“Hello Rob,” says Geoff Wignall. “So, do you think Liverpool’s heavy-mettle football will be up to this serious test of their metal?”
My point exactly.
It finished Leeds 0-0 Arsenal at Elland Road
“Ahem,” says Marie Meyer. “Sending out JM7 is never an ‘enforced change’. It is a splendid, delightful, evergreen option.”
“I haven’t been following football properly for a while,” says Wendell D’souza, “but I don’t think Virgil played vs City.”
My point exactly.
“A lot of midfielders in that Liverpool XI,” weeps Matt Dony. “Maybe Klopp is trying to cheer up Guardiola after yesterday’s debacle? (Using ‘humour’ to try and deflect from the fact that I am terrified about tonight’s match.)”
Liverpool make four enforced changes from the team that drew 1-1 at Manchester City before the international break: James Milner, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones replace Trent, Joe, Jordan and Mo.
Leicester make two changes from their 1-0 win over Wolves: Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes come in for Luke Thomas and Dennis Praet.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Milner, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Jones, Wijnaldum, Keita; Jota, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi, Phillips, Clarkson, N Williams.
Leicester (3-4-2-1) Schmeichel; Fofana, Evans, Fuchs; Albrighton, Tielemans, Mendy, Justin; Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.
Substitutes: Ward, Morgan, Thomas, Under, Choudhury, Praet, Iheanacho.
Referee Chris Kavanagh.
Hello. It was in April 2019, after a vital win at Southampton, that Jurgen Klopp christened his team “mentality monsters”. (He used a third word, but this is a family newspaper.) Klopp’s Liverpool have so many qualities, but their mental strength is surely the greatest. They have needed plenty of it this season. As well as coming from behind to win three of their first eight league games, Liverpool have had to deal with a surreal 7-2 defeat and an increasingly grotesque injury list.
Now they have another serious test of their metal: Leicester, who on current form are the most dangerous visitors in the Premier League. They savaged Manchester City and Leeds on the counter-attack and won at Arsenal and West Brom as well. Leicester have also had plenty of injuries, though you wouldn’t know it from the smart, unobtrusive way Brendan Rodgers has filled the various gaps in his first XI.
In short, this is a rare old Sunday night humdinger. If Jamie Vardy is at his streetwise best, Leicester have a realistic chance of ending Liverpool’s long unbeaten run at Anfield – and blowing the title race wide open. A win tonight would put Leicester top of the league again. Liverpool can’t go top, unless they win 10-0, but they can set a new club record of 64 top-flight games at Anfield without defeat.
They’ll want a lot more than a record-breaking draw, though. The bigger the test, the greater the statement if you ace it. Liverpool have the chance to remind everyone that they are still the best team in England. And the scariest monsters.
Kick off 7.15pm.