Leicester vs Liverpool
| Tuesday, December 28th |
Premier League | King Power Stadium
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Following an injury time equaliser and penalty shootout win in a come-from-behind performance last week, Liverpool face off with Leicester for the second time in six days, but in an entirely different context.
While Liverpool’s scheduled clash with Leeds on Boxing Day was postponed due to covid in the Leeds camp, Leicester played their game against Manchester City, taking a 6-3 drubbing, and will host the Reds on only two days rest. Furthermore, Brendan Rodgers will be missing anywhere from nine to twelve players through injury and illness, including the recently returned Ricardo Pereira, who found himself at the receiving end of a dreadful Tyler Morton challenge on Wednesday.
As such, it looks like a rough deal for the former Liverpool manager, whose team have backslid dramatically this year and are closer to relegation than they are to the top four spot they had been eyeing for consecutive seasons previously.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Mané, Jota, Salah
Liverpool won’t mind their opposition’s troubles, though, and have not only had nearly a full week’s rest since punching their ticket to the League Cup semi-finals, but will welcome back a quartet of players who had missed time following positive covid tests.
Virgil van Dijk will reclaim his spot in the back four, alongside either Joël Matip or Ibrahima Konaté, and while Trent Alexander-Arnold is just about guaranteed to start, Andrew Robertson will miss out through suspension, meaning Kostas Tsimikas will make his 11th start of the season.
In midfield, both Fabinho and Thiago have been cleared as well, and are likely to start, with Jordan Henderson the probable third man, although Curtis Jones, Naby Keïta, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all healthy and available should the manager opt for a surprise.
Up top, Diogo Jota has established himself as the first choice alongside Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah and should start again, while Roberto Firmino is likely to get substitute minutes as he continues to play himself back into shape following his hamstring injury.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “I expect Leicester will fight with all they have because that’s how they are, but we want to go there to get a result as well so we will fight as well. That’s it. How good the game will be in the end, we will see. But we are going there to win the game, which is difficult enough.”
Brendan Rodgers: “It’s a huge challenge for us but we’ll keep fighting. They’re a top, top team; one of the best teams in the world. Their system won’t change so much, but the players will do.“
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant referees: Simon Long, Scott Ledger
Fourth official: David Coote
VAR: Stuart Attwell, Mark Scholes.
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM 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.