The first international break of the season is over, and in its aftermath, Liverpool have to continue the form shown away to Tottenham Hotspur. Tomorrow's game against Leicester City will be followed by a trip to Stamford Bridge on Friday as part of Liverpool's difficult start to the season. The Premier League champions and a seemingly rejuvenated Chelsea should be enough to focus the minds of both players and staff tasked with pushing Liverpool on.
There's also the matter of the new Main Stand that is finally finished. Liverpool requested to swap home dates with Burnley to give as much time as possible to complete construction, which meant that Jürgen Klopp's side would not play at home in the Premier League until September. An away tie in the EFL Cup ensured that August was a month of travelling around the country in search of victory, but with an expanded Anfield waiting for its first taste of action, can Liverpool mark it with a victory?
Liverpool's Premier League story this season so far has been marked with a win, a loss, and a defeat. Four points in three games with reasons for optimism, caution, and concern.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3):
Liverpool are yet to keep a clean sheet, but Klopp's first-choice central defensive partnership of Joël Matip and Dejan Lovren will continue after featuring at White Hart Lane. Matip was particularly impressive that day. Emre Can is ruled out with an ankle injury that has been troubling him of late, and as a result, Jordan Henderson will continue in his new deeper midfield role.
Mamadou Sakho needs to find his fitness before being even considered by Klopp as an option, while Ragnar Klavan's knee injury thins centre back options further. Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo are likely to be unavailable for the rest of the month, but Loris Karius could feature in the matchday squad after returning to full training this week. Special provisions were made to fly Philippe Coutinho back early to arrive on Thursday morning with a view to featuring on Saturday.
Liverpool should continue with three in midfield and the exact same starting line-up against Tottenham. Apart from Coutinho's lengthy trip to make two substitute appearances for Brazil, there are no concerns surrounding those who started at White Hart Lane. Lallana, in particular, should be buoyed after scoring a late winner for England. There is a possibility that Daniel Sturridge finds his way into the starting line-up, but against a high-energy team like Leicester, he may be brought on later in the game.
As for Leicester City, record signing Islam Slimani is line to start up front alongside Jamie Vardy. The Algerian international joined in a deal that pushed the £30 million mark on deadline day and could pose a real threat. There's also the blistering pace of Ahmed Musa, the endless industry of Shinji Okazaki, and the power of Leonardo Ulloa for Claudio Ranieri to count on up front.
There was a doubt, however, surrounding Kasper Schmeichel's fitness after a hernia operation. The goalkeeper has been a key player for the Foxes, and although Ron-Robert Zieler is more than a capable deputy, Schmeichel is part of a defensive unit that has built up a fine understanding over the past 12 months. After struggling against Hull City, the champions have been defensively sturdier in games against Arsenal and Swansea City.
The visitors will be delighted that Schmeichel is fit but will be unable to call upon Jeffrey Schlupp (pursued relentlessly by West Bromwich Albion over the summer) and Nampalys Mendy (N'Golo Kanté's midfield replacement). Both are the visiting side's only injured players, giving Ranieri virtually a full squad to choose from after the international break.
This will be Liverpool's biggest attendance at Anfield in a generation, where victory would be a lovely way to mark the occasion. The champions shouldn't be underestimated, but Liverpool will attempt to use an Anfield crowd—urged by the manager to be as loud as possible—as a key factor in securing three points. The bigger concern, however, may be control and defensive security in midfield during crucial spells in the game.
Kickoff is set for 5.30PM BST/ 12.30PM EST tomorrow on BT Sport 1 in the UK and NBC Sports Live/NBCSN in the US. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, TSN1 and TSN5 in Canada, Star Sports 2 Asia in India, SuperSport 3 Africa in Kenya, Astro SuperSport 3 in Malaysia, and Eleven Plus Singapore in Singapore are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.