players in a position and that makes it a bit harder when you are not in the lineup in the moment.”

 

3. Klopp wants the “right understanding” at Anfield

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 3, 2021: Brighton & Hove Albion's Steven Alzate celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton were one of the teams to catch Liverpool at their lowest last season at Anfield and not that Klopp needed the reminder, but he knows they will post a challenge again.

And while some may expect total domination, Klopp wants Anfield to understand that the visitors will have their moment and at times Liverpool will need to defend and be patient.

“Anfield will be packed and that helps us usually, but not alone. We have be really good and we need people with the right understanding tomorrow.

“This is not a game where we dominate our opponent or something like that, they will have their moments and that’s not to avoid and that says everything about the quality of Brighton.”

 

4. Old Trafford thumping was “not perfect”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates with team-mates Roberto Firmino (L) abd Diogo Jota (R) after scoring the fifth goal, completing his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp’s words are how you know that this team do not settle, with even the 5-0 win against Man United far from perfect.

“You win 5-0 against United and it was perfect, but it was not. United have clear cut chances which we gave them and we shouldn’t rely on luck or Ali in these moments.

“We could have done better. That’s how we spoke at half-time 4-0 up. I told the boys, believe me, we have to play better otherwise we open up the game for them.

“I saw in the first half we gave too much away, that’s the things we have to improve and not just in that game but in general.”

 

5. Klopp still misses Lallana

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 23, 2021: Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Lallana during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Manchester City FC at the AMEX Stadium. Manchester City won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 33-year-old will lineup for Brighton on Saturday to continue an impressive run of eight successive league starts this season.

It’s his second campaign with the Seagulls after 178 appearances for Liverpool and Klopp spoke highly of one of his most influential players at the start of his career at Anfield ahead of a reunion.

“I miss Adam still to be honest. He set the standard for the press from the first day to the last day. That is what I loved about him.”

“A football player with his technical skills and that working mentality is really rare.

“If he was injured a little bit less he would be on another level. He is one of the best players I’ve ever worked with.”

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