At the start of the year, Liverpool had an opportunity to sit atop the Premier League table with a 10-point cushion. That opportunity, however, was squandered as the Reds lost to Manchester City and the gap was reduced to four points. With Man City’s loss to Newcastle last night, however, Liverpool have another chance to be in pole position for the 2018-19 Premier League title, as they host Leicester City tonight at Anfield.
The importance of this match cannot be stressed further for Jurgen Klopp and his men. A seven-point gap over the defending champions will provide breathing space for Liverpool. Something that is definitely required considering Liverpool will be embroiled in a tough Champions League round with Bayern Munich in February.
With Manchester City’s loss, Liverpool will be entering this game with both relief and pressure. Relief due to the fact that a negative result will not damage their title aspirations. Pressure, due to the fact that a win tonight could settle the title race.
The Reds have won four out their last five Premier League games. The sole loss was the one to Man City at the Etihad Stadium in January. Worryingly, however, for Klopp and co., Liverpool have not played at the highest level since that loss. They won 1-0 against Brighton and then survived a wild game against Crystal Palace, winning 4-3. In this duration, Jurgen Klopp’s side was also knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves.
Leicester City, meanwhile, are undergoing a torrid run of form. The Foxes have only won two in their last five Premier League games and lost three. In between this run, Leicester were also eliminated from the FA Cup by League Two side, Newport County.
It, however, should be noted that Leicester City did record back-to-back wins against heavyweights, Chelsea and Manchester City. So, a shock result isn’t exactly off the books.
Last time out and Leicester’s poor head-to-head record
The Merseysiders defeated Leicester City 2-1 in their previous encounter this season at the King Power Stadium. Goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 2-1 lead at half-time. Leicester reduced the lead via a goal from Rachid Ghezzal but were unable to go for the jugular and tie the game.
Liverpool have only lost one Premier League game against Leicester in their previous five encounters. That one was a 2-3 loss at the King Power stadium last season. That has been Leicester’s sole win against Liverpool in their last 12 games. Liverpool have won the other 11.
For Liverpool, Joe Gomez will not be taking any part in this match. The English defender’s ankle injury is not recovering at the pace first expected. He is likely to be out for a few more weeks.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum have recovered from their knee injuries. It is, however, unlikely that they will start tonight’s game.
James Milner will be missing the match due to the red card he received in the last match against Crystal Palace.
For Leicester, there is concern around Harry Maguire’s fitness but expect Claude Puel to start his best central defender. Daniel Amartey, on the other hand, is ruled out due to an ankle ailment.