Venue – King Power Stadium, Leicester
Referee – Paul Tierney
Date & Time – Saturday, September 1st @ 12:30
Current Odds – Leicester 11/2, Draw 7/2, Liverpool 4/9
Claude Puel’s men have made a steady start to their campaign. They were unfortunate to come away from Old Trafford with nothing on the opening night of the Premier League season. Since then they’ve beaten a Wolves team who showed us all last week against Manchester City that they are certainly not just in the top division to make up the numbers. Then, last week, The Foxes had a great win on the road, at Southampton.
A slightly underwhelming performance against Brighton last Saturday has done nothing to take the shine off of this perfect start to the season for The Reds. Three points against The Seagulls was a great result when you look back at that game and realise just how well-drilled Chris Hughton’s men were. Maximum points and no goals conceded so far means that Liverpool’s only defeat in their last five competitive games was the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev, back in May.
Leicester Team News
Significant Incomings: Rachid Ghezzal, Jonny Evans, Danny Ward, James Maddison, Caglar Soyuncu
Significant Outgoings: Islam Slimani, Leonardo Ulloa, Ahmed Musa, Ben Hamer, Riyad Mahrez, Aleksandar Dragovic
Leicester City will be without the suspended Jamie Vardy for Saturday’s game. Vardy is still out due to the red card he picked up in their 2-0 home win against Wolves a couple of weeks ago. Matty James and new signing, Caglar Soyuncu, will also miss out The Reds’ visit to the King Power Stadium, due to injury.
Claude Puel has favoured a 4231 setup for his Leicester team, so far this season. Kelechi Iheanacho will most likely start in the lone-striker role ahead of Shinji Okazaki in Vardy’s absence. I expect Puel to name the same team that started in their 2-1 win at Southampton last week.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool might still be without Dejan Lovren as he continues his recovery from injury. Joe Gomez has been doing an admirable job in his place, however, and there will be a right battle between Lovren, Gomez, and Joel Matip for that second centre-half position alongside Virgil van Dijk when all three are fighting fit.
Jurgen Klopp named the same starting eleven for the first three games of the season, so far. With a two-week break for internationals after this game, we could well be looking at the same eleven again, at Leicester. The front three is bound to be Mohamed Salah, Bobby Firmino, and Sadio Mané with the main conundrum being in midfield. Does he continue to start 32-year-old James Milner? In my opinion, the midfield three of Milner, Naby Keita, and Gini Wijnaldum have made themselves all but undroppable so it should be the same team again.
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1) – Schmeichel; Amartey, Morgan(c), Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Pereira, Maddison, Gray, Iheanacho
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner(c), Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
When they last met
Liverpool took all six points from their two meetings with Leicester last season. The Reds won 2-1 when they met at Anfield in their last game of 2017. Last season’s game at the King Power Stadium was an eventful affair with Liverpool coming out as 3-2 winners. Salah, Phil Coutinho, and Jordan Henderson were the scorers that night, last September. Okazaki and Vardy were on the scoresheet for Leicester with Simon Mignolet producing a great penalty save to prevent Vardy from levelling the game with just under 20 minutes to play.
Leicester 0 – 1 Liverpool
I’m expecting a tight affair with Liverpool just about coming out on top. If Jamie Vardy was available for Leicester, I would have predicted a 2-1 win for The Reds, giving Vardy his token goal against Liverpool. In his absence, however, this ever-improving Liverpool defence should manage to continue with their impressive clean-sheet record. It would be fantastic for The Reds to reach this international break in pole position and I think they will just about do that.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **
**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com