Saturday, December 5, 2020

Prediction: Liverpool vs Leicester City

 

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 13/25

Bookmaker: Unibet

The Premier League is back in action after the final international break of 2020, and there are a few very interesting matches to note this weekend when it comes to the title race. Chelsea have beaten Newcastle United away and temporarily took the top spot. It’s another round between old enemies Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola when Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City do battle in north London later today (Saturday). And on Sunday, champions Liverpool will welcome their ex-manager Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City team to Anfield.

Liverpool

Liverpool are currently heavily hit by an injury crisis with manager Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice centre-back pair of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez likely out for the rest of the season and right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold picking up a problem in their match against Manchester City two weeks ago. Things got worse over the international break as captain Jordan Henderson got injured as well and forward Mohamed Salah testing positive for Covid-19.

There has been a lot of speculation over whether the Reds would dip into the market in January to sign a centre-back, with latest reports suggesting they won’t, despite links with the likes of Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig, Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli and Schalke’s Ozan Kabak.

Be that as it may, Liverpool have done extremely well since Van Dijk got injured in October, winning five of the six matches played in that time in all competitions. But with Gomez now out as well, it remains to be seen if they will be able to keep that run going. At the moment, they are in fourth place with 17 points, one less than Chelsea at the top.

In the Champions League, Liverpool top their group with three wins from three, sitting ahead of Atalanta, Ajax and Midtjylland.

Team News

The two centre-backs are out, of course, and speaking to the press ahead of the match, Klopp ruled out Henderson and Alexander-Arnold too. This game will come too soon for midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is coming close to returning after a long absence. The German, however, refused to make the call on the availability of midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara. Fabinho, if passed fit, will likely be deployed in the heart of defence with Joel Matip, and if not, it will be between youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams.

Diogo Jota is the man who will most likely replace Salah in attack.

Leicester City

The Foxes have also done very well in the league so far. At the moment, they are in second place with the same tally as Chelsea (18), and unless Spurs beat City, a draw here would be enough for them to reclaim the top spot from Frank Lampard’s team.

It’s always nice for Rodgers to return to Anfield, where he spent over three years (between the summer of 2012 and October 2015), though there won’t, of course, be any fans in the stadium to show their appreciation of the former Liverpool manager.

Leicester have been on fine form since the shocking home defeat to West Ham in early October, winning all six matches in the Premier League and the Europa League, where they also top their group with a maximum of nine points so far, ahead of Braga, AEK Athens and Zorya Luhansk.

Team News

Like Liverpool, the Foxes have had a number of injury problems, but the situation has recently improved. Fullback Timothy Castagne and centre-back Wesley Fofana should be in contention after recent problems.

On the other hand, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Daniel Amartey, as well as defenders Caglar Soyuncu and Ricardo Pereira.

Conclusion

In normal circumstances, Liverpool would always be favourites to win a game at Anfield regardless of the visiting team, but Leicester will now be looking at a real possibility of breaking the Reds’ unbeaten run of 63 league games at home. Liverpool’s makeshift defence will probably have a very hard day at the office trying to stop Jamie Vardy, who, if he scores, will equal Thierry Henry’s record of a goal in five consecutive away games in the Premier League.

However, they won’t have it easy at the other end. Even without Salah, Jota is more than capable of complementing Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and Liverpool’s attacking ranks will be strong. Regardless of who wins, we’ll likely see both sides score at least one goal.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 13/25

Bookmaker: Unibet

News Original Source

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