Leaders Leicester City will be hoping to maintain their three point advantage over the chasing pack when they take on Capital One Cup finalists Liverpool, one of just two sides to beat them in the league this season.
Although he continues to play their chances down, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri is clearly sensing a chance that he could achieve the unfathomable and guide the club to the title, a fact made plain by his decision to rest most of his key players for both of the recent FA Cup meetings with Tottenham. They ending up losing the tie, and then in their last outing they were firing on all cylinders once again as Jamie Vardy was among the scorers in a convincing win over Stoke City.
A heavy deflection for the opening goal was that bit of luck they needed, and the Foxes were eventually able to turn on the style as Riyad Mahrez produced an amazing piece of skill to allow Leonardo Ulloa to put the icing on the cake. A 10-point gap now exists between them and fifth place, so a Champions League spot is highly conceivable, but for as long as they remain at the summit their aim will increase and they will not be daunted despite a tricky run of fixtures coming up.
It is still extremely difficult to know what to make of Liverpool at present. They showed great character to win a classic encounter 5-4 at Norwich City after performing terribly to fall 3-1 behind, and then came up with another sub-standard performance against Stoke City in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final and ended up massively fortunate to advance following a penalty shootout, so nobody knows what Jurgen Klopp’s side will produce here.
Their attacking play is continuing to come under considerable scrutiny as Klopp struggles to find a combination that can deliver the goods on a consistent basis. Christian Benteke has come in for some criticism and is having to be content with a place on the bench, while Roberto Firmino goes from superb in one game to erratic in the next, and when the Reds are not coming forward with intensity and tempo they are a much easier side to play against, so Leicester will look to unsettle them early on.
There are no new injury concerns for Leicester, who will have Shinji Okazaki available despite the fact he limped off against Stoke.
Liverpool will make a number of changes from the side that drew with West Ham United in the FA Cup, with Jordan Henderson having recovered from a minor heel problem.
Played for both – Paul Konchesky: The left-back was brought to Liverpool by Roy Hodgson in the summer of 2010 after the two had worked successfully together at Fulham, but he struggled at Anfield and only made the 15 Premier League appearances. He then left to join Leicester and he helped them reach the Premier League, scoring once in 26 outings last season.