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Liverpool vs Leicester City (Thursday, 10 February)
Liverpool and Leicester have already met twice this season and both matches were remarkable in their own way.
The Foxes led 2-0 and 3-1 in the first half of an EFL Cup tie at Anfield, only to concede a 95th minute equaliser and then lose on penalties. They got their revenge on home turf the following week though - winning 1-0 in the league, thanks to a goal from Ademola Lookman.
However, Jürgen Klopp’s side had five clear-cut chances in their defeat at the King Power Stadium while only allowing one in return. That difference of four is the biggest seen by a losing team in a Premier League match so far this season.
A look at Leicester’s record on the road implies Liverpool will dominate the contest once again. Brendan Rodgers’ team has played nine away league matches so far without exceeding the expected goal scoreline once. They also suffered a heavy FA Cup defeat at Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
While only the most recent meetings carry any kind of weight for the current players, Leicester hasn’t won at Anfield since May 2000 either.
Even though Liverpool will inevitably lose in front of their fans eventually, it’s been so long since it happened that it’s always hard to suggest that they will be beaten when previewing a home league match for the Reds.
They lost six in a row behind closed doors last season, but with supporters present it’s almost five years since they were defeated in the league at Anfield, winning 55 and drawing 14 of 69 games in the process.
Leicester can draw inspiration from their previous visit though - they had three (Opta-defined) counter-attacking shots, a total Liverpool has only allowed three times since the beginning of last season.
The Reds play with an incredibly high defensive line. It often works well – they’ve caught 90 opponents offside when no other side in the Premier League has topped 49 – but it does come with risks that the Foxes are capable of exploiting.
Liverpool may not be at full strength either, with AFCON finalists Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah having only just returned to England.
Whatever the outcome, the formbook suggests goals. Going into this round of fixtures, Leicester top the league for total goals per game in 2021/22, with 3.55, and Liverpool are only 0.05 behind them in second place.
That pattern has tended to play out in this fixture too, with five of the last six meetings at Anfield seeing at least three goals, and five featuring both teams scoring too.
With the Reds having only conceded six goals in their 10 home games this season, it may be hard for Leicester to get on the scoresheet this time though.
The one to watch: Diogo Jota
Diogo Jota was mired in controversy in Liverpool’s last league match, a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, as he was involved in a VAR penalty decision which left pundits and rival fans foaming at the mouth.
The Portuguese forward didn’t score in that game but his form is generally good. He has scored six goals in his last 10 matches for the Reds and will face one of his favourite opponents here.
Jota has scored more times against Leicester than any other side apart from Arsenal, who he has scored one goal more against. He scored a hat-trick against the Foxes with previous club Wolves and found the net on both previous occasions they visited Anfield.
While he hasn’t done it over as long a period, the 25-year-old has scored non-penalty goals for Liverpool with a higher frequency than Salah, and there’s not many stats on which the Egyptian can be beaten in a Reds shirt.
Liverpool is so strong at Anfield – winning the last five league games there by scoring 15 goals and conceding only one – that you must back them here.
However, while this fixture is usually heavy on goals, with Mane and Salah absent it may be a little quieter on this occasion. Jota will be keen to prove otherwise though, and new signing Luis Díaz looked lively in a cameo debut against Cardiff City in the FA Cup on Sunday.
The Foxes are also weak at defending set pieces, an area of strength for Liverpool. There should be plenty of corners for the home side too, as they have had the second most in the Premier League while only Norwich has conceded more than Leicester.
Cards should be thin on the ground as these teams don’t see many (be that in general or when they play each other) and referee Chris Kavanagh doesn’t tend to hand out many bookings either.
Premier League picks:
- Liverpool to win (-322)
- Over 2.5 goals (-250)
- Diogo Jota to score first (+400)
- Liverpool corners, over 8.5 (TBC)
- Under 2.5 cards (TBC)
Premier League quick picks:
West Ham United vs Watford (Tuesday, 8 February): Both teams to score, no (+105)
Newcastle United vs Everton (Tuesday, 8 February): Chris Wood to score (+180)
Burnley vs Manchester United (Tuesday, 8 February): Both teams to score ‘yes’ (-104)
Manchester City vs Brentford (Wednesday, 9 February): Manchester City to win to nil(-137)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton (Wednesday, 9 February): Tottenham to win and both teams to score (+240)
Norwich City vs Crystal Palace (Wednesday, 9 February): Draw (+245)
Aston Villa vs Leeds United (Wednesday, 9 February): Aston Villa to win and both teams to score (+255)
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal (Thursday, 10 February): Arsenal to win and under 3.5 goals (+180)
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Odds updated: Jun 28, 2:28 AM UTC
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