MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Leicester
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Claudio Ranieri was quoted this week saying "Leicester are Forrest Gump" and while it's quite clear the Reds can't put a run together, it's safe to say that life is very much like a box of chocolates, you never know which Liverpool you are going to get.
When travelling to Stamford Bridge and the Etihad the Reds have been simply brilliant. The likes of Coutinho and Firmino blinding the opposition and assisting Jurgen Klopp's side who showed complete control. Mixed in with the glory though has been plenty of despair as the Reds fell to defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Watford most recently. An extremely late equaliser was the only saving grace when West Brom visited Anfield in early December too.
On the other hand, Leicester are absolutely flying, losing just one of their Premier League fixtures and justifiably after losing to Arsenal, the foxes are sitting pretty at the top of the league for Christmas. Those who know me will be aware that I have a bit of a soft spot for Italian football so when I saw Ranieri was coming back I was one of few who was actually pleased to see him back, however I would never have predicted the effect he would have. He's been absolutely immense and it's so refreshing to see a completely different team mingling in with the cream of the crop.
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon stalwart Martin Skrtel who will be out for six weeks. I'm pretty gutted about the missing Skrtel to be honest, I actually think he's a good defender unlike many, yes he's prone to the odd mistake but I can almost guarantee our defence will be worse off without him. To add to that, who the hell am I going to bet on? I put a quid on him to score first and last every single week haha.
The good news for the Reds however is that Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet should both be available for the clash on Boxing Day. For Leicester, they are unable to call upon Drinkwater and Schlupp who both have hamstring issues.
The last time the two sides met was in January this year, Steven Gerrard opened up the scoring with two penalties but Leicester found two goals themselves in the second half of the game. In the last six meetings in the league between the two sides, Liverpool have won on four occasions.
- Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets in their last 14 league games.
- Leicester haven't lost an away games for nine months,
- The Reds have scored 20 goals in the league this season, the fewest for teams in the top half.
I'm really excited for this game, for one because I want to watch Leicester intently but also because despite the fact they should absolutely batter us, knowing Liverpool, we will probably pull out a better performance. The higher the calibre of opposition, the better we play it seems. It will also be interesting to see whether Klopp actually starts a striker tomorrow after the ineffective set up away at Watford.
Despite Leicester's brilliant form it appears the lure of Anfield has forced many bookies to continue to label the visitors as underdogs. If you're the type to bet on the opposition to make a loss more bearable you can get odds of 3/1 with BetFred for a Leicester win.
The best odds at the time of writing for Jamie Vardy to score first are with Ladbrokes at 13/2 and you can get the same odds for Divock Origi to find the back of the net first with Paddy Power.
There's something in the back of my mind telling me to bet on a high scoring draw and a 3-3 scoreline is down as 50/1 with most bookies. Don't follow my tips though, they're truly shambolic haha.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!