Table-toppers Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Wednesday after a well-timed break, with Leicester making the trip to Anfield.
Liverpool vs. Leicester
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – 8pm (GMT)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
It feels like a lifetime ago that the Reds were beating Crystal Palace 4-3 in thrilling fashion, keeping their four-point lead over Man City in tact.
Jurgen Klopp and his players have returned to Merseyside after a trip to Dubai, allowing them to find optimal fitness ahead of the business end of the season.
Every test that comes Liverpool’s way is being hurdled and to have retained a 100 per cent against non-top-six teams this season is an incredible effort.
It’s Leicester up next on Wednesday – a side capable of hurting the top clubs on their day, but also one struggling for form, having lost three matches in a row.
The Foxes could be on the verge of a change of manager, with Claude Puel clinging to his job after the last-gasp defeat at Wolves in their last game.
Puel has caused Klopp problems in the past, particularly at Southampton, but the Reds boss has turned his side into Liverpool’s best in 30 years.
It should be three more points to their total, with Anfield continuing to be a fortress, but this is where the pressure cranks up a notch.
This fixture last season: Liverpool 2-1 Leicester
Liverpool’s injury worries have eased in comparison to their pre-Dubai situation, but they are still without key individuals.
Both Trent Alexander and Joe Gomez will play no part in proceedings, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster continue their recovery from long-term knee problems.
James Milner is suspended after his late sending off against Palace, leaving the Reds short at right-back.
Youngster Rafa Camacho is an option there, but it is more likely that Fabinho will revert to the role he adopts regularly for Brazil.
Dejan Lovren is fit again and will compete with Joel Matip to start alongside Virgil van Dijk, should the Dutchman fully overcome illness, as is expected.
Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum look like certainties to start, especially with Fabinho potentially at right-back, but out-of-form Naby Keita may have to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench.
If Klopp opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation, Xherdan Shaqiri and Sadio Mane will operate on either flank, with Roberto Firmino in the No.10 role behind Mohamed Salah.
Puel almost has a fully fit squad to choose from, after Harry Maguire recovered in time for the game. Daniel Amartey is out, though.
Last 5 at Home to Leicester (All Competitions)
Won 2-0 – December 2017 (Salah x2; Vardy)
Won 4-1 – September 2016 (Firmino x2, Mane, Lallana; Vardy)
Won 1-0 – December 2015 (Benteke)
Drew 2-2 – January 2015 (Gerrard pens x2; Nugent, Schlupp)
Won 2-1 – September 2003 (Owen pen, Heskey; Bent)
Did You Know?
Jamie Vardy has blossomed into an established international player after a late career resurgence and Liverpool know all about the threat he poses.
The 32-year-old has scored seven times against the Reds in the Premier League, including goals on his last two visits to Anfield.
The only players to breach Liverpool’s goal more times in the league are Thierry Henry (8) and Andy Cole (11).
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 4-3 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 1-0 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-1 vs. Wolves
Lost 2-1 vs. Man City
Won 5-1 vs. Arsenal
Leicester – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 4-3 vs. Wolves
Lost 2-1 vs. Southampton
Lost 2-1 vs. Newport
Won 1-0 vs. Everton
Lost 1-0 vs. Cardiff
Speaking to reporters at Melwood on Tuesday, Klopp was wary of the dangerous Vardy, as well as other attack-minded Leicester players:
“His quality, the speed he has, the finishing skills he has – he’s a fantastic striker.
“He’s more involved in defending than in the past, which doesn’t make it easier to defend against him, to be honest.
“He is a massive threat but he’s not the only one in that team.
“(James) Maddison is a really, really good player, not only on set-pieces, as well as (Demarai) Gray, (Ricardo) Pereira and (Mark) Albrighton.
“It’s experienced and skilful.”
TV & Live Blog Info
After back-to-back Saturday 3pm (GMT) kick-offs, meaning they couldn’t be televised in the UK, Liverpool are back on our screens on Wednesday.
The game is live on BT Sport 1 from 7.30pm, with the game getting underway at 8pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of our matchday live blog, bringing you build-up from 7.15pm and minute-by-minute updates during the match.