A month into the Premier League season, and football is finally back at Anfield. But it is not the same Anfield we have known for decades. Liverpool have expanded the main stand significantly to allow 9,000 extra supporters into the stadium and what better way to open the new look stadium to the public than with a game against the champions. It promises to be an exciting evening on Merseyside.
Both sides have started the season in similar fashion, both collecting four points from their opening three Premier League games.
All of Liverpool’s matches were on the road, and they fully showcased their range of performances, from the electric victory against Arsenal, to the slightly unlucky draw against Tottenham to the dismal defeat against Burnley, the Reds haven’t really shown form, but a lack of. Who knows what sort of side will turn up against Leicester?
As for the champions, their season has slowly gathered momentum. A shock 2-1 defeat to Hull on the opening day was a poor start, but a solid 0-0 draw with Arsenal and a nervy win over Swansea has put them back in a good place.
Injuries and Suspensions
Liverpool are still without long term defensive absentees Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez (both achilles), whilst Ragnar Klavan has added to these problems with a knee injury of his own. Emre Can is also doubtful with an ankle problem he picked up against Burton Albion, and had to come home from international duty to get treatment. Loris Karius is back in training after breaking his hand, but Simon Mignolet will start in goal.
Lucas Leiva is back in contention after shaking off a hamstring injury, and Sadio Mane is free to play after a fitness scare on international duty with Senegal. Philippe Coutinho may be a bit jetlagged after playing for Brazil this week but should be fit to play.
Leicester have no fresh injury concerns for the game, and are at full strength, with Nampalys Mendy returning from an ankle problem and Kasper Schmeichel fit after his injury scare against Swansea.
Predicted line ups
Liverpool look as if they have been lacking a defensive midfielder at the start of the season, and the return to fitness of Lucas Leiva may just give Klopp the idea of putting more protection in against the counter attack. However, expect Jordan Henderson to continue as the deepest lying midfielder and James Milner at left-back as the Reds will likely keep the same side which drew with Tottenham.
Leicester have new signing Islam Slimani available for selection for the first time, but Ranieri may wish to utilise him from the bench and start with Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okozaki up top. The other issue of the Italian’s concerns who to play with Danny Drinkwater in central midfield. Andy king struggled against Hull, Nampalys Mendy has been injured, so expect Daniel Amartey, who played very well there against Swansea, to come in.
[sfve id1=”84″ id2=”85]
Liverpool won the corresponding last season in spite of the difference in form, and predicting them is almost impossible this time out. Leicester’s counter attacking style should lend itself well to facing the Reds at Anfield. The opening of the new main stand should add a feel good factor to the side, but whether they have enough to break the champions down is a different matter entirely. A draw would be a better result for Leicester than Liverpool, but it could well be the most likely outcome.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by digirose