This is going to be one hell of a match, and perhaps, for Liverpool, one of the most important matches of their season, as they look to set the account straight, right from the off, in their first home game at Anfield. While both the teams have similar records, having drawn 1, won 1 and lost 1, it will be Merseysiders would be coming out rip-roaring out the blocks, as the occasion demands them to. Jürgen Klopp and his charges have a reputation of playing out their skin in matches as such, and the wily ol’ Ranieri would know, that if his team need to come out of this with a point or three, there will three absolutely essential skirmishes them must win.
Joel Matip vs Islam Slimani
Leicester City are head-hunting for a new head scout, and Liverpool’s ex-headhunter, Eduardo Macia may find his way to replace Steve Walsh who departed for Everton. While now with the blue side of Merseyside, Steve-o’s lingering influence may be felt across Stanley Park, with £29 million club record signing, Islam Slimani stomping around the turf at Anfield. Fi fie fo fum, and what not, the 6’1″ would be looking to crash Liverpool’s grand unveiling of the grand Main Stand.
The big lug of a centre-forward could prove to be an ideal foil for the speedy Vardy, and would be looking to tear into the paper Liverpool have had over their cracks. The Merseysiders have struggled with strikers with the quality of the Algerian, in the past. Be it Mark Viduka, Andy Carroll, Dean Ashton, Kenwyne Jones, or Carlton Cole, anyone who dominates the opponent box will have a half chance at Anfield.
Standing in Islam’s way is 6’4” worth of flesh, bones and style, in Cameroon’s Joel Matip. Named after Billy Joel, after his dad wooed his mum with the rendition of Uptown Girl (you didn’t actually believe that, did you?), the new boy has conceded that, despite his vertical capacity, he’d find it hard in the physicality of the league. This one proves to be an intriguing competition, whoever comes out on top (literally), may decide the match.
Roberto Firmino vs Daniel Amartey
How would you describe Bob Firmino? For the most part of a match, he seems abjectly ordinary, and leaves opponent fans and his marker wondering what all the fuss is about. “They paid, what, 30 million quid for that top-knot?! Heck, they ought to put me barber on, he’d do a better job!” And the moment you finish making that observation, you observe that the boy Bob is in the box, and out of nowhere, prods the ball into the back of the net. “He’s a ninja, mate. You’d be right.
21-year-old Daniel Amartey’s work is cut out for him as is, with Leicester fans expecting him to fill the N’Golo Kanté-shaped hole in their midfield, in the absence of Mendy. Defensive midfielders would vouch that’s always easier for them to halt a box-to-box midfielder or a playmaker to a spot by simply putting a well-placed, and well-timed foot out, but boy Bob is a strange one. He does most of his work and running off the ball, and his sudden Here-Comes-Johnny-With-His-Power-And-Glory act needs to be kept under strict anonymity for the full 90 minutes. Even then, he might just use the time added on to sneak a goal in.
Keep your eyes peeled, Amartey lad.
Sadio Mane vs Christian Fuchs
The Austrian skipper, on more than one occasion, was advised to join Schalke last June, by then Leicester boss, Nigel Pearson. Then sunbathing in an Antiguan beach, with #NoFuchsGiven, he got a call that’d make everything fall into place. Pearson was sacked and the rest history.
Sadio Mane’s rags to riches to story wasn’t as laid back or European. Well, because, he’s African, and Senegalese, and forgive the stereotypes, but that struggle made him the type of footballer he is.
Both blessed with the gift of Hermes (HerMes, the fleet-footed Greek God, not the venereal disease), their styles couldn’t be more yin-yang. Sadio will be harassing his man at every given opportunity, with a dogged determination of African Bull Elephant in heat, while Fuchs, the cool, calculated European, would need to snipe him down. (If this sounds terribly racist, or anti-Elephants, it wasn’t meant to be.)
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