How Leicester can ruin Liverpool’s Anfield unveiling party
With Liverpool being forced to wait three matches and an international break before christening a new Anfield era, there is a feverish anticipation surrounding Leicester’s visit on Saturday teatime.
The party atmosphere could turn sour though, if Claudio Ranieri’s champions can put back-to-back league wins together, something they became hugely accustomed to doing in 2015/16.
Despite being the title holders, defeating Liverpool 2-0 at home last season, and having begun with the same set of results as their hosts in the top flight (albeit their four points came at home), Leicester are cast as 9/2 underdogs.
This could be one of the juicier prices available on Saturday’s coupon if the Foxes can relocate the blueprint that saw them skip past the Reds 2-0 at the King Power Stadium en route to the title last season.
They will certainly not spoil the expanded Anfield’s unveiling if they turn up and put on the kind of strangely pallid display they did post-Christmas last term, when succumbing 1-0 to a rare Christian Benteke winner.
What they must do is pick Jurgen Klopp’s men off when they inevitably commit their full-backs forward in attack and leave Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy in particular, lurking near the halfway line in anticipation of the counter attack.
Both of Vardy’s goals against Liverpool in 2015/16 originated from the Reds’ weakest area.
Probing the problem left-back position will be the key that unlocks the door, no matter if Klopp fields defensively negligent Alberto Moreno or makeshift full-back James Milner.
Burnley and Tottenham have exposed Milner’s lack of positional awareness in the build-up to goals against the Merseysiders already this season, while Moreno’s seasonal bow at Arsenal was painful viewing indeed.
Leicester’s famously firm backline will have to be up to its title-winning best given the form of Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and co.
However, patience will be the visitors’ best virtue as their hosts are sure to dominate the possession stats.
It’s moving the ball quickly to the danger men in that inadequately protected left channel that can see the Foxes come away with the points.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.