Brighton & Hove Albion is the best-coached club in the Premier League and plays “incredible football” despite losing its best players, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Brighton finished sixth last season to qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history, but it lost two key midfielders in the close season with Alexis Mac Allister moving to Liverpool while Moises Caicedo made the switch to Chelsea.
The south-coast club is sixth in the league this season but is bottom of its Europa League group without a win while its last league match was a 6-1 humbling by Aston Villa. Liverpool is fourth, one point above Brighton.
“Brighton had a few results which didn’t go exactly in their way, but that’s a completely normal situation in development. They had a lot of changes, lost top players – one of them we got – and still play incredible football,” Klopp told reporters.
“We expect a really tough game against one of the best sides in the league, the best-coached team in the league, I would say,” Klopp said, adding that they made a “smart move” in hiring Roberto De Zerbi to replace Graham Potter.
“They made really big steps and are super-consistent – different formations, different players, lineups – wow! In the end, you always see Brighton football and I couldn’t respect that more.”
Mac Allister has slowly settled down in the base of Liverpool’s midfield and Klopp said he was not looking at finding the best position for the Argentine World Cup winner just yet.
“We just use him. He’s a fantastic player. I love everything about him – super-smart, tactically and off the pitch as well. So that’s really, really nice to work with him,” Klopp said.
“We defend more compact and better than we did in our bad phases last year. We have small spaces and it’s really, really good because he sees the situations really well. And from there, we have an extra footballer on the pitch and it’s really cool,” concluded the German coach.