We were shown in glorious technicolour the perils of getting complacent on the football pitch at Anfield on Wednesday night. Liverpool had romped into a 3-0 lead in barely half an hour in the Champions League game against Red Bull Salzburg, with goals from Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Mo Salah giving us the most comfortable of leads.
But the Austrians, as suspected, rallied after appearing to be a rabbit in the headlights early on, and they showed their attacking spark by pulling a goal back before the break through Hwang Hee-Chan.
It was a literal and metaphorical ‘taking off the foot off the gas’, and Jurgen Klopp would have been furious at half-time given that the game was now back on.
But the Reds did not seem to heed his words. Takumi Minamino volleyed home after 56 minutes to get Salzburg right back into the tie, and just four minutes later they completed an incredible comeback when dangerman Erling Braut Haaland latched on to another pass to level the contest.
We were stunned, naturally, and it looked as if our Champions League defence was set to get off to a disastrous start following on from the defeat to Napoli last time out.
But as all great players do, Salah realised the importance of the moment, and when Bobby Firmino planted a header his way there was only one likely outcome: the Egyptian rifling home to hand us the lead once more.
Thankfully, there were no more shocks and surprises in store and we secured a remarkable 4-3 victory.
The absence of Joel Matip was harshly felt in defence, with Salzburg cutting through our backline at will at times. Let’s hope the Cameroon ace is back in time to face Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday.
Liverpool Team News
With Alisson and Xherdan Shaqiri confirmed as absent until after the next international break, the main headache remaining is that of Joel Matip, who picked up a knock against Sheffield United.
Speaking at the press conference prior to the Salzburg game, Klopp had said: “(He’s) not available. Joel is not a big one, but we don’t have to take a risk and we don’t want to take a risk.”
The insinuation from that is that he was left out against the Austrians as a precaution as much as anything, and that Matip should be able to take his place in defence against Leicester.
Otherwise, it will be a question of balance in midfield. Both Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum were subbed off early against Salzburg, and so fitness won’t be a major issue, and then the choice will come down to Fabinho or James Milner as the anchor.
Given the movement of Leicester’s midfield – Maddison, Tielemans and co, the extra athleticism of Fabinho might just be the smart way to go.
Leicester City Form
There’s no doubting that Brendan Rodgers has completely revitalised the fortunes of Leicester City.
The Foxes have only lost once in the Premier League this term, and that was in a 0-1 reverse at Old Trafford in which they were the better side for a large percentage of the game.
Otherwise, they have slammed five past Newcastle, beaten decent opponents in Tottenham, Bournemouth and Sheffield United and taken a credible point at Stamford Bridge.
Leicester have match winners too, in Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, and they really should not be underestimated here.
Liverpool vs Leicester City Betting Tips
The bookmakers have priced Liverpool at 4/9 to win this game, and while those odds are fair enough this still feels like a ‘trappy’ game for punters.
We have got an impressive record against the Midlanders (W3 D1 L0) of late, but they did claim a 1-1 draw at Anfield earlier in the year. The form they are in, something similar to that cannot be overlooked.
Liverpool are conceding goals too, with only two clean sheets in our last six in the league and five shipped in two Champions League outings to date.
Leicester will fancy the job here, and you can even back them with a +1.50 Asian handicap at a decent price of 4/6. Basically, even if they lose by a single goal margin your bet would still land.
And we do like the idea of goals in this one, so the Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals double at 21/20 is certainly worth a second look.