Leicester City will host Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday when the third-place Foxes welcomes the Reds to the King Power Stadium
Leicester City is third in the Premier League table with Liverpool following right behind with three points separating the sides. For weeks, Klopp has been warning that Liverpool’s main fight this season is for a top-four spot and not for the title even before the chastening 4-1 defeat at home by Man City.
While a couple of costly and uncharacteristic Alisson Becker errors gave the score-line a slightly skewed look, the facts are increasingly grim for a Liverpool side already a whopping 24 points off the pace they set last season.
The Reds were 19 points clear at the top after 23 games of 2019-20 but now find themselves 10 points adrift of leaders Manchester City having played a game more, not to mention five points behind second-placed Manchester United and three off Saturday’s hosts.
Liverpool’s superior goal difference over Leicester means that victory this weekend would lift them back up to third, but anything less than that would open the door to Chelsea, who are now just a point behind following their resurgence under Thomas Tuchel, to leapfrog the champions into the top four.
Some may even consider Leicester as slight favourites for this match given that Liverpool have won just two of their last nine league outings, including back-to-back defeats for the first time under Klopp.
Current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge the last time Liverpool lost three Premier League games in a row, in November 2014, but in a stark turnaround in form it is at home where most of those recent troubles have come.
Away from Anfield, Liverpool is looking to win three consecutive top-flight games for the first time in a year, winning three and losing one of their last five compared to three defeats and no wins from their last five home league games.
Even so, nine teams have still picked up more points than Liverpool on the road this season, although Leicester’s home form has not been overly impressive either, with the Foxes faring much better on their travels.
Leicester have already lost more home games this season than they did throughout the whole of 2019-20, and another defeat on Saturday would see Rodgers suffer six home league defeats in a season for the first time in his managerial career.
Add to that the fact that former Liverpool managers have lost their last 12 Premier League reunions with the Reds stretching back to 2012, and that Leicester have lost 16 of their last 20 top-flight games against the reigning champions, and the omens perhaps look better for Liverpool than their recent form would suggest.
Indeed, the Foxes are currently enduring their worst-ever home losing run against Liverpool in the league – three straight defeats – and could suffer four in a row against a particular opponent for the first time since 2003.
Home and away Liverpool have won six of the last seven Premier League meetings, but Saturday’s showdown looks poised to be the most evenly-matched contest between the two sides in some time.
Leicester have suffered a minor slump in recent weeks with only one win in their last four league games, but they have also only lost one of their last 10, while only Man City have won more games over the course of the entire season so far.
A goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend edged the Foxes three points clear of their visitors on Saturday – a position Rodgers would have gleefully accepted had it been offered to him before the start of the season.
Even another Premier League title challenge is not yet out of the question for the 2015-16 champions, although the FA Cup may provide a more likely route to silverware after they secured their place in the quarter-finals with a last-gasp winner against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday night.
Liverpool has suffered another center-back injury blow in the buildup to this match, with Fabinho being ruled out due to a “little muscle issue”.
Thiago Alcantara also missed Liverpool training earlier this week, while Georginio Wijnaldum was pictured training away from the rest of the squad, but there was no indication from Klopp in his pre-match press conference that either would miss this game.
Fabinho’s absence could be offset in some part by a debut for deadline-day signing Ozan Kabak, while fellow new arrival Ben Davies is also in contention after almost a full week to prepare for this match.
Klopp may not be ready to throw both new signings into the starting XI together, though, so Jordan Henderson’s return to midfield may be delayed with the captain continuing at centre-back in Fabinho’s absence.
The six-day break will have been welcomed for a squad Klopp acknowledged was looking weary, although it has not eased his injury issues much with Naby Keita, Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all still sidelined.
Leicester has plenty of injury problems themselves too, compounded by the news that in-form full-back James Justin will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in the FA Cup win over Brighton.
That means that Christian Fuchs is likely to fill in on the left, with Timothy Castagne also among the absentees, although Rodgers could also consider going with three at the back.
Ayoze Perez was also amongst the walking wounded against Brighton, picking up a shin injury, so he could join Wesley Fofana, Dennis Praet, and Wes Morgan on the sidelines.
There was better news in midweek with the return of Wilfred Ndidi, though, while the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Harvey Barnes, Jonny Evans, and James Maddison should come back into the starting XI.
Maddison has had a direct hand in six goals from his last six Premier League home games, which is as many as he had managed in his previous 31 at the King Power.