Brighton Hove & Albion vs Liverpool Team News: Fabinho starts in defence as Matip makes bench
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Brighton Hove & Albion vs Liverpool Team News: Fabinho starts in defence as Matip makes bench

The team news is in ahead of Liverpool's clash at Brighton Hove & Albion at the Amex Stadium.

Joshua Kerr

Brighton Hove & Albion face Premier League leaders Liverpool at the Amex Stadium which kicks off at 15:00 GMT.

Jürgen Klopp's side are still winless in 2019 following back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Wolves in the FA Cup and are looking to extend their current lead at the summit to seven points.

With an hour to go until kick-off the team news has just been released.

Klopp has made nine changes to the team that was dumped out of the FA Cup third round at Molineux as the Reds German manager has made nine changes yet again as he did in the Midlands with many of his first string players returning to the starting 11.

Liverpool starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Firmino, Salah.

Alisson returns between the sticks

Brazilian No.1 goalkeeper Alisson Becker returns to his usual duties between the sticks having an overdue night off at Molineux replacing Simon Mignolet who only started his second game for the Reds in the Midlands.

Liverpool's impenetrable shot-stopper has been ever-present for the Reds since his summer signing from Roma domestically and will make his 22nd consecutive start at the Amex Stadium. 

Three defensive alterations

The only surviving member of the defensive unit from Monday nights embarrassing FA Cup display is Alisson's international compatriot Fabinho

The Reds makeshift centre-half gave up his usual midfield operating duties to take cover in the absence of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk who was another who was given an overdue rest by Klopp.

Fabinho was one of few senior squad members to impress against Wolves partnering 16-year-old debutant Ki-Jana Hoever who replaced Dejan Lovren who hobbled off with a hamstring problem. 

Lovren's removal has added to Klopp's already growing defensive headaches although the 51-year-old manager was boosted by Matip's recovery with the Cameroon defender returning to training on Thursday and making the bench against the Seagulls.

Van Dijk as expected will partner Fabinho in the centre to make his 50th appearance for the club with the Netherlands skipper failing to miss a league game all campaign for Liverpool. 

It's been an impressive week for the 27-year-old colossus with Van Dijk scooping a number of individual accolades. The world's most expensive defender was named in UEFA's Team of the Year for 2018 and was also the first defender since March 2013 to win the Premier League Player of the Month for his efforts throughout Liverpool's perfect December. 

Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold both return following Klopp's decision to rest his first-choice full-backs in the cup on Monday. 

Henderson returns to captain side 

Jordan Henderson's absence at Molineux was further soured by the injury to Lovren six minutes into the clash. Klopp said in his post-match comments that he initially opted to have the Liverpool skipper alongside Fabinho at centre-back, but was forced to throw in Lovren due to injury to Henderson.

Klopp confirmed in his press conference on Thursday that Henderson would return to first-team training at Melwood on Friday. Despite only a day of training from his recovery.

It shouldn't be considered a risk by the Reds boss throwing Henderson back into the side considering the Reds captain was only out for a number of days. 

Gini Wijnldum will partner the former Sunderland midfielder in the centre of the park as Klopp has once again decided to go with his recent familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.

Front three all back in action

Liverpool's irreplaceable front-three trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have all returned to the starting eleven with Xherdan Shaqiri operating in a front three with Salah the attacking focal point up top. 

The Swiss magician almost inspired a replay at Molineux when his technically perfect free-kick was tipped onto the post by John Ruddy in the dying minutes to salvage Wolves the win.

Mane's inclusion in the starting line-up means the Senegalese ace will make his 100th appearance for the club.

The Reds front three have already scored 29 of Liverpool's 49 league goals this season and a 14th league strike of the season for Salah will take him joint top of his pursuit of retaining his Golden Boot with Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently leading with 14 league goals.

Daniel Sturridge has been completely left out of the squad with the Reds forward being ruled out with a virus.