Liverpool: Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp called on his side to be disciplined in defence as they prepare to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday in an FA Cup fourth-round tie, weeks after a humiliating 3-0 Premier League loss to the same opponents.
Cup holders Liverpool beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in a replay to set up a clash at Brighton, who have put three goals past the Merseyside club in both league meetings this season.
Earlier this month, Klopp said Liverpool’s league defeat by Brighton was their worst-ever performance during his time at the club, and when asked what they could change in Sunday’s game, he told reporters: “Everything.” “I think we have showed we really want to go through. We always want to get better and that is what we will do. Brighton are in a really good moment,” added Klopp.
“It was still the worst game I have ever seen of a team of mine, that’s still the same thank god as we have played a few games since then...
“We did really well in moments and spells of the games. The first half against Chelsea we were very disciplined and we didn’t give them a lot. We have to do that again against Brighton of course.” Since their defeat to Brighton, Liverpool have kept back-to-back clean sheets against Wolves and Chelsea.
“Clean sheets are massive for us,” Klopp said. “Everyone waits for free-flowing performance but that takes time and it starts with clean sheets.” Klopp opted to play a midfield three of Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic against both Wolves and Chelsea, and the Liverpool boss said getting the midfield combination right would be essential against Brighton.
“We have six or seven midfielders in top shape which is the perfect situation but only three can start. You can’t make mistakes with line-ups,” Klopp said.
“Against Brighton it is massively important how we defend the first line. The goalie is really calm, they just pass the ball if the front three aren’t performing well. It is really about how we defend.” The German manager also provided a fitness update on his squad, saying Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino “will take a couple of weeks, then they can join training. We will have to see how it goes from there.
“(Arthur Melo) is running a lot, I think in two or three weeks until he can join team training. He needs a proper build-up. Fabio Carvalho is out.”