The Premier League is back at Anfield this Thursday evening, and Jurgen Klopp appears to have requested a loud reception for their visitors arrival. Former reds manager, Brendan Rodgers, returns to his old club, after a difficult spell as the Foxes boss. His recent comments suggest all is not right at his club, and it could make for a long nights work for Leicester.
The reverse fixture saw Leicester win 1- 0, in a frustratingly poor performance by the reds, just after Christmas. Its a tough loss that Klopp will look to extinguish, and win in brutal fashion. The campaign as a whole has been a success for Liverpool, yet Manchester City have become runaway leaders nonetheless. If Liverpool are to keep Pep’s leaders on their toes, a near faultless remainder of the season will be required.
Leicester come into this game under a cloud of bad form. Their humiliation at the weekend, saw them dumped out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest. The 4-1 away loss becomes even more concerning, given Leicester went pretty much full strength (of those available) for that tie. The aftermath saw Rodgers critical of his players, and this blame game could well blow up in Brendan’s face.
Leicester arrive with questions to ask, and Rodgers job could become at risk if form does not improve. With 26 points from 20 games played, the Foxes are now destined for a mid-table finish, and the summer spending makes that regression a tough pill to swallow for the owners. The defensive make up of Rodgers team is curious, and he will surely revert to an ultra solid shape this Thursday. Leicester were able to nullify the reds attack at home, but must do so this time around without a few key players.
Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne, Jamie Vardy, Wesley Fofana and Ryan Bertrand are all ruled our with injury, though Nampaly Mendy should be available after AFCON duty. It’s hard to predict a line up, as Rodgers will surely look to shuffle the pack somewhat. The only definite will be Leicester looking to counter from a deep block, which will surely mean only one forward playing.
Liverpool are now loaded with players to choose from, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez now clear off their covid related isolations. Mohamed Salah returns after his AFCON final defeat, and could well start this game with a point to prove. Sadio Mane is yet to return to action, with his triumphant AFCON campaign still being celebrated.
In defence, Virgil Van Djik should see common partner, Joel Matip, restored alongside him. The midfield may see Fabinho starting, with Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita all vying for starts. Jordan Henderson may well have picked up a knock, one that would see him sidelined.
The attack will see in form goal getter, Diogo Jota, remain on the left, with Roberto Firmino through the middle. Salah should complete a vibrant front three, as Luis Diaz continues to adjust, after his recent signing.
This game has the markings of a defence versus attack affair, and Liverpool will need to start fast to avoid long spells of fruitless possession. The variation of players could well see a more attacking line up employed, with Leicester perhaps vulnerable visitors.
Player to watch – Mohamed Salah
Liverpool 4 – 0 Leicester