Now on a run of four games without a win in all competitions, Liverpool will be determined to overcome Leicester City and consign the leaders to their first away defeat in the Premier League this season.
Manager Jurgen Klopp was far from happy after his Reds side were swept aside 3-0 by in-form Watford on Sunday, where they went behind to a disputed early goal and from then on were second best in both boxes despite enjoying the majority of the possession. Despite the dubious nature of the opener, stand-in goalkeeper Adam Bogdan did not cover himself in glory at Vicarage Road and so will be under pressure to perform if he were to keep his place for this one.
Only in the second half did Liverpool look remotely capable of breaking their opponents down, as a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana proved far less effective than they were the last time they played together at Manchester City in November. Divock Origi did not fare any better after coming on as a first half substitute in a display littered with errors, and as they know, Leicester will punish mistakes just as clinically as Watford did, so they must be ironed out quickly.
The victory that Leicester achieved on the other half of Merseyside at Everton last weekend was arguably their most impressive of the season, with two coolly taken penalties from the seemingly unstoppable Riyad Mahrez and a composed finish from striker Shinji Okazaki sealing the points in a massively entertaining affair. Confidence must by sky-high, and given Liverpool’s recent form and the defensive problems they are experiencing at present, the Foxes must fancy their chances of maintaining their lead at the top.
Two changes were forced upon Claudio Ranieri against Everton, but Andy King produced his normally reliable performance in midfield, while Marcin Wasilewski showed few signs of rustiness alongside captain Wes Morgan at the back. With the onus being on Liverpool to attack, this match in theory should be another one that suits Leicester down to the ground thanks to their famed counter-attacking style. And if they do win, it would only increase the debate over whether they can win the Premier League title.
Simon Mignolet may return in goal for Liverpool, for whom the fit again Dejan Lovren will replace the stricken Martin Skrtel, who faces eight weeks out.
Leicester have Robert Huth back from suspension, but remain without Daniel Drinkwater and Jeffrey Schlupp.
Last Meeting: Leicester were struggling badly at the wrong end of the table, but came up with a stirring fightback to prevent the hosts from claiming a third straight win on New Year’s Day. Liverpool seemed to be cruising to victory at the break as they led 2-0 through two Steven Gerrard penalties, but they eventually had to settle for a point as David Nugent’s excellent volley and a powerful shot from Jeffrey Schlupp pegged them back.
Played for both – Emile Heskey: The big striker began his career at hometown club Leicester and made his name, helping to win the League Cup in 1997 and 2000, with the latter coming shortly before he got his big move to Liverpool. He soon built a superb strike partnership with Michael Owen and contributed to a treble of trophies in 2000-01. He stayed until the summer of 2004, leaving with 39 goals in 150 league appearances.
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