Thursday, October 19, 2017

Prediction: Leicester City vs Liverpool


Verdict: Both Teams to Score – Yes

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: bet365

Ding Ding, round 2. This weekend’s late kick off in the Premier League sees Leicester City host Liverpool at the King Power Stadium for the second time this week.

Leicester

After fielding a weekend side and still running 2-0 winners against Liverpool in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie, Craig Shakespeare and his Leicester side will be going into this game in high spirits. That midweek was the third home win on the trot for the Foxes over Liverpool; a statistic that will surely give them even more confidence going into Saturday’s clash.

A key moment in the Carabao Cup tie was no doubt the introduction of Shinji Okazaki early in the second half. The Japanese forward scored one and proved an all round nuisance to the Liverpool defence.

His forward partner in that game, Islam Slimani, also found the net with a glorious left-footed strike. This leaves manager Shakespeare with a dilemma over who partners the returning Jamie Vardy for the game on Saturday.

Team News

Jamie Vardy, Christian Fuchs and Harry Maguire should return after missing the midweek game, but Matty James is still missing after making a promising start to the campaign.

Riyad Mahrez should be back to the starting 11 as well, with Shakespeare’s only real decision being which one of Okazaki, Slimani or summer signing Kelechi Iheanacho joins Vardy in attack.

Liverpool

You could be forgiven for thinking it was the same old story for Liverpool on Tuesday night; dominant in possession, forceful in attack, but still as naive as ever at the back. For the most that statement is correct, however there was one glowing light for Liverpool in that game.  

That bright light was the first-half performance of Philippe Coutinho, who made his first start for the Merseyside club this season.

Liverpool were completely dominant in the first-half, with Coutinho the fulcrum for all their positive play. The aforementioned introduction of Okazaki was a huge turning point in the game, but the withdrawal of Coutinho by his manager Jurgen Klopp at half time also played a key part.

Without the Brazilian cleverly finding space beyond the Leicester midfield duo, Liverpool lacked any real guile or creativity in possession, and thus, were unable to break through the home side’s resilient backline.

Team News

Emre Can, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren all face late fitness tests ahead of the game, with Klopp potentially facing a defensive crisis; (like it’s not been bad enough this season).

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be handed his second start for the club with Can a doubt, while Ragnar Klavan looks set to continue in the heart of the defence.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Liverpool are on a run of four games without a win, with their last victory coming on the 27th August against Arsenal
  • Jaime Vardy is just one goal behind Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku at the top of the Premier League scoring charts
  • A defeat could see Liverpool drop into the bottom half of the table
  • Vardy’s pace is going to cause havoc in what is an already shaky Liverpool backline. If Matip misses out through injury expect Vardy to really enjoy himself

Conclusion

This game could be an absolute cracker. Leicester always like to put on a show for their home fans and Liverpool only know one way to play. Expect goals, poor defending and potentially a red card.

Verdict: Both Teams to Score – Yes

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: bet365

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