Leicester City welcome a stuttering Liverpool side to the King Power stadium, flying high after Kelechi Iheanacho’s 94th minute winner propelled them beyond Brighton and into the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
Before I really get into this game; I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Jurgen Klopp, whose mother sadly passed away last week. Not being able to attend her funeral must have been extremely hard, and I extend my deepest sympathies to him and his family.
His Liverpool side enjoyed a rare midweek off following their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, so are probably healthier than they’ve been in a while.
Not healthy enough, however, to see the return of any of their regular central defenders. Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are all ruled out for most, if not all, of the rest of the season, whilst this game comes too soon for makeshift centre-back Fabinho to make the squad.
It could mean a debut for Schalke-loanee Ozan Kabak or former Preston man Ben Davies, both of whom Klopp opted not to use in that drubbing at the hands of the league leaders.
The absence of Fabinho, who has filled in so well at the back this season, poses a difficult conundrum for the German manager. With the inexperienced Nat Phillips and midfielder Jordan Henderson having also played in those central roles of late.
The Reds aren’t the only ones suffering either, as Leicester also have defensive issues of their own – with Wesley Fofana, James Justin and Timothy Castagne have all been ruled out of Saturday’s early kick-off.
Thankfully for the Foxes it comes at a time when Çağlar Söyüncü and Ricardo Pereira have just returned from their own respective injury lay-offs, while Jamie Vardy will be fit enough to start at the other end.
The striker, who has notched 11 times in 16 starts this term, played 62 minutes of their midweek FA Cup tie, so will be expected to lead the line once again here.
With the way this one is shaping up in terms of personnel, it’d be a real surprise if we were to see a low-scoring game here.
With that in mind, I’ll be taking Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals at evens with bet365 as my play here.
Eight of the last nine Premier League meetings between these sides has seen Over 2.5 Goals, whilst seven of those nine games have also seen both sides scoring.
I will also be having a small dabble on a cards play, but it is entirely dependent on starters. If they both start, I’ll be taking Thiago Alcantara and Christian Fuchs to be booked at 20/1 with bet365.
Thiago is Liverpool’s most prolific fouler, committing an average of 2.5 fouls per game. He’s been booked in two of his last four starts, and got away with three fouls apiece in the ones in which he wasn’t.
Fuchs, who could start at left-back in the absence of both Justin and Castagne, picked up four bookings in his eight starts earlier in the season and will likely be up against Mohammed Salah today.
If Fuchs doesn’t start, I would take Thiago to be carded as a single at 7/2 with bet365.