Liverpool will return to the King Power Stadium, for the second time in five days, as they take on Leicester City, who knocked them out of the Carabao Cup in midweek. Both sides are expected to field very different teams for this sequel, so that result shouldn’t be any implication on how this game will unfold. However, as they are now without a win in four matches, Liverpool’s morale could be beginning to seep away. On the other hand, Leicester broke a winless run in midweek, so their confidence will be on the up.
Liverpool Team News
Simon Mignolet will continue on as the first choice Premier League ‘keeper, but as we move into the defence this is where things can begin to look shaky. Dejan Lovren has been absent from training so it is likely he will miss his third game in a row. Joel Matip has also been carrying a knock, since the Burnley game, so he will need to be assessed before kick-off. Everyone will be hoping that he passes, otherwise, Joe Gomez would have to move into centre-back and Jon Flanagan would take his place at right back. Along with Ragnar Klavan, this is a defensive line that wouldn’t fill many fans with confidence. Over at left-back, Alberto Moreno and Andy Robertson appear to be switching starting duties randomly. Although Robertson impressed with his midweek performance, I’d expect Moreno to start this time out, as he has been favoured more often in the league.
Emre Can is also struggling with a knock and at the moment, he is a doubt. If he does miss out I’d like to see James Milner take his place as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t impressed at all during his first few Liverpool appearances. He may not be used to the new play style yet and should improve a lot in the future, but I would feel more comfortable with an experienced and consistent player, starting in what is becoming an increasingly important fixture. Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum will resume their usual spots in the centre of midfield.
With Sadio Mane serving the last of his three-match ban, the front three of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah will play their final game together, before difficult decisions will need to be made. Liverpool’s attack has always been their strongest suit, but having scored just three goals in their last three games, from 80 shots, a big performance from the trio is needed to answer the criticisms. Coutinho was taken off at half-time during the Carabao Cup, but Jurgen Klopp explained that this was a pre-planned decision. The Brazilian is continuing to build up his fitness, after his interrupted start to the season, and will be fine to start tomorrow.
Predicted Lineup: Mignolet; Moreno, Klavan, Matip, Gomez; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Coutinho, Firmino, Salah.
Leicester City Team News
Christian Fuchs has been back in training this week after he missed a spell out with an eye injury. He will be fit and ready to take his place at left-back. Robert Huth is still not ready to make his first appearance of the season, so Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire will remain as the central pairing. Danny Simpson was rested in midweek and will come back in on the right-hand side of defence.
Leicester will likely line up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, with their usual midfield line of Marc Albrighton, Andy King, Wilfred Ndidi and Riyad Mahrez starting behind the front two. Shinji Okazaki, who scored against the Reds on Tuesday, should take a starting place, playing just off Jamie Vardy. The English striker is a doubt as he was rested with a muscle injury. However, the Foxes are confident that he will return and that would be a massive positive for the home side. Vardy’s five goals against Liverpool are more than he has scored against any other Premier League opposition.
Predicted Lineup: Schmeichel; Fuchs, Morgan, Maguire, Simpson; Albrighton, King, Ndidi, Mahrez; Okazaki; Vardy.
Liverpool will be desperate for a result, but they won’t find it easy against Leicester, who will be bouncing after their midweek victory. Liverpool’s defensive frailties have not been helped by players carrying minor injuries and this will be another trying game for them. Going forward, they’re not in the best form but will be keen to put that right. An exciting and positive game is expected, but I don’t think the Reds will pick up the three points they really need. A 2-2 draw is what I’m going for.