Juergen Klopp and his sluggers will be pulling no punches as they look to assert their dominance, in their first home game of the season. Claudio, in order to get a favourable result, must factor in these three points, when he puts his charges through the paces.
#1 The Daunting Home Support
The crowd plays a tangibly-intangible role in deciding the course of a game. And that particular factor has been factored most often at Anfield than any other ground across the land. With the newly-installed 18k seater Main Stand, one of the most vociferous stadiums in the land will be accommodating around 54, 000 fans – the noise is going to be nerve-wracking, the atmosphere, electric.
Leicester City need the early goal to quieten the home support, or the pressure will mount, insurmountably. Juergen Klopp and his charges will have no intention of holding back, and an attacking line-up is likely to be fielded, with Phil Coutinho, Bob Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Daniel Sturridge – giving the Foxes ample opportunity to hit the Merseysiders on the break.
#2 The Inexperience of Daniel Amartey
Juergen Klopp would instruct the Samba boys, Phil Coutinho and Bob Firmino to dovetail at every given opportunity and leave the 21-year-old Ghanian in a tizzy. With Liverpool inevitably fielding a 3-man midfield, the situation may arise where Drinkwater may be overwhelmed, and Amartey having to be at two places at once. With Mendy out with an ankle injury, the enormity of the task may unsettle the young man who has N’Golo Kante-sized boots to fill.
There is also the case of Jordan Henderson to be factored in. Having been largely ordinary since coming back from his own ankle injury, is slowly beginning to reassert and redefine himself into a role of a tireless, midfield hustler. Klopp is expected to play a 4-3-3, with the England international being paired with a returning Lucas Leiva, complemented by Bob Firmino as the shuttler, who supplies the attacking momentum, linking the midfield to the attack, and vice versa. With the very real possibility of being overrun, Ranieri may be tempted to deviate from his working model, and put another man in there, to relieve the pressure and emboldening their style of play.
#3 Is It Too Soon For Slimani?
Islam Slimani would be the perfect candidate to pair Jamie Vardy with vs Liverpool, taking into account the brittle backbone the Merseysiders have exhibited for the better part of a decade, against centre-forwards who take to centre-backs, as bulls in heat take to China shops.
Chiselled for the Premier League while he is, the tempo of the game (and it could be the 100mph football that Klopp takes pride in) could be a rude surprise for the former Sporting Lisbon man, something that could dent his confidence. Subbing him on when there are tired legs about could be ideal, while persisting with Okazaki seems the safer way to go.