If the international break or FA Cup is annoyance for punters, then lord knows how it must feel for players on a crest of a wave.
The Liverpool boys must have been raring to go again after their outstanding 2-0 triumph over Tottenham, and yet it will have been more than a fortnight since they last took to the field by the time Monday night’s encounter with Leicester City comes around.
But that gives injuries time to heal, weary legs a chance to rest, and we can expect a high intensity Liverpool side to really take the game to beleaguered Leicester.
The Foxes were defeated in midweek by Sevilla in the Champions League, but actually the 1-2 scoreline will be construed as a positive result given that they notched an away goal that could prove important. As such, they will be full of confidence heading into Monday’s fixture.
But Liverpool’s mini crisis was abated in that 2-0 victory against Spurs, and wow what a performance it was. The deal was largely done in the first 20 minutes, with Sadio Mane’s double strike all but sealing the points for the Reds. But what was most pleasing is how well we defended, and a side that was in as good a form as Spurs never really looked like scoring, bar the occasional long-range free kick.
That improved resilience and intensity will have pleased Klopp no end, and while he would have been frustrated with the fortnight’s delay in taking to the field again, at least he does so safe in the knowledge that his side are restored to full working order.
There was another slice of good news this week with the announcement that Adam Lallana has signed a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2020. Expect him to be buzzing on Monday night.
Liverpool Team News
The happy coincidence of not having a game to play for more than a fortnight is that your wounded warriors have chance to heal, and while that is largely the case we still have a few players on the treatment table.
If Klopp had toyed with the idea of naming an unchanged side in the wake of the win over Spurs then unfortunately his plan has been scuppered: Lucas, so impressive in that game, is still absent with the muscle injury that saw him leave the field of play after 82 minutes. Dejan Lovren has a knee knock of his own, but is expected to be fit to line up alongside Joel Matip in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Daniel Sturridge, surprise surprise, is touch and go after being struck down with illness this week, although you suspect he will be fit enough to take his usual place on the bench.
Otherwise, it will be the same Reds side that slayed Spurs at Anfield:
Leicester City Form
Leicester City’s form – or lack of it – is fairly well documented, and the woes seem to be exacerbated in front of their own supporters, who are becoming increasingly frustrated with their side’s banal performances.
The Foxes have lost five Premier League games on the bounce and seven in all competitions, with their last victory coming on New Year’s Eve. They have lost three of their last four home games by margins of 0-2, 0-3 and 0-3.
Remarkably, they haven’t scored a league goal in 2017 yet – that’s 540 minutes of action! – and so realistically Liverpool are deserving favourites with the bookmakers for this one.
Leicester vs Liverpool Betting Tips
The route of the Foxes’ problems isn’t hard to find; they haven’t scored in their last six Premier League games and failed to net in nine of their last eleven. That run is magnified by an ability to defend as well, with the reigning Premier League champions conceding in 16 of their last 18 outings. But those two frailties together and you have a recipe for disaster.
Liverpool have no such problems. They have netted in 22/25 this term including 23 in 13 away fixtures. The Reds don’t keep many clean sheets but when they do – Manchester City and United, Everton, Tottenham – they show just how well organised they can be against the top clubs. We wouldn’t put Leicester in that category, but we don’t have to fear the Reds’ capabilities in this respect.
So where is the betting value? Well, it must be said that Liverpool’s price of 8/13 is a little stingy, and so a -1 Asian Handicap will have to suffice at 21/20.
But the best bet here has to be Sadio Mane as Anytime Goalscorer at 7/4. He bagged a brace against Spurs and has looked lively all season. Leicester’s main issue defensively has been quick players nipping between the gaps that Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs and Danny Simpson have so liberally given out, and without N’Golo Kante to protect them they have been found wanting. A steady through-ball and Mane is in on goal all day long.