Liverpool v Leicester City Preview - Klopp to outfox Puel's men at Anfield
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Martin Atkinson
Date & Time – Wednesday, January 30th @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 9/50, Draw 6/1, Leicester 12/1
Liverpool seem to have overcome the minor blip they suffered in early January with defeat at Manchester City being followed up by an early exit from the FA Cup at Wolves.
Since then, The Reds turned in a professional performance to take all three points at Brighton while their last fixture at Anfield was more of a topsy-turvy affair which Jurgen Klopp’s men finally managed to get the win from too.
As you can see from the xG stats below, Liverpool are back to creating plenty of big chances per game in the last few weeks, despite that FA Cup defeat at Molineux.
Alisson Becker didn’t perform to the standard we are used to in the win over Crystal Palace with Max Meyer’s late goal a particular cause for concern with regards to our goalkeeper. However, Alisson has already proved to be a fantastic signing for Liverpool and he’s bound to return to the level of performance we have become used to since the Brazilian international’s arrival. Let’s hope he gets back to his best immediately.
Leicester City Form
Leicester have lost four of their last five games in all competitions, including a shock 2-1 defeat at League Two’s Newport County in the FA Cup.
Claude Puel does seem to be under a certain amount of pressure in his role at the King Power Stadium these days yet it’s just over a month since The Foxes defeated the mighty Manchester City 2-1 in the Premier League.
It’s hard to know which Leicester team will turn out at Anfield on Wednesday night but it’s likely they will raise their game significantly at the home of the Premier League leaders.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp has watched on as Liverpool’s injury list has continued to grow since December. Currently missing for The Reds are Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Virgil van Dijk (illness), Gini Wijnaldum (knee) and Fabinho are also fighting to be fit in time for Wednesday night’s fixture. Fabinho, in particular, will be needed to fill in at right-back with Gomez and Alexander-Arnold both injured while James Milner is suspended after his red card against Crystal Palace.
Liverpool might have to revert to the 4-3-3 formation for this fixture due to injuries at the back so I expect Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Wijnaldum, if fit, to make up the midfield trio.
Joel Matip should partner Van Dijk in the centre of defence with Fabinho and Andy Robertson on each flank.
Leicester City Team News
Harry Maguire is expected to be fit again in time for the trip to Anfield so that would mean that Daniel Amartey will be Leicester’s only absentee due to his broken ankle. Amartey isn’t expected to be match-fit again until March.
Puel will most likely set his team out in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Nampalys Mendy and Wilfred Ndidi forming the base of the midfield. James Maddison will play a more advanced central-midfield role while Jamie Vardy should be the lone striker. Vardy has scored seven goals in his eight Premier League appearances against The Reds, his best record against any team in England’s top flight.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Fabinho, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson(c), Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1) – Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan(c), Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Pereira, Maddison, Gray; Vardy
When they last met
Liverpool have won the last three meetings between the two teams. Back in September, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino scored on the way to a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.
Last season at Anfield, Mohamed Salah scored a second-half double as Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 after Vardy had given the away team a very early lead.
Liverpool 2 – 1 Leicester City
I don’t see an easy win here. Leicester may be a few years past their Premier League title success now but they are still a very good top-half team. Also, Vardy seems to just love playing against Liverpool so there will always be the threat of counter-attacks from The Foxes.
The Reds should win but, again, it could be another fence we just about make it over on the way to a potential 19th league title in May. Of course, I’m hoping I’m wrong and that it’s 4-0 by half-time 🙂
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **
**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and FiveThirtyEight.com