Liverpool vs. Leicester City
| Saturday, September 28th |
Premier League | Anfield
3:00PM BST / 10:00AM EST
The return of Brendan Rodgers is upon us. Liverpool nearly won the league with this man. He was blessed for a time with an attacking crew of Luis Suarez and a Daniel Sturridge at the very top of his game but cursed by bad defending and a reluctance to see Steven Gerrard was a bad defensive midfielder.
After bouncing back from his Liverpool sacking in 2015, Rodgers spent three years in Scotland managing Celtic. Until Leicester City called last February. The Foxes had said their goodbyes to Claude Puel and needed Brendan stat.
Leicester finished in 9th place last season and then Rodgers had the summer to really put his stamp on the squad. Harry Maguire was sold to Manchester United for a large pile of money and Leicester spent a decent amount of that new surplus bringing in some talent.
Midfielder Youri Tielemans was brought on permanently following his loan from Monaco last season. Striker Ayoze Pérez was signed from Newcastle United. And midfielder Dennis Praet came over from Sampdoria.
Since then whatever stew Rodgers has been cooking over at Leicester is obviously doing the job. The Foxes are currently in third place in the Premier League, just two points behind Manchester City. Seven places above Manchester United.
James Madison is fit to play on Saturday, having trained this week. The midfielder suffered an ankle injury shortly after his winner against Tottenham Hotspur. He wasn’t needed in his side’s 5-0 thumping of Newcastle last weekend but Madison’s sharpness around the box will certainly be utilized to cause Jürgen Klopp team some problems.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Mané, Firmino, Salah
Liverpool will be playing to continue their winning streak. Klopp’s team has picked up maximum points in the league and sit five points ahead at the top of the table. It’s hasn’t always looked like great football and there’s only been two clean sheets in the bunch but the players have fought to get the best result in every match.
Liverpool will need all of their attacking press to thwart Leicester’s counter attack. The attacking trio of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah are all expected to face the Foxes.
Klopp’s injury issues are healing up all the time. Naby Keita is ready. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready. Divock Origi is ready. But Joël Matip is not. Joe Gomez will continue to build his connection with Virgil Van Dijk in the centre of defense. It was a rocky restart for Gomez against RB Salzburg but the young defender has already proven he can excel at the top level. He just needs to get back into form. Xherdan Shaqiri remains unavailable.
Alisson may or may not be returning. The Brazilian will be assessed and reassessed before Saturday’s kickoff. Alisson has missed all but most of the first half against Norwich City on the opening day but the injury is behind him now. Alisson has rejoined first-team training and Klopp has alluded to the possibility of the Brazilian taking up his position in goal against Leicester.
I’ve already jacked my hopes up into the stratosphere for Alisson to return. Yes, I know hopes are heavy. No, I don’t have a contingency plan. Local forecast: 25% chance of rain.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “It looks like there’s no difference [with Leicester City] to other top six teams apart from maybe the name.”
Brendan Rodgers: “I’m really looking forward to going back. I had the real privilege of managing there. So much learning took place for me at Liverpool. I always take the positives when I analyse my time there.”
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant referees: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Mike Dean
VAR: Anthony Taylor
Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM BST/10:00AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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 the action as it happens.