Reds need win at Leicester to get back on track
The next seven days could prove to be pivotal in Liverpool’s season. Winless in their last four games, Jurgen Klopp’s side were eliminated from the League Cup in midweek by Leicester City but have an opportunity this weekend to exact revenge for that defeat when they once again travel to the King Power Stadium to face Craig Shakespeare’s side.
Another defeat would turn a blip into a borderline crisis but a win would set the Reds up nicely for two more away games this week before everything comes to a halt once more for an another untimely international break.
On home soil, Leicester have proved a tough nut to crack for Liverpool under Klopp. Three trips to the King Power have resulted in three defeats, although the German has had more joy against Leicester at Anfield, winning both games including a 4-1 drubbing of the Foxes last season.
Liverpool’s task has been made more difficult this weekend by injuries to three of Klopp’s first choice back four. Nathaniel Clyne has been missing all season but centre backs Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are also expected to sit out Saturday’s game.
If they are also ruled out of the trip to Moscow in midweek then Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez will have to continue in the centre of defence. Should anything happen to either of those, then we’re looking at Emre Can at centre half again, and no-one wants to see that.
Having been held to a draw by Sevilla in their opening group fixture, Liverpool can ill afford a defeat in Russia although it’s not essential that they win either. Klopp will have to rotate his squad over the next three fixtures and we may see a significantly different side take to the field in Moscow compared to that which faces Leicester on Saturday and Newcastle a week later.
Klopp can at least welcome back attacking re-enforcements this weekend in the shape of Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Mo Salah. Sadio Mané has one more game of his suspension to serve but then the Reds will be back to full strength in attack.
The latest Premier League betting has the Reds slipping to 25/1 to win the title this year. Just a few weeks ago they were as low as 10/1 but defeat to Manchester City and a draw with Burnley has seen the drift right out.
If Klopp’s men can win at Leicester this weekend and then follow it up with victory at St James’ Park, that would put them right back on track and send those odds tumbling back down.
For that to happen their forwards will need to rediscover their goal touch and the defence need to avoid the kind of costly errors that have plagued them so far this season. Liverpool have conceded 16 goals in just nine games in all competitions.
That needs to change but with so many injuries to senior defenders there is even more emphasis than normal on the attacking players delivering the goods.
Leicester are tough opponents but if the Reds can get the first goal there’s no reason to think they can’t pick up all maximum points and end their mini slump.