The latest international break has come up as a nightmare for Liverpool following an array of injury woes and Jurgen Klopp, the Reds chief, must be having a tough time in lining up a competitive squad against the current leaders Leicester City on Sunday night. The Foxes would challenge the champions’ record unbeaten home streak and the Anfield tie is tipped to be an engaging contest among two of England’s most exciting outfits.
While Virgil van Dijk is already ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament rupture, his central defensive partner Joe Gomez endured a knee injury [patellar tendon] during his time with England. Skipper Jordan Henderson suffered a groin strain that has sidelined him for the weekend fixture, whereas Trent Alexander-Arnold [calf] continues his recovery after leaving the pitch early against Manchester City. Mohamed Salah has been tested COVID-19 positive without symptoms and the absence of the Egyptian would be a significant blow in the attacking third. Fabinho [thigh], Thiago [knee] and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain [knee] have returned to team training and the gaffer would make a late call on whether they would be brought back into action versus Brendan Rodgers’ men. Rhys Williams [hip] and Neco Williams [knock] are expected to be available for selection shaking off their minor strains.
Predicted XI: Alisson Becker; James Milner, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson; Georginio Wijnaldum, Thiago, Naby Keita; Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino.
Leicester have received a massive boost with Wesley Fofana, Wilfried Ndidi, Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira back in the training ground. However, Daniel Amartey [hamstring] and Caglar Soyuncu [groin] are not ready yet and would require a few more days to recover.
Predicted XI: Kasper Schmeichel; Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans, Christian Fuchs; James Justin, Youri Tielemans, Nampalys Mendy, Timothy Castagne; Dennis Praet, James Maddison; Jamie Vardy.
Here Is The Liverpool vs Leicester City Tactical Preview:
Although Klopp tweaked his set-up to 4-2-3-1 against the Citizens, the absence of Salah might see him opt for a usual 4-3-3 with Diogo Jota operating more centrally starting from the right-hand side. The Portuguese would keep on changing flanks with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Xherdan Shaqiri could have been a like-for-like replacement of Salah, but the Swiss winger has been utilized as a ‘super-sub’ and deployed centrally so far in these early fixtures.
The Foxes, on the other hand, have switched to a ‘back three’ in the absence of Soyuncu. 19-year-old Fofana has been a revelation, also the wingbacks have been super active with their marauding runs, pace, flair and crossing traits. Rodgers, however, should stay patient early on against his former side and use Jamie Vardy’s pace from behind the Reds’ backline, who have often been found playing high-line dangerously.
The addition of Diogo Jota has brought in more goals to their game and the Portugal international would have to play a key role in the attacking third along with Mane. The return of Thiago would be crucial in Henderson’s absence, also Alisson Becker and Joel Matip must play the leading role at the defensive half with Gomez and Van Dijk sidelined for the rest of the season.
All eyes would be on Jamie Vardy who is in blistering scoring form and the veteran Englishman would look to trouble the hosts with his pace and agility while spearheading the Foxes attack. Also, the likes of Harvey Barnes and James Maddison might be effective from the left against 34-year-old James Milner who is likely to feature as a makeshift right-back.