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10 key things to know ahead of Leicester vs. Liverpool

Liverpool make the trip to a depleted Leicester side on Tuesday evening with only a win acceptable, in order to keep in touch with Man City.

The Reds beat the Foxes in the League Cup in stunning fashion last week, prevailing on penalties after a frenetic 3-3 draw at Anfield.

Next up for Jurgen Klopp‘s side is an away league clash with Leicester on Tuesday, as Brendan Rodgers’ side look for revenge.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.

 

1. Leicester continue their struggles

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Leicester City's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester have just missed out on Champions League football in the past two seasons, but they are struggling this time around.

Former Liverpool manager Rodgers is having a tough time juggling injuries, European football and defensive woes, with their 6-3 loss at Man City on Boxing Day summing up their issues.

The Foxes are 10th in the table and already 13 points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal, albeit with two games in hand.

Liverpool must be ruthless at the King Power, making the most of both their superiority and the fact they have had a longer rest since their last game.

 

2. Maddison a man in form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates after scoring his side's second penalty of the shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A number of Leicester players have failed to find top gear in 2021/22, but one of their bright sparks has been James Maddison.

After a noticeable dropoff last year, the Englishman has been back to his best of late, producing a superb performance against City despite the end result.

Maddison has scored six goals and registered five assists in his last eight appearances, including a stunner in front of the Kop last week.

He is the man to be wary of on Tuesday evening.

 

3. Who’s available for Leicester?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 1, 2019: Leicester City's Youri Tielemans during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Everton FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester have been hit hard by Covid in recent weeks, with a host of important players ruled out of action at different times.

Those problems are easing, however, and the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy could start after being left out of the starting lineup away to City.

The injury list is brutal, though, with Ricardo Pereira out for a lengthy period after being on the receiving end of a late tackle by Tyler Morton in the League Cup clash.

James Justin, Caglar Soyuncu, Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand, Harvey Barnes and Patson Daka are all still out, too.

Possible Leicester XI: Schmeichel; Daley-Campbell, Amartey, Vestergaard, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans, Soumare; Perez, Iheanacho, Vardy

 

4. Who’s out for Liverpool?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 8, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have no new fresh injury concerns, with Nat Phillips (cheekbone) and Harvey Elliott (ankle) sidelined until the New Year.

Divock Origi is also likely to miss out, as the Belgian continues to recover from a knee problem.

However, the Reds are boosted by the return of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Thiago and Curtis Jones, having completed their isolation period.

Klopp has confirmed that “one young player and two staff [members] are now isolating”, though, as the virus continues to cause issues.

Andy Robertson is serving the second of his three-match ban, following his red card at Tottenham.

 

5. Predicted Liverpool starting lineup

Legs should be well-rested after the Boxing Day clash with Leeds was postponed, so Liverpool will be as close to full strength as possible.

Assuming Klopp feels Van Dijk and Fabinho are match fit, the influential pair will return to the side, with Joel Matip expected to partner the former in defence.

Kostas Tsimikas will come in for Robertson, while Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are pushing for starts after excellent showings against Leicester in the League Cup.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota are all available and expected to make up the front three, but fit-again Roberto Firmino is also an option.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Mane, Jota

 

6. Klopp calls for five subs

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Monday, Klopp said it is time for all Premier League clubs to realise that five substitutions is for the best:

“We have to put competition aside and don’t say ‘OK, City has better subs than Southampton, we have better subs than Burnley‘ or whatever.

“Yes, that’s probably true – whatever that means exactly, because it’s still Premier League and they can still cause us problems.

“But if you talk about the quality, without playing, just the transfer market and all these kinds of things, then that’s the case.

“The problem is, obviously, this intensity. For a top-class footballer in England, it’s definitely on the edge.”

As always, there’s no selfishness from the Liverpool manager – he genuinely cares about the welfare of all players.

 

7. Hit-and-miss record at Leicester

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates scoring the fourth goal with team-mates captain Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool haven’t had things their own way at the King Power in recent years, with results often difficult to predict.

A 3-1 defeat there back in February came during a shocking period for Klopp’s men – a time when key defenders were injured, stadiums were empty and nothing was going their way.

The Reds won 4-0 at the Foxes in the title-winning season, however, in what may always go down as the defining performance of that campaign.

It was a near-perfect display in what looked like a potential banana skin, showing that nobody could touch Liverpool that year.

In total, Liverpool have won three of their last five at the King Power, losing twice.

 

8. Did you know?

Kostas Tsimikas, team celebration, Arsenal (Image: Peter Byrne, Alamy)

Tsimikas is set to start on Tuesday and one eye-catching statistic concerning the Greek bodes well going into the game.

The left-back has started four Premier League matches this season – not only have Liverpool won every one, but they also haven’t conceded a single goal.

It started with the 3-0 victory at Norwich in August – Tsimikas registered an assist the day – before the 2-0 triumph at home to Burnley the following weekend.

Crystal Palace were dispatched of 3-0 at Anfield with the 25-year-old in the team, while Arsenal were beaten 4-0 on Merseyside last month.

 

9. Oliver in charge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: referee Michael Oliver sends his assistant off the field for a replacement battery delaying the start of the second half during the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Michael Oliver will take charge of Tuesday’s meeting, with the 36-year-old generally considered the best in England.

He has only refereed one Liverpool match so far this season – the aforementioned 4-0 win at home to Arsenal, in which he showed yellow cards to Fabinho and Mane.

Meanwhile, Stuart Attwell is on VAR duty at the King Power.

 

10. A rare Amazon Prime offering

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 11, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tuesday’s action will be live on Amazon Prime, with kickoff at 8pm (GMT).

That hopefully means those not fortunate enough to be at the game will be treated to the commentating brilliance of Ally McCoist.

Alternately, our TIA matchday live blog is available from 7.15pm, with Henry Jackson keeping you company throughout the evening.

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