On Monday night, top four chasing Liverpool will visit Leicester City’s King Power Stadium, putting them at risk of moving even closer to relegation from the Premier League.
Last time out, Dean Smith’s poor team lost a tense Bank Holiday match to Fulham by a score of 5-3, while the Reds kept up their quest for Champions League football by defeating Brentford 1-0.
After a three matches winless streak (D2, L1) that means they’ll enter another game week in the relegation zone, Leicester City find themselves chasing the pack in the Premier League (PL) survival chase. Their inability to keep a clean sheet in their previous 20 Premier League games (W3, D4, L13) has shown to be their defense’s clear weakness in their fight against the drop.
This has been extremely irritating for their frontline, who have largely contributed by scoring in ten of those 17 games in which they have lost, and they will have felt vindictive once more in their most recent match against Fulham, where Leicester lost 5-3. That presents difficulties for manager Dean Smith, who won’t be delighted to be facing Liverpool after losing four of his first five Premier League head to head matches.
The likelihood that his anguish will continue is made even more terrifying by Liverpool’s six straight victories, though each of the last five were achieved by slim one goal margins, as was the case in the previous match when they prevailed 2-1. As a result, Jürgen Klopp’s team has solidified their position in fifth place and laid the groundwork for a potential late charge at the top four.
At this time in the season, the requirement for such form would ordinarily be unnecessary, but the Reds’ dismal away record this year has cost them dearly. They have accrued more than twice as many points at home (43) as they have away (19), and this disparity would have been worse if they hadn’t won their past two away games.
Jamie Vardy, who will try to add to his ten goals scored in his last 13 outings against Liverpool, may be the key to Leicester’s chances of surviving. For the opposing team, Mohamed Salah is just one goal away from setting another historic record by becoming the first Liverpool player since Roger Hunt in the early 1960s to score 20 more league goals in three straight seasons.
One tiny plus for Smith on Monday was that his team didn’t sustain any new injuries, and Jonny Evans was healthy enough to sit on the bench. This left the hosts with four players out for Liverpool’s visit.
The final three games of the season will be watched from the sidelines by Ryan Bertrand (fitness), James Justin (calf), and Jannik Vestergaard (calf). Striker Kelechi Iheanacho (groin) is ahead of schedule in his recovery and should be back in training next week, but Monday’s game will be too soon for him.
After their terrifying afternoon in the capital, Smith will undoubtedly think about making changes to Tete, Patson Daka, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, and the healthy Ricardo Pereira. Daniel Iversen, like the majority of the blue players, did not perform admirably against Fulham, but the Dane should once more keep Danny Ward at bay.
Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita will not be able to recover from their muscular injuries in time for Monday’s game, according to Liverpool manager Klopp. However, the former may have resumed training last week in an effort to play his final game on the field.
As season ending injuries to Stefan Bajcetic (adductor), Calvin Ramsay (knee), and Thiago Alcantara (hip) continue to heal, Klopp made the audacious choice to line up with four pure attackers against Brentford last weekend, although Jordan Henderson’s injury may have played a role in that.
Luis Diaz, who played only a cameo against the Bees, will be in the running to replace Darwin Nunez. Henderson, who was able to play off the bench and should now be considered for a first XI recall.
Leicester possible starting lineup
Iversen, Pereira, Faes, Soyuncu, Castagne, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Tete, Maddison, Barnes and Vardy.
Liverpool possible starting lineup
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Jones, Fabinho, Henderson, Salah, Gakpo and Diaz.
We predict: Leicester City 1-3 Liverpool
Leicester very rarely has trouble scoring goals since they have a wealth of attacking quality at their disposal, but a goal-happy Liverpool will undoubtedly expose Leicester’s persisting defensive flaws.
The King Power turf has not been kind to Klopp’s team recently, but we can only see the Merseyside giants returning home with another victory and furthering Leicester’s slim chances of making the Premier League playoffs.