MX23RW : Wednesday, October 28 11:41:51| >> :60:1217:1217:
Oct 5, 2019 at 3pm UK at Anfield
LeicesterLeicester City
Mane (40'), Milner (95' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Maddison (80')

Preview: Liverpool vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League showdown between Liverpool and Leicester City, including team news, predictions and head-to-head records.

Brendan Rodgers returns to Anfield on Saturday afternoon for the first time since leaving Liverpool when his high-flying Leicester City side come to town.

Both teams have made impressive starts to the season, with Liverpool still perfect in the league after seven games and Leicester sitting third in the table.

Match preview

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Rodgers will likely be warmly received at Anfield on his first return to the stadium, having gone a long way to laying the foundations for the success which has followed under his successor Jurgen Klopp.

The Northern Irishman was sometimes a figure of ridicule during his time in the Liverpool dugout, but he took the Reds back into the Champions League and to within a whisker of the Premier League title before leaving in October 2015.

Rodgers's reputation when leaving was perhaps lower than it should have been, but he has firmly rebuilt that now following a trophy-laden spell at Celtic and a very promising start to life as Leicester boss.

Indeed, since he was appointed only Liverpool and Manchester City have picked up more points in the Premier League - a statistic which proves that Leicester's current position of third in the table is no fluke.

The Foxes actually have more points now than they did at the same stage of their unforgettable title-winning season and, while the relentless standard of the 2019-20 leading pack makes a repeat of that miracle highly unlikely, a top-six or even top-four challenge looks entirely within their capability.

Certainly, they will expect to hold their own against any of the traditional big boys - they have already beaten Tottenham Hotspur and drawn with Chelsea this season - and will therefore have more belief than most that they can pull off an upset at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on October 2, 2019© Reuters

Plenty of teams have tried and failed to do that in recent times, though, and an away game against Liverpool is arguably the toughest assignment in world football at the moment.

The stats suggest just that - Liverpool's 43-match unbeaten league run at Anfield is the longest current streak in Europe's top five leagues and the second-longest in their history, after only a 63-game streak between February 1978 and December 1980.

The fact that that run was ended by Leicester will not be lost on the more studious of football historians, but Klopp's side do look almost unstoppable at home right now, winning their last 12 Anfield outings across all competitions.

That streak, which is their best since 16 in a row in 1985, did come under serious threat in midweek, though, with Red Bull Salzburg almost pulling off exactly the type of Champions League comeback Liverpool themselves have become famous for.

It looked as though Liverpool might rival Bayern Munich's scoring prowess when they raced into a 3-0 lead inside 36 minutes, only for Salzburg to produce a remarkable fightback and restore parity. Eventually the Reds did secure the win through Mohamed Salah's strike, but it was a game which went a long way to damaging the aura of invincibility around Klopp's side at Anfield.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their fourth goal against Red Bull Salzburg on October 2, 2019© Reuters

It remains to be seen whether Leicester are brave enough to give it as much of a go as a Salzburg side playing in what could be the biggest game in a lot of their careers, but it would have given the Foxes confidence that an open, expansive style can still hurt a Liverpool side that usually relishes such space.

Ultimately, though, it was another win for the Merseysiders - their fourth in a row and 10th from their last 11 outings, including a perfect record of seven wins from seven in the Premier League.

Another win this weekend would ensure that they go into the second international break of the season with at least a five-point lead at the top, which would be a welcome cushion to have considering they face bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in their next outing after this one.

Matches against Genk, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are also to come in a difficult October, although Liverpool will go into every game now expecting to win, having chalked up 16 victories in a row in the Premier League.

Only Manchester City under Pep Guardiola a couple of years ago have ever recorded a better run in English top-flight football, meaning that a win on Saturday would enable Liverpool to equal that mark of 18 successive wins at Old Trafford.

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring for Leicester City on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Leicester, incidentally, lost on a recent visit to Old Trafford themselves, but that is their only defeat in any competition all season and they have now won four of their last five league games.

The most recent of those saw them put 10-man Newcastle United to the sword in a 5-0 drubbing at the King Power Stadium last weekend, making it nine goals without reply in their last two outings across all competitions.

If there is a concern - or at least a notable area for improvement - for Leicester right now then it is their away form, with the Foxes winning just one of their last five league games on the road compared to seven wins and just one defeat in their last 10 at home.

Leicester have also lost 11 and won none of their last 13 Premier League games against sides beginning the day at the top of the table, last winning such a match against Manchester United in January 1998.

Should Rodgers end that wretched run then he would join Roy Hodgson as the only men to have managed Liverpool and then beaten them away from home in the Premier League with a different team, but he knows as well as anyone just how difficult that task is.

Liverpool Premier League form: WWWWWW
Liverpool form (all competitions): WLWWWW

Leicester Premier League form: DWWLWW
Leicester form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Team News

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker goes down injured against Norwich on August 9, 2019© Reuters

Liverpool could potentially welcome first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker back into their side for this one, having been without the FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year since the opening day of the season.

Klopp has confirmed that the Brazilian will be monitored in the buildup to the game, although if there is any lingering doubt over his fitness then Liverpool could wait until after the upcoming international break.

Joel Matip will also be held back for this match after picking up a knock against Sheffield United last weekend, forcing him out of the Salzburg game, where his absence was felt by Liverpool. Joe Gomez should continue to deputise for him.

The other places seemingly up for grabs are in midfield; Naby Keita came on as a very late sub against Salzburg and may be hopeful of starting alongside Fabinho, although the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana are also competing for places.

Sadio Mane is one Premier League goal away from 50 for Liverpool, and should he get it in what will be his 100th appearance for the club then he would be the 10th player to reach that landmark - more than any other club.

Leicester have an in-form marksman of their own, though, with Jamie Vardy's brace against Newcastle taking him up to five in seven games this season and 14 in 17 since Rodgers's first game at the helm - more than any other player in the Premier League during that time.

The former England international usually enjoys himself against Liverpool too, with only Andrew Cole and Thierry Henry scoring more times against the Reds in the Premier League era and only Sergio Aguero having a better goals-per-game ratio against the 'big six' since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Vardy is by no means the only one who has impressed under Rodgers, though, and Leicester will be particularly boosted by the return of James Maddison after he missed the win over Newcastle last weekend.

Maddison has been linked with Liverpool, among other clubs, courtesy of his fine form and should come straight back into the team despite such a convincing win without him last time out.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Perez, Maddison, Ndidi, Tielemans, Barnes; Vardy

Head To Head

Liverpool have not lost a home league game against Leicester since May 2000, winning six of their eight such meetings with the Foxes since then.

Leicester did manage to come away with a 1-1 draw from the corresponding fixture in January, though, ending a run of three successive league defeats at the hands of the Reds.

Should they become the first English side to take points off Liverpool this season then it would be the first time they have avoided defeat against the Anfield outfit in back-to-back matches since 2000.

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We say: Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

Liverpool's form has not been quite as emphatic as their results suggest - they could have easily dropped points in games against Southampton, Chelsea, Sheffield United and Salzburg - but they do keep finding ways to win.

Leicester will be a very difficult test - arguably their hardest of the domestic season so far in terms of the form book - and should have enough about them to get a goal at Anfield, but we are once again backing Liverpool to get the job done.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Leicester?

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Liverpool defender Joel Matip pictured on September 14, 2019
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