Liverpool line-ups as Darwin Nunez starts and tricky Naby Keita call made for Brighton


Our writers pick their Liverpool teams for Sunday’s trip to Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round.

Paul Gorst – Nunez and Keita start

Having arrested a slump that saw Liverpool concede six goals in two games at Brentford and Brighton, Jurgen Klopp’s side head to this one on the back of two clean sheets against Wolves and Chelsea.

That defensive solidity has come at a price though and the Reds have looked toothless in their last two matches – a Harvey Elliott wonder-goal at Wolves aside. Enter Darwin Nunez, then.

The Uruguay international starts down the centre for me with Cody Gakpo shifted out to his favoured left-hand side. Mohamed Salah continues down the right, as usual. Klopp’s options are stretched pretty thin in all honesty so this is the best trio he can select just now.

In midfield, no-one really deserves to be taken out the team, so it’s a third successive start for both Naby Keita and Stefan Bajcetic. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho can continue to kick their heels on the bench.

The same goes for Joel Matip at the back as Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate continue their partnership in the absence of Virgil van Dijk.

My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Konate, Robertson; Bajcetic, Keita, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

Ian Doyle – Elliott can be the first substitute

It was all a bit Brighton breezy for Liverpool’s opponents a fortnight ago at the AMEX Stadium. So Jurgen Klopp is going to have to make some changes from that team.

And, almost certainly, not repeat the tactical switch that didn’t pay off in the slightest last time around.

That means a return to 4-3-3 and sticking largely to the defence that earned a clean sheet against Chelsea. That means Trent Alexander-Arnold coming in at right-back, with Ibrahima Konate partnered Joe Gomez at centre-back and Andy Robertson left-back. Alisson Becker is in goal.

It’s tempting to rotate the midfield from last weekend, but they deserve another go. Stefan Bajcetic can celebrate his new contract with another start, with Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara also cracking on.

Up top, Darwin Nunez comes back in down the centre, with Cody Gakpo shifting to the left and Mohamed Salah on the right. Bit unfortunate for Harvey Elliott, but he can be the first substitute.

My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Konate, Robertson; Bajcetic, Keita, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

Keifer MacDonald – Gomez and Konate here to stay

Since his side’s visit to the South Coast just over two weeks ago, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has implemented some serious changes.

After an error-littered performance in the 3-0 drubbing, Joel Matip has not started either of the Reds’ following two games having been replaced by Joe Gomez. The England international is now gearing up for his second audition of the season after starting the Premier League campaign alongside Virgil van Dijk.

But partnered with Ibrahima Konate this time, though, the 25-year-old has looked relatively assured against both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea and will therefore be expected to keep his place alongside the Frenchman for the fourth round tie.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will complete the backline, which will stand ahead of Alisson Becker.

In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic will keep his place alongside Naby Keita – who have both impressed in 2023 thus far. However, after starting every game for the Reds since the League Cup loss to Manchester City on December 22, Thiago Alcantara can sit this one out and is replaced by Jordan Henderson. Liverpool’s next seven or eight fixtures – which include both the visit of Real Madrid and Everton to Anfield – are too vital to lose the Spaniard to injury.

In the final third, it’s business as usual as Mohamed Salah will once again try to find his magic touch, with Darwin Nunez and Coady Gakpo down the middle and on the left respectively.

My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Konate, Robertson; Bajcetic, Keita, Henderson; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

Finlay Swift – Chelsea draw gives Klopp a headache for this one

Brighton away. In recent seasons probably a straightforward victory. However, after the recent demolition of Klopp’s Reds, The Amex Stadium is still an open wound.

Liverpool put in a dogged performance in the last round which saw the fringe players take centre stage and perform well against Wolves. Then an uneventful 0-0 draw vs Chelsea has given Klopp a headache for this match.

After a week off the team will be similar to the side that played against Chelsea. The dilemmas come in midfield and in goal. Stefan Bajcetic has staked a claim in the No.6 role ahead of Fabinho in recent games and after a new contract he is line for a third successive start.

Thiago will resume his duties in the midfield and possibly Naby Keita. I’m not sure Klopp will risk starting him three games in a row given his injury record. Which could see Jordan Henderson or Harvey Elliott make the three.

Trent Alexander-Arnold should come back into the defence after starting on the bench against Chelsea due to a knock. Caoimhin Kelleher can slot in between the sticks, giving Alisson a break.

The return of Darwin Nunez is a boost and should relieve some of the pressure on new signing Cody Gakpo. Whilst Mohammed Salah will take up his usual position on the right of the attack.

My team (4-3-3): Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Konate, Robertson; Bajcetic, Elliott, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments