Leicester v Liverpool preview: Jamie Vardy back, Jurgen Klopp out to silence doubters
Last Updated: 23/09/17 4:33pm
Jurgen Klopp will be looking to silence the doubters when Liverpool visit Leicester for the second time this week.
Klopp has received criticism from some quarters this week over his inability to shore up a Liverpool defence that has shipped 10 goals in their last four games, including two at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
Liverpool have won 132 points in 73 Premier League games under Klopp since he took charge, fewer than Brendan Rodgers won after his first 73 league games with the club (141 points).
But the German boss insisted he will not ditch his attacking principles, telling reporters: "In the beginning, it was so nice, how fluent we are, how creative we are. We are still fluent and still creative but we don't score, so it's a big problem.
"If you would ask me what would you prefer: 'Do you want your team perfect in defending set-pieces but don't know how to play football or would you prefer the other way round?' - I still would take this (second) one."
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has warned his team-mates to expect a backlash, telling LCFC TV: "I think we can expect a reaction from Liverpool. It was clear to see that their manager wasn't happy after the game, so he'll be rallying them up.
"They'll want a reaction, but we've got to not just match that, but outdo that. We have to make sure that Tuesday was a momentum changer for us so that we get back into that winning habit again."
Jamie Vardy missed the 2-0 cup win over the Reds with a groin injury but the Leicester striker is back in contention for Saturday's meeting.
Craig Shakespeare should also be boosted by the return of Christian Fuchs following an eye injury, while Leonardo Ulloa has recovered from the spell of dizziness he suffered on Tuesday.
The hosts, however, will be without Matty James, who has picked up an Achilles strain that could sideline him for up to six weeks.
Klopp's defensive worries have been exacerbated by a back injury to Dejan Lovren, which has kept him out of the last two matches and prevented him training all week, while fellow centre-back Joel Matip is also doubtful after taking a knock against Burnley.
Emre Can sustained a minor injury in the clash with the Clarets but returned to training on Thursday and should be available.
Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana are long-term absentees.
Leicester City have won just two of their last 10 Premier League clashes with Liverpool (D2 L6). However, both those wins have come in the last three games (both at the King Power Stadium).
The Foxes last won three home league games in a row against the Reds back between September 1955 and October 1962.
Klopp has won an average of 1.81 points per game in the Premier League against clubs outside the 'big six'; only marginally better than he has averaged in matches against the 'big six' (1.80).
The German manager has already lost twice in the Premier League against Leicester City - if Liverpool lose this game, the Foxes will be the first team to beat Jurgen Klopp three times in the competition.
Liverpool have attempted a league-high 40 shots on target in their five games so far this season in the Premier League, more than double the tally opponents Leicester City have posted (14).
Since the start of 2016-17, Liverpool have won more points from losing positions in Premier League matches than any other side (20) - however, they have also lost 20 points from winning positions in this period (5th most).
Liverpool have won 2.13 points per game in the Premier League since the start of 2016-17 when Sadio Mane has started (30 games), compared to just 1.54 points per game without him starting in this period (13 games).
Jamie Vardy has had a hand in 15 goals (12 goals, three assists) in 18 Premier League appearances under Craig Shakespeare.
Jamie Vardy has scored five goals in his last three Premier League games against Liverpool, including two braces at the King Power Stadium. Indeed, against no other side has Vardy scored more top-flight goals, also netting five against Arsenal.
If Liverpool put their chances away they win this match and they will need three points because the Manchester clubs are getting away from them already.
They were unlucky at the King Power in the Carabao Cup - they dominated the first half - and I think they bounce back with a victory on their return.
I can't say they'll keep a clean sheet - their defence is nowhere near good enough - but if they score two that should do the trick.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (Sky Bet odds 7/1)
Liverpool are marginally odds-on at 17/20 with Sky Bet to avenge their Carabao Cup defeat, with Leicester 3/1 for another win while the draw is priced at 11/4. Last weekend's stalemate with Burnley saw Jurgen Klopp's men pushed out from 16/1 to 22/1 for the title, while they are now evens for a top-four finish. Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge (both 9/2) share favouritism at the head of the first goalscorer market, closely followed by Jamie Vardy at 5/1.