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Aldridge: Sweep the Leg

John Aldridge has urged his former club to show no mercy to struggling Leicester City on Monday.

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge wants Jürgen Klopp's side to profit from a stricken Leicester City team with three points at the King Power Stadium. The defending Premier League champions have lost five and drawn one of their six league games this year without scoring even a single goal in the process.

Leicester are one of three teams yet to win a game in the top flight since the turn of the year, which makes this a game for Liverpool to exploit the understandable nervousness in the home crowd and clear lack of confidence in players that gave so much to Claudio Ranieri last season. N'Golo Kanté moved to Chelsea last summer, Riyad Mahrez has struggled to regain his form that brought many individual accolades, and Jamie Vardy isn't having a party in front of goal this season.

"Watching Leicester recently, one thing is absolutely clear – their confidence is shot to bits," Aldridge pointed out in his Liverpool Echo column. "They've been poor in the league, and beaten by a League One team in the FA Cup at the weekend. Their belief is gone, and we are seeing that in their performances.

"I think everyone expected them to struggle in relation to last season – I thought they'd finish around mid-table – but not this badly. This is where people expected them to be in the first place! They dealt with a good kind of pressure last season, but they're struggling under a bad kind of pressure this time around. They look like a team that's going in only one direction.

"Liverpool cannot give them anything to hold onto, they cannot give them any kind of encouragement. We know what their threat is, even if they haven't used it much this season. It's Vardy and Mahrez, and the young lad Gray. Keep them quiet, defend properly and go from there.

"We have had a fortnight's rest, so they should be ready to go there and set the tone, to dominate. Yes, we know they need the points and their fans will be looking for a reaction, but if Liverpool go there and start quickly, front foot and ask questions, it could be a very profitable night for them.

"And don't forget, we need the win as badly as they do. Just for a different reason."

A problem for Liverpool may be the tactics that Leicester may adopt to secure a result that they desperately need in what has become a fight against relegation. The Foxes are only a point above the drop zone, and while the home fans probably want to be encouraged by enterprising performances, the result is what's most important. A goalless draw or a scrappy win wouldn't be unwelcome ahead of a "relegation six-pointer" at home to Hull City in the next game.

Teams that defend deep against Liverpool have not only frustrated Klopp's side but also managed to secure all three points. Whatever tactics Ranieri deploys on Monday, Liverpool must be ready to do the needful. That was the same message against Sunderland, Swansea City, and Hull City where merely a point was collected from those three games. Finishing in the top four will require greater consistency than this, especially for a fanbase where second place is no place.

Irrespective of how Leicester perform against Sevilla on Wednesday, domestic games have been an uncomfortable experience in recent since beating Manchester City 4-2 in December. One win in ten games isn't form that can be easily shaken off by a stirring and inspiring evening of European football, and that's assuming Sevilla don't show them what pain is all about.

Millwall beating Leicester doesn't mean that Liverpool will automatically do the same, but before a Ranieri revival of sorts takes place, the Reds need to strike hard and strike first for victory before waging war on Wenger. Neutrals may not want Leicester out of comission, but Liverpool must aim to make their opponents experience pain and suffer.

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