Liverpool travel to the Amex Stadium on Wednesday night to take on promotion hunting Brighton in the third round of the Carling Cup.
The Reds have had reason for cautious optimism so far this season after a host of new signings over the summer injected some much need life into the side, but the revolution under Kop hero Kenny Dalglish has faltered in recent weeks, culminating in the one-sided 4-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Dalglish will hope the return of talismanic midfielder Stephen Gerrard, who has spent almost six months on the sidelines , will inspire his side to victory against Guy Poyet’s men.
The England international is expected to start the game as he makes his first tentative steps towards full match fitness. One man who will be well known to the Gerrard and will take to the field on Wednesday for the Seagulls is Craig Noone, who became closely acquainted with the Reds skipper while fixing his roof before his football career took off.
While Gerrard may be returning to first team action, Daniel Agger begins a spell on the sidelines after picking up a knock against Spurs on Sunday.
That means new signing Sebastian Coates could make his full debut for his new club at centre back alongside veteran Jamie Carragher with Martin Skrtel suspended for one game for his sending off at White Hart Lane, while Charlie Adam will also sit out the game with a suspension for his two yellow cards at Spurs.
Summer arrival Craig Bellamy should get the chance to prove his worth up front for the first time since returning to his former club.
Brighton are expected to field 38-year-old former Tottenham defender and current Albion assistant manager Mauricio Taricco at full back due to left back Marcos Painter’s suspension, while marquee summer signing Vicente is in line for a debut with the Championship club albeit from the bench.
Lewis Dunk is only one game away from a suspension and Poyet may opt to protect him ahead of their crucial Championship clash against Leeds.