Liverpool lock horns with Leicester tomorrow at Anfield in their last outing this calendar year in what will be a crucial match for the Reds in the race to the top 4.
Liverpool are currently sitting 4th in EPL standings, with Tottenham and Arsenal hot on their heels. The Reds have gone on an unbeaten 14 game streak in all competitions, with their last defeat coming way back in October when they were humbled 4-1 by Tottenham Hotspur.
On the other hand, after a slow start to the season, Leicester have gained some momentum and have performed reasonably well against Manchester United and City in the recent past. The Foxes narrowly lost 4-3 on penalties to league leaders City in the Carabao Cup last week before playing out a 2-2 stalemate with United last Sunday in the league.
A Kasper Schmeichel own-goal would gift Watford a 2-1 victory over them on the Boxing day, however the Foxes are flying high with Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy back to their goal-scoring forms.
Leicester have had defensive issues though. They have uncharacteristically let in 13 goals from set-piece situations this season, and their manager Claude Puel has lamented the fact. “We need more concentration, more focus and more aggression from set-plays,” he said. “The game [against Watford] was decided by set-pieces and we have some things that we now need to correct.”
Team News & Tactics
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will sit out of the encounter as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained against Swansea. Alberto Moreno is sidelined with an ankle problem while Nathaniel Clyne has a back trouble that will rule him out of contention for the Starting XI.
Sturridge is out with illness amid rumours he could be heading for the exit-door come January.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Can, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Leicester’s Daniel Amartey saw red in last weekend’s clash with Manchester United but is eligible to play now, although Robert Huth, Danny Simpson and Matty James remain out with injury.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Morgan, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, King, Albrigthon, Okazaki, Vardy
1. Liverpool Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.57
2. Leicester Asian Handicap +2.0 @ 1.600
1. Jamie Vardy to be the first Goalscorer @ 8.50
- In the Premier League, the Reds have faced the Foxes 23 times, winning 11, drawing 5, and losing on 7 occasions. However, Liverpool have lost only thrice to Leicester in the league at Anfield.
- Liverpool have scored 46 times this season – a feat only bettered by Manchester City(61). Mohammad Salah(15) and Roberto Firmino(9) are in top 10 goalscorer list of the Premier League for the season.
- Liverpool have kept an impressive 9 clean-sheets so far with Simon Mignolet standing tall between the sticks. Leicester have kept just 4 with Foxes’ defence helping Schmeichel a little.
- Liverpool have lost three competitive games against Leicester City under Jurgen Klopp – against no side have they lost more during the German manager’s reign at the club.
- Liverpool have conceded just three goals at Anfield this season so far.
Player to watch
The Brazilian has bagged a couple of goals in his last match while scored and assisted in each of 2 games before that. His red-hot form is sure to cause havoc in opposition defense and as Klopp mentioned, it’s his all-round contribution to the team and not just goals that he’s happy about. He’s certainly the one to look out for, by us and ofcourse Foxes’ back-line.
Liverpool 3-1 Leicester
Liverpool have been ruthless in front of goal this season. With their top-scorer Mohamed Salah – 21 goals in Premier League this season – piling up goals for fun and Firmino regaining his form as of late, it is hard not to see Liverpool claiming all 3 points.
Despite Mahrez and Vardy being in fine form, I would go with Liverpool to score more goals. With the likes of Salah, Firmino, Mane and Coutinho at their disposal, it’s safe to say Liverpool will win the match 3-1.
Both the teams would look to end their year on a high note, with Liverpool trying to maintain pace with Chelsea, United and City in the race for next year’s Champions League qualification, while Leicester will be hoping to close their gap on 7th placed Burnley. Despite being in the top-half of the league table, just 10 point separate them from the relegation zone, so this will be as crucial a game as any for the Foxes.