"He is an important player and tomorrow, he will be prepared like everyone else."
Assuming that Klopp can get his side over the line this campaign to end their run, what of the other teams who have been top at Christmas and failed? Going further than that - and paying a nod to success now given to the top-four UEFA Champions League places - what has happened to the sides, Liverpool aside, who have been in the top four during these last 26 seasons but are also yet to win the league?
Chelsea face German giants Bayern Munich, while Paris Saint-Germain, who impressed in the group stage and will be trying to avoid a fourth successive last-16 exit, will take on Borussia Dortmund.
Irish said the latest move by CSA was an admission that the original decision had been taken without proper investigation and consultation.
Zozulya joined Rayo on loan in 2017 from Real Betis but never made an appearance for the club after his spell was
Dong has heard the story about his supposed cosmetic surgery, but says it's not true.
Another side who were fourth on Christmas Day, it was 2003-04 for Saints, but they have been down since. Formed into a solid Premier League side who developed then sold academy players under Pohcettino, they are flirting with relegation this season.
"I am happy we are about to play a Clasico. It was the same when I was a player, these are the matches you live for, and you are focused only on what happens on the field."
Dong, who still gets stopped in the street by fans, hopes his training club in Xiamen can bring a happy denouement to a turbulent life in the game.
Martin Montoya and Yves Bissouma came in for Brighton, with Dale Stephens suspended, and Steven Alzate dropped to the bench.
"And although they may have some physical limitations, their kind of concentration, their seriousness... that passion actually moves me."
The 20-year-old collected another Neymar pass and burst past Wesley Fofana before lashing his shot in the far corner, celebrating by the stands as flares and fireworks billowed smoke and flame towards the pitch.
There is an enduring interest in Dong in England. In May this year, The Sun tabloid published an article with the headline, "Man United's Chinese starlet Dong Fangzhuo went from next big thing at Old Trafford alongside Ronaldo to reality TV facelift freak."