Liverpool face Leicester City on Monday evening in one of the few games this season where there will be little attention on Jürgen Klopp and his Reds, in comparison to the other team.
Claudio Ranieri is Dilly Ding, Dilly Gone. Leicester City are without a manager at the time of writing. Surely time for Liverpool to prey on their vulnerabilities, and pick up a second successive win?
Match: Leicester City vs Liverpool
Venue: King Power Stadium
Referee: Michael Oliver
Date: Monday 27th February
Time: 20:00 BST
After a dry January, win wise, and a frustrating start to February against Hull City, Liverpool do appear to be back on track after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Anfield last time out. Following that came a 16 gap between the win over Spurs and Monday’s game, a break which saw the Reds jet out to Spain for a mid-season training camp, one which reportedly went extremely successfully.
Still, Liverpool’s dropped points in the last couple of months have seen them slip down to fifth in the table, just a point ahead of Manchester United in sixth. The title is seemingly gone, Chelsea a huge 10 points ahead in first. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Reds. They remain just a point off Arsenal and Tottenham in the places directly above them, whilst Manchester City are only three ahead in second. There’s still much to play for.
Although Klopp compared Ranieri’s exit to ‘Brexit and Trump’ in his pre-match press conference, there was a reason for it. Leicester’s owners pulled the trigger after a five match losing streak in the league, one which had seen them slip down to 17th place in the league, just a point above the relegation zone.
However, the timing of the whole affair has come into question. Leicester’s most recent result came in the Champions League, just a day before Ranieri’s sacking. Away in Seville, they went two down, but came back with a Jamie Vardy away goal to see the game end 2-1, a fairly promising scoreline. The next three games were all at home, Liverpool, Hull and Sevilla. Their Italian boss won’t be in charge for them. Coach Craig Shakespeare will take charge, hoping to write a fantastic script of his own.
Daniel Sturridge and Dejan Lovren are Liverpool’s biggest injury doubts for this one. Sturridge flew home from La Manga with a similar viral issue to the one that troubled Ragnar Klavan a couple of weeks back, meaning he might have to watch from the stands. Lovren has consulted a knee specialist over an injury that kept him out of the Spurs game and returned to training on Friday, but he too is unlikely to play any part.
Leicester’s team news has gone under the radar given the circus around the club right now, but there are a few worries. Islam Slimani is one, as he looks to shake off a groin problem. Fellow striker Leonardo Ulloa is less of an issue given how he’s fallen down the pecking order, but he’s got a muscular problem to get over in order to make himself available for selection.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Lucas, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.
Leicester City Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Drinkwater, Ndidi, Gray, Mahrez, Albrighton; Vardy.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
The Main Stand. The glorious Main Stand. The glorious Reds. A glorious summer day. A glorious 4-1 win.
Indeed, the last time Liverpool met Leicester was back in September and it was all pretty perfect. The new stand opened, Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 win and all was well in the world. We can even laugh looking back at Lucas Leiva’s gift to Jamie Vardy. However, we’ll have less of that on Monday please, Lucas.
PREDICTION: LEICESTER CITY 2-3 LIVERPOOL
Hopefully Leicester will avoid getting a new manager before Monday, so that Liverpool avoid being victim of the ‘new manager bounce’. I think they just about will. The Foxes will pose a threat, but their defence is weak at the knees and with a full strength Liverpool attack, goals for the visitors seem inevitable.