Well, there’s the easy way of doing things and the hard way.
In failing to beat Napoli on Wednesday we now have to face the pant-shredding anxiety of a Champions League shootout against Red Bull Salzburg.
A solitary point against the Austrians will be enough to take us into the last 16, but even so it could be a night fraught with risk against a side that is dangerous and clearly capable.
Of course, it’s harsh to write-off a game against Napoli as one we should be winning without much thought, but our performance against the Italians – especially in the first half – was far below what we might expect from the Reds.
Indeed, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s men who took the lead in the 21st minute when Dries Mertens wriggled clear to slot home.
The lacklustre first period never caught light, and there may have been a few fireworks in the home dressing room on the back of a stuttering display.
We improved immeasurable after the break, and while Napoli sat back we were able to start stringing together some more purposeful attacking moves.
Lacking forward thrust from midfield and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cultured distribution on the right, we struggled to make our dominance pay until Dejan Lovren rose highest to score yet another set piece goal for the Reds and level the scoring.
You could almost feel the energy surge into the Anfield faithful as they roared their side on to find the winner, but that never came and in truth it never really looked like doing so.
And so it’s off to Salzburg we go, tasked with a mission that should already have been accomplished.
Never mind – it just adds to a stacked December fixture list that will test the Liverpool squad to its limits.
In the meantime, it’s back to league matters for Klopp’s men, starting with the visit of Brighton to Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool Team News
There was a great sense of unease around Anfield when Fabinho limped off after just 19 minutes against Napoli.
The Brazilian was suspended for the Brighton game anyway, but the last thing we need is the metronomic midfielder being sidelined for too long.
So soon after the injury occurred, Klopp is still in the dark as to its seriousness. “I don’t want to say what I expect,” he confirmed. “It’s early and we all hope it’s not too serious but it’s pretty painful and in an area you don’t want to have pain, around the ankle.”
Let’s hope Fabinho is back fit and firing for the Merseyside derby next week….
Otherwise, the manager has a full deck to work with, although three games in the space of a week might just take a toll on some. Jordan Henderson, for example, is one player who can struggle with such a workload, and he might be given the afternoon off with a midfield trio of James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain possible.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will surely return, while Andy Robertson will be asked to soldier on despite some pain in his knee and ankle.
In attack, Mo Salah again looked a shadow of his former self, and there are now genuine concerns about his fitness. His ankle problem appears to be an ongoing one, and he might be saved on the bench here with Divock Origi replacing him.
Sitting in twelfth place in the Premier League table, you would surmise that things have been going well for Brighton so far – their supporters, or the majority at least, seem to agree with that assertion.
As is typically the case though, they are better at home (W3 D2 L2) than they are on the road (W1 D1 L4), and their record against big six teams – W1 D0 L3 – needs some work.
The Seagulls have been well and truly outclassed in their prior two outings as well, going down 1-3 and 0-2 to Manchester United and Leicester respectively.
Liverpool vs Brighton Betting Tips
A Brighton side that has conceded two or more goals in four of their last five outings is clearly there for the taking, although the manner of Klopp’s starting eleven will dictate how smooth and coherent our performance is.
If Salah is given the afternoon off our goal threat diminishes – that’s a given. But a dual midfield pairing of Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain would carry a threat from deep, while Alexander-Arnold is capable of covering the entire right flank to himself.
So we are anticipating a Liverpool victory here, but maybe not by the margins most expect.
Brighton don’t carry a huge goal threat on the road, so let’s double up the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores in Liverpool’s favour at odds of 17/2 and 7/1.