Liverpool vs. Leicester City
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Kick off: 8:15PM
This evening plays host to a mouth-watering showdown as Liverpool welcome Leicester City to Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have top spot and history in their sights but must first overcome a crippling injury crisis against a Leicester side that has set the early pace this season under former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
It is difficult to imagine how the international break could have gone much worse for Liverpool as Klopp’s worst fears regarding a relentless schedule played out in a seemingly never-ending series of blows.
With Virgil van Dijk already out for the bulk of the season, Trent Alexander-Arnold having limped off against Manchester City and Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara among the others sidelined, Klopp subsequently saw injury concerns raised over Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Andrew Robertson and Mohamed Salah, before even their possible back-ups began to be struck down, with Rhys Williams and Neco Williams suffering problems.
It is an injury crisis the scale of which Klopp will not have had to deal with often in his career, but he was in no mood to bemoan his side’s luck during his pre-match press conference and instead stressed the importance of making the most of the players they do have at their disposal.
The Reds have fared well without Van Dijk so far, winning five in a row before a 1-1 draw at Manchester City just before the break, but Leicester are one of the last teams they would have wanted to face in their current circumstances.
The fact that the match is at Anfield is a positive which Klopp will look to harness, though; his side are now unbeaten in 63 home league games and need just one more to set a new outright club record after equalling their previous best with victory over West Ham United in their last such game.
Ominously, that run between February 1978 and December 1980 was eventually ended by Leicester, while the Foxes are also one of only two visiting clubs to have taken any points off Liverpool at Anfield in their last 38 matches.
Liverpool have scored in each of those 38 games, which is also now a joint club-record matching a run from March 1967 to February 1969, but at the other end of the field they have conceded in each of their last six home league outings.
Indeed, Klopp’s side have conceded first in each of their last three home league games and could become the first side in Premier League history to concede first but go on to win four consecutive home matches.
Home and away, only promoted duo Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion have conceded more than the champions so far, with the Reds having only kept one clean sheet in their last 13 top-flight outings stretching back to last season.
A league-high 11 of their 16 goals conceded have come in the first half too, so Leicester will be looking to come out of the traps quickly against what is sure to be a makeshift and patched-up Liverpool defence.
Not since the final day of their miraculous and unforgettable 2015-16 title triumph have Leicester started a gameweek top of the table, and whispers have already begun as to whether they could repeat what seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.
Rodgers was quick to quell such talk, but the fact that the topic of conversation has arisen is testament to the work he has done at the King Power Stadium and how impressive they have been this season.
Indeed, Leicester have enjoyed their best-ever start to a top-flight season with 18 points from eight games – even better than that title-winning campaign – and arrive at Anfield on a run of six successive wins across all competitions.
The Foxes’ tally of six wins from their eight games is as many as they had managed in their final 22 games of last season, and four of those triumphs have come away from home, where Leicester boast a perfect record across all competitions this season.
One more win on Sunday would set a new club record of five successive top-flight away victories, and they have every reason to be confident even accounting for Liverpool’s home record, having thumped Manchester City and Leeds United either side of a rare win at Arsenal in their last three such outings.
Ending Liverpool’s three-and-a-half-year unbeaten home run would top the lot, although they are winless in their last nine league visits to Anfield, taking only two points in that time.
Liverpool possible XI: Alisson, N Williams, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson, Jones, Wijnaldum, Keita, Jota, Firmino, Mane.
Leicester City possible XI: Schmeichel, Fofana, Evans, Fuchs, Castagne, Mendy, Tielemans, Justin. Maddison, Vardy, Barnes.