Liverpool have a game in hand and a ten point edge on their next opponents, second-place Leicester City, who they visit on Boxing Day. For the Reds, there is pressure, but the usual pressure for them—the pressure of playing as frontrunners and, increasingly, favourites.
For Leicester, there is a different kind of pressure. The pressure of needing to narrow the gap if they’re to play a part in the title race this season. The pressure of knowing that a loss makes ten points 13 with a chance of it becoming 16 with that game in hand Liverpool have.
“It’s a difficult game for us,” said manager Brendan Rodgers when asked about facing the runaway league leading Reds—and his former club. “It’s a great measure for us. We had a really good game at Anfield and we should have come out of that game with a draw.
“My focus is on brining a performance that can test Liverpool. They will come back [from winning the Club World Cup] on a real high, but we are playing at home so the intensity of the crowd can help us, and make no mistake, my players have been absolutely brilliant.”
In all the talk of and focus on Liverpool, it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge just how brilliant Leicester have been this season under Rodgers, a side without European commitments seemingly playing to its absolute maximum and rising up the table.
They’ve done it with a stellar defence, their 14 goals against tied with Liverpool for best in the league—though the Reds’ underlying numbers are better—and their 41 goals just one worse than Liverpool and good for third best in the Premier League in the 2019-20 season.
“I’m very proud of the team and their development,” Rodgers added. “But it’s only the first part of the season, we now have to push on in the second part and get better in all aspects of the game.”