Given everything that has happened surrounding Leicester City Football Club this week, it has been hard not to get wrapped up in the situation. Everyone has had their say, including Jurgen Klopp, who likened the decision to remove Claudio Ranieri from his position as Leicester manager to Trump and Brexit. However, regardless what Klopp’s or the Liverpool’s player’s thoughts are regarding the dismissal of the Italian, they cannot afford any distractions as they attempt to build on the win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool have endured a tough start to 2017 but having failed to win a game in the Premier League since the turn of the year, things changed in the match against Spurs. The comfortable 2-0 victory has seen the club return to winning ways and should act as a springboard to push on for the remainder of the season, starting at the King Power Stadium on Monday night.
With Leicester, seemingly in turmoil, it is difficult to judge exactly how they are going to play and what the atmosphere will be like inside the ground. This is out of Liverpool’s control and Klopp’s players must concentrate on their own game because it will be 16 days since they last played a competitive match. In many ways, it was disappointing there wasn’t a fixture to quickly follow up on the positive result against Spurs but Klopp doesn’t see this as a problem and insists the team will be ready for competitive action.
Looking at the Liverpool team news ahead of the match, Dejan Lovren is the major injury concern. The Croatian defender has seen a specialist about his knee problem and recently made a return to training, all be it too late to be considered for this game. Daniel Sturridge flew home early from the La Manga training camp having picked up a viral infection and this may keep him out of the squad, although he is likely to start the game on the bench if given the all-clear. With Lovren highly doubtful, Lucas Leiva could continue to play in central defence, ahead of Ragnar Klavan who may have to settle for a place among the substitutes.
Liverpool have had problems against struggling teams this season and there is a worry this match could prove to be the same. The two-week period without a game, should see the players full of energy and raring to go, closing down the Leicester players when in possession of the ball inside their own half of the pitch. Getting an early goal is very important in this match, as taking the lead inside the first 15 minutes could end the game. This will be Leicester’s third match in eight days and they have been in very poor form, losing their last five and failing to score a goal in their last six league games. A fast start, like the one against Spurs last time out, could see Liverpool record a resounding victory in this game.
With Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United not playing this weekend, a win would give Liverpool the initiative in the group of teams chasing Chelsea. The pressure would then pass to these teams, who must win their game in hand to reclaim their current position. With the next Premier League game being Arsenal at home, a win at Leicester and over Arsenal would see a 5-point gap open over the Gunners.
However, the team must focus on this game first because, in truth, Liverpool are more likely to lose at Leicester and defeat Arsenal than the other way around. It’s time to block out the furore at the King Power Stadium and ruthlessly take advantage of Leicester’s problems by picking up maximum points.
Watch Jurgen Klopp Pre-Match Press Conference below.