Following the midweek exertions in the form of Carabao Cup round three fixtures, the Premier League will resume at the home of 2015/16 Champions – Leicester City.
The Foxes will take on Liverpool and having faced Jurgen Klopp’s reds in the League cup and beat them in an entertaining encounter: it’s fair to say the home side will be buzzing at the opportunity to face one of the likely ‘top six’ sides come Saturday. Craig Shakespeare looks settled in and after a string of poor results in the early weeks, Leicester City have showed signs of dogged determination at the back supplemented by their lethal counter-attacking ability to catch teams off guard and it will be interesting to see if they could inflict another blow on Liverpool’s domestic season.
For Liverpool, it is not quite make or break at this point in time, but it is hard to see them regroup quick enough to mount a challenge for the league title, should they drop even more points on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp is under considerable pressure to sustain his position in the top four but Liverpool’s form since the start of 2017/18 has been as inconsistent as ever: a feature since the effervescent German took over the reins from Brendan Rodgers, with little indications of progress, on that front.
Liverpool, who will make the long and arduous trip to Russia in midweek, are in a need of a victory and I daresay, a big one at that, to make amends for the humbling defeat they suffered at the Etihad which is why this game could be even more important for them than their seemingly buoyant opposition.
With Matty James and Adrien Silva definitely out for Saturday’s visit of Liverpool, Craig Shakespeare will be hoping that key forward Jamie Vardy and full-back Christian Fuchs will prove their fitness to get themselves back in contention for the weekend.
For Liverpool, the injury concerns are much deeper and rotation is expected with the second group stage fixture away from home, on the horizon. As many as six first team members are either ruled out or doubtful to feature in the starting eleven.
Liverpool will assess the fitness of Dejan Lovren (back), Joel Matip and Emre Can before Saturday while new signing Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain will need prior assessments and Sadio Mane will miss out due to suspension.
- Liverpool have lost only two of their last 10 Premier League meetings with Leicester City, but both defeats were in the last three matches.
- The Foxes can win three home PL matches in a row against Liverpool for the first time.
- If Liverpool lose this match, Leicester will be the first team to beat Jurgen Klopp three times in the PL.
Islam Slimani – Leicester City
Slimani has made four appearances for the Foxes and is yet to score in the Premier League this season. But the Algerian forward has already made his mark in the League Cup by scoring a brilliant goal from outside the box to seal progression to the fourth round.
Leicester have a good mix of attacking options up front – each lethal in their own right but Slimani – being a nuisance inside the box and particularly prolific can cause an unsettled Reds’ back four a truck-load of problems on Saturday.
Phillipe Coutinho – Liverpool
On his day, the Brazilian can be unplayable and is one of the best attacking talents in the Premier League. Following a tiring and drawn out transfer saga involving himself and FC Barcelona, it is understandable that Coutinho is taking his time to get to a level where he can hurt teams week in week out, with dazzling footwork and creativity to unlock the stingiest of defences.
With the pressure firmly on Liverpool now, it’s time that the 25-year old channeled his focus into matters on the pitch to help Liverpool out of this rut they are in.
I cannot see Leicester City losing this one.
Leicester City 2-2 Liverpool