Big match focus: Liverpool vs Leicester City

Thought Liverpool was terrible at the back and Leicester boss Claude Puel was a boring manager? Think again...

Published : Dec 28, 2017 16:27 IST

Jamie Vardy hasn't been at his razor sharp-best in front of goal this season.
Jamie Vardy hasn't been at his razor sharp-best in front of goal this season.

Jamie Vardy hasn't been at his razor sharp-best in front of goal this season.

Liverpool's league-leading defence – yes, you read that correctly - will be put to the test on Saturday as a Leicester City side plotting another shock heads to Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp has fended off numerous questions about his occasionally error-riddled backline all season, but it’s a formidable host and the record of three goals conceded on home turf is better than any side in the league.

Claude Puel's Leicester has few troubles getting itself up for the big tests, however, and the 2016 champion has intermittently flickered back into those glorious gears since the Frenchman's arrival.

Puel's Southampton managed to stop Klopp's goal-hungry attack from scoring in all four of its meetings last term, so can he spring another upset at fortress Anfield?

Read: Henderson, Moreno to miss Liverpool's next two matches


Scott Arfield. Willian. Wayne Rooney. They are the only players to have visited Anfield in the Premier League this season and scored.

Willian's intent behind his effort is questionable and Rooney's strike came from the spot - further illustrating how resolute the Reds has been on home turf.

However, Leicester has impressed, recently, with Puel extracting top form out of Riyad Mahrez in particular.

Since the Frenchman's arrival at the King Power Stadium, Mahrez has had a hand in 11 games - having contributed to four in nine outings prior.

Puel is yet to get the best out of Jamie Vardy - his minutes-per-goal ratio has climbed from a strike every 157.4 minutes to 240.8 - but the England international has six goals in seven games versus the Reds, against no side has he scored more in his career.


Backed up by its staunch defence, Liverpool has not lost at home all season, although it has also only strung together consecutive home wins in the league twice this term.

After draws against Chelsea, Everton and West Brom, Klopp's men finally got back to winning ways by demolishing Swansea City 5-0 last time out, Roberto Firmino's double taking him to eight goal involvements in his last six league games - having managed only one in 10 previous outings.

Read: Firmino nets double as Liverpool runs riot

Leicester initially enjoyed a steep upturn in form after Puel's arrival, losing just one of the Frenchman's first eight in charge.

However, since Puel's former employer Southampton was battered 4-1, the Foxes has gone winless - although that four-game run includes a creditable 2-2 draw with Manchester United and taking its neighbour City to penalties in the EFL Cup.

PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Philippe Coutinho v Riyad Mahrez)

Both star men were linked with moves to Barcelona at the start of the season, with Mahrez believed to be Plan B at Camp Nou if Coutinho could not be prised away from Anfield.

Neither made the trip in the end, but both men are united in finding superb recent form.

Mahrez has scored four goals in his last seven league games, taking his season tally to six, while he has added five assists.

However, it is Coutinho who is showing the kind of form that could see Barca come calling again. The Brazilian's screamer to open the scoring against Swansea was his third goal in as many games.

Read: Salah sure Liverpool will lift trophy this season

With seven goals and six assists to his name in just 13 outings this term, Coutinho has been involved in a goal every 79 minutes on average. Mahrez's rate of an involvement every 147.2 minutes is also fine, but pales by comparison.


Home win. The Reds' 3-2 success at the King Power in September broke a six-game sequence of the host winning this fixture.

Leicester has been sent back from Anfield with defeat in each of the past three seasons, and has not left with a win since a victory in March 2000 which, at the time, made it just the second club to win on three successive trips to Anfield.

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