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    Liverpool vs Leicester City Match Preview

    Liverpool play their first match of the season in front of a redeveloped Anfield against defending Champions Leicester City on Saturday in one of the most eagerly-anticipated matches of the weekend.

    Both teams have an identical record going into the contest with a win, defeat and draw from their opening three matches of the season and will be keen to put down an early marker as the Premier League returns after the international break.

    Leicester only lost three matches on their way to winning the first top-tier title in their 132-year history in 2015-16, but one of those was a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield so they will be eager for revenge.


    Jurgen Klopp's team were always in store for a tough start to the season when the fixture list was announced as they were scheduled to meet all of last season's top-three sides in the first four games of the campaign.

    The Reds fared well in both of their trips to North London against Arsenal and Tottenham respectively, picking up a creditable four points, but it was the surprise defeat to Burnley that emphasized most that many of last season's problems may not have been entirely resolved.

    Since that defeat, The Reds showed their goalscoring form in a 5-0 demolition of Burton in the EFL Cup and had chances to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane before they were thwarted by a second-half fightback from the home side.

    Liverpool have looked much more solid defensively since they conceded five goals in their opening two matches and the inclusion of new signing Joel Matip at centre back and James Milner at left back has contributed much to their improved form.

    One of Klopp's biggest problems at this early stage of the season is knowing the identity of his preferred starting XI and whether that includes a role for Daniel Sturridge, who has not started in three of the club's four games.

    Emre Can has also found match time tough so far this campaign, having not featured from the start in the Premier League, but the German has been ruled out with an ankle injury and is one of five Liverpool players currently on the sidelines.

    One man who is expected to feature is Sadio Mane, who missed the defeat to Burnley with a muscle injury and was also forced off in the early stages of Senegal's 2-0 defeat of Senegal last Saturday with a minor knee injury.

    Leicester City

    Claudio Ranieri's side may have started the season poorly with a surprise 2-1 defeat against promoted Hull City but they have quickly returned to the form of last season by picking up four points from their subsequent two matches.

    The Italian warned his players to expect a much tougher season after the opening day defeat to The Tigers and claimed the defeat was not down to his players' lack of effort but due to their failure to perform as a team.

    Leicester bounced back from that loss with a creditable 0-0 draw against Arsenal, in which they were denied a late penalty, before they recorded their first victory of the season against Swansea prior to the international break.

    The Foxes have spent £65 million in the summer on improving their squad ahead of the club's first ever season in the Champions League and their latest signing, Islam Slimani, could make his debut at Anfield on Saturday.

    Algerian striker Slimani joined the club for a record £28 million from Sporting Lisbon ahead of the transfer deadline and followed Nampalys Mendy (£13 million), Ahmed Musa (£16 million) and Bartosz Kapustka (£7.5 milion) in signing for the Premier League Champions.

    Perhaps the best pieces of business that Leicester performed in the summer was keeping hold of last season's top scorer Jamie Vardy and PFA Players' Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, who both penned new contracts to remain at the club.

    One influential player that Leicester were unable to retain was N'Golo Kante, who signed for Chelsea in a £32 million deal, but the club were dealt another blow in the recent draw against Arsenal when his replacement Mendy was forced off with an ankle injury.

    Liverpool Team News

    The Reds will be without the services of five first-team players on Saturday but Sadio Mane is fit to play after he was unable to complete Senegal's 2-0 win over Namibia after sustaining a minor injury to his knee.

    Emre Can and Ragnar Klavan, who missed the trip to Tottenham with respective ankle and knee injuries, are still not fit to return, while Joe Gomez (achilles) and Sheyi Ojo (back) are also out.

    Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, a £4.7 million summer signing from Mainz 05, has returned to training after recovering from a broken hand and he could be set for a place on the bench.

    Leicester City Team News

    Islam Slimani, Leicester's record £28 million signing from Sporting Lisbon, is expected to make his debut for the club after completing his transfer ahead of the August 31 deadline.

    German international goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler could continue in goal as Kasper Schmeichel, the man he replaced after 57 minutes against Swansea, is still recovering from a hernia operation.

    Nampalys Mendy is not fit to return after injuring his ankle against Arsenal three weeks ago, while Jeffrey Schlupp is also unavailable after suffering with a muscle strain.


    Leicester lost their first three Premier League meetings against Liverpool but they have fared well against Saturday's opponents in their subsequent 17 meetings over the past 20 years.

    Both sides have won six, lost six and drawn five of those meetings, although the fixture was not played in the 10 seasons before Leicester were finally promoted from the Championship in 2014.

    Liverpool won two of the first three matches between the sides after The Foxes returned to the Premier League, which included a 1-0 victory at Anfield on Boxing Day 2015 and that defeat turned out to be one of only three losses that Claudio Ranieri's side endured last season.

    Leicester managed to avenge that result in February, the last time the two sides met, as Jamie Vardy scored two goals including a spectacular 25-yard opener that was one of the candidates for goal of the season.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 1-1 Leicester City
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Leicester City Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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