Competition – Premier League
Venue – King Power Stadium, Leicester
Referee – Anthony Taylor
Date & Time – Saturday, 23rd September 2017 @ 17:30 BST
Leicester have started the season slower than they would have liked. A home win over newly-promoted Brighton in gameweek two was their only three points so far. They’ve lost at the Emirates and Old Trafford and they suffered a home defeat to Chelsea two weeks ago. They are bound to be buoyed by their midweek win over the Reds and will be hoping to inflict further damage to Klopp’s plans for this season.
September has been a month to forget for Liverpool. The curse of the international break struck again for the Reds. All of August’s (mostly) good work is slowly being taken down, brick by depressing brick. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Klopp’s office. What must he be thinking at this stage? Yes, he has to spew out some kind of rhetoric to instil belief and trust in the squad he’s got at his disposable. But he HAS to regret the failures of the transfer window just gone. I agree with his comments that it is also a system issue that needs to be rectified by him and his coaching staff, but it would be easier to address such a system with defensive personnel that actually belonged with a top-four team.
One point from two games in the league, along with a home draw with Sevilla and Tuesday night’s League Cup exit has left a sour taste in the mouths of Liverpool fans everywhere.
It’s no secret that the best hope this team has is to just blow the opposition away with the attacking talent available to them. You score three, so we’ll score four, etc. But that’s for the romantics out there. Klopp needs to display some development in the game-management department, and soon. Three more away games coming up, including a trip to Moscow. Things are not going to get any easier for Liverpool anytime soon.
It will be all change for both sides on Saturday as normal service resumes in the Premier League.
Leicester have injury doubts over Matty James, Jamie Vardy and Christian Fuchs while Leonardo Ulloa almost certainly misses out due to the neck injury he received on Tuesday night.
Lallana and Clyne are Liverpool’s only injured players at present. Coutinho should start again as he inches closer to full fitness. I’m hoping Robertson holds onto his left-back spot as his bright performance and excellent deliveries were the only real positives to take from Tuesday night’s defeat.
The Liverpool defensive selection in the last few weeks seems to have been a serious case of mix-and-match. Klopp and his backroom team appear to be struggling with settling on what they consider to be their ‘best’ back four. Klavan and Lovren appear to be having some secret competition to see just who can perform the worst. In truth, Joel Matip has not been much better. He seems very flaky and doesn’t have that bastard of a character that the Reds need in the team, especially at the back. But he’s the best we’ve got for now. Alexander-Arnold will be fresh and should start at right-back.
With Thursday’s news that Matip, Lovren and Emre Can will all face late fitness tests for Saturday, it means Klopp may well have to juggle things even more than normal at the back. Klavan will probably keep his place and let’s hope Matip comes through for the Reds. Coutinho could then feature in midfield for Emre Can with Sturridge starting up front with Salah and Firmino. All guessing games, of course, but that’s the eleven I think Klopp will go with.
Leicester XI – Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, King, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy
Liverpool XI – Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Salah, Sturridge, Firmino
When they last met
This is the second meeting between the sides in the space of four days. Tuesday night’s League Cup tie told an all-too-familiar tale to Liverpool fans. Early dominance was not made to count as the Reds went down to a theoretically weaker side.
Liverpool have also lost on their last two league visits to the King Power Stadium. It was 3-1 last February in Shakespeare’s first game in charge and 2-0 the season before that.
I think we will see a much-improved performance from the Reds on Saturday. We have to, for the sake of my sanity. It’s still not going to be easy, however, and I think it will end in a score draw.
Leicester City 1 – 1 Liverpool