Liverpool vs Leicester City Preview: Can the Foxes end 2017 with an unlikely victory at Anfield?

Liverpool vs Leicester City Preview: Can the Foxes end 2017 with an unlikely victory at Anfield?

As 2017 draws to a close, both Liverpool and Leicester City will be looking to end the year with three valuable points when the sides meet at Anfield on Saturday.

Tom Sykes

Following an underwhelming 2-1 defeat to Watford on Boxing Day, Claude Puel's Leicester City head into the new year with a difficult trip to Liverpool on Saturday. 

The Foxes took a first-half lead at Vicarage Road, as in form Algerian Riyad Mahrez headed home a superb delivery from Marc Albrighton. The Foxes were pegged back before the break after former loanee, Molla Wague bundled home from a set piece. The Hornets should have led at half-time, but midfielder Richarlison missed a glorious opportunity having rounded Kasper Schmeichel. However, it was an own-goal from Schmeichel that condemned the Foxes to just a third defeat under Claude Puel in the league.

Liverpool head into the fixture on Saturday with confidence high, following an emphatic 5-0 demolition of bottom club Swansea City. The Reds dominated throughout and led from the sixth minute mark, when Phillipe Coutinho struck a superb curling effort into the top corner. The Reds consolidated their position in the Premier League top four, with second half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a brace from Roberto Firmino.

The fantastic four

If Leicester City are to return to the East Midlands with anything from the game, they will need to control the superb attacking quadrant within Jürgen Klopp's side, who have a combined total of 35 goals between them at just the half way stage in the 2017/18 campaign.
Egyptian midfielder, Mohammed Salah, who joined the club from AS Roma in the summer, has been arguably the player of the season so far. The highly talented 25 year-old has registered a superb 15 goals in the Premier League this season and has contributed with 7 assists. 
Brazilian pair, Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have yet again demonstrated their superb form that was evident in the 2016/17 campaign. Despite a slow start to the season, Firmino has began to pick up the goalscoring ability he has shown on a number of occasions in his spell at Anfield. He has scored five goals in his last three appearances for Liverpool.
Despite being reportedly keen on a move to Barcelona in the summer, Coutinho is in red hot form. The attacking midfielder has registered seven goals and seven assists, despite missing seven games this season through injury.
Elsewhere, the ability of Senegalese attacker, Sadio Mane is excellent. Mane has had a tricky season in comparison to his fellow teammates, but has still managed to pick up four goals despite his injury in October. 

Embed from Getty Images

Improved away form

Despite the 2-1 defeat on Boxing day to Watford, it was only the first time the Foxes had been defeated away from home under Claude Puel.
The Foxes have improved significantly on the road since the Frenchman's appointment as first-team manager in October. They have picked up a total of eight points away from home in the five games under Puel. 
In the process, the Foxes have risen to a comfortable 8th place in the top flight with 27 points from the opening 20 games, scoring 11 times away from home since November, providing hope for the Foxes faithful heading into the trip to Anfield against a Liverpool side known for the defensive lapses.

Team News

Liverpool will be without club captain, Jordan Henderson who is set to be absent until late February with a hamstring injury. The Reds will also be without full backs, Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne, who remain long-term absentees, whilst forward, Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to feature though illness.
Leicester City boss Claude Puel has confirmed that right back Danny Simpson could be sidelined for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury. Despite returning to first team training earlier this month, Robert Huth remains absent. 
Daniel Amartey will be available for selection after retuning from suspension and could be in line for a start in the absence of Simpson.

Embed from Getty Images

Predicted Line-Ups 

Liverpool - Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klaven, Robertson; Can, Wijnaldum; Mane, Coutinho, Salah; Firmino.
Leicester City - Schmeichel; Amartey, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton; Okazaki; Vardy.