Liverpool vs Leicester
| Thursday, February 10th |
Premier League | Anfield
7:45PM BST / 2:45PM EST
The international break is over, the FA Cup fifth round has been won, and Liverpool are back in regular Premier League action for the first time in over two weeks.
The Reds’ reintroduction to regularly scheduled programming is a Leicester City in turmoil. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has overseen a steady decline over the past three years, and the side that went into the final day of the season in fourth place in consecutive years now sit 10th in the league, with performances to match.
The Foxes were also thoroughly and deservedly knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend by Championship side Nottingham Forest, and will be hungry to set things right, but the question remains whether their manager is up to the task.
The visitors will be without Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne and Ryan Bertrand for the clash, but Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho are expected to feature in the starting lineup.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Keïta; Diaz, Firmino, Jota
For the first time this season, Jürgen Klopp has nearly a full, healthy squad to choose from, and with a few exceptions, we should expect to see something resembling the manager’s best XI. Trent Alexander-Arnold is certain to continue his run of form at right-back, and will be mirrored by Andy Robertson on the opposite flank, while one of Joël Matip and Ibrahima Konaté will partner Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defense.
Jordan Henderson suffered a back problem at the weekend and is unlikely to feature, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to training after testing positive for Covid, Harvey Elliott is back in contention after successfully completing his rehabilitation following his injury, and Thiago is available as well, giving Klopp plenty of options. We suspect a trio of Fabinho, Thiago and Naby Keïta to start, but given his dynamic reintroduction on Sunday, a little bit of Harvey wouldn’t shock us at all.
Up top, Sadio Mané is expected to return from his AfCoN celebrations tonight, but will not partake in tomorrow’s game, and while Mohamed Salah has announced his intentions to wreak terrible vengeance on anyone in his path after failing to win the tournament, there are doubts about whether he should start on Thursday having played four consecutive 120-minute games in Cameroon.
As such, a start for Luis Díaz alongside Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino isn’t entirely out of the question, although the resurgent Takumi Minamino is also an option.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “It will be a proper football game but it is at Anfield and we should not forget that, we should try and create a special atmosphere.”
Brendan Rodgers: “We’re playing against a top team against with top players, you have to run, to work, you have to take opportunities, and then get a bit of luck. Let’s see if we can perform to a much higher level than we did at the weekend.“
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant referees: Dan Cook, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Darren England, Adrian Holmes
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM 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.