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    Leicester City vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Leicester City begin life after Claudio Ranieri with the visit of Liverpool on Monday night in the knowledge that nothing less than a win would be enough to propel The Foxes out of the bottom-three.

    The club's most successful manager was controversially sacked on Thursday following a run of seven defeats in nine matches, just nine months after he guided the club to its first and only top-flight title.

    In their way stand an resurgent Liverpool side, who started 2017 with only one win in 10 matches, but returned to form in spectacular fashion a fortnight ago with a 2-0 win over second-place Tottenham.

    Leicester City

    It seems difficult to comprehend that this time last year, Leicester were top of the Premier League and were about to go on an unbeaten run in the final 12 matches of the season that would steer the club towards a historic title.

    The man who masterminded that success was Claudio Ranieri, who turned journeyman footballers into Premier League champions and in doing so defied odds of 5,000/1 to achieve what pundits and fans believed to be the impossible.

    Nine months after those title-winning celebrations, with largely the same group of players, the club finds itself without a manager and in the midst of a relegation battle following five straight defeats in the Premier League.

    Crystal Palace's 1-0 win against Middlesbrough on Saturday condemned the Foxes to a place in the bottom-three, meaning that only a repeat of the club's famous home victory over Liverpool last season would be enough to keep their heads above water.

    Caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare has been given the responsibility of turning around the club's fortunes, until a permanent successor is found, and has a tough opening assignment against the Champions League-chasing Reds.

    Leicester have picked up no new injuries since Wednesday's 2-1 defeat in Sevilla, with Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa both remaining doubtful having been on the sidelines in recent weeks.

    The champions have a poor record against Liverpool over the past 16 years, with last February's 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium standing alone as the club's only win in their last nine meetings against the North West side.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool began 2017 in second-place, six points behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table and looked on course to challenge Antonio Conte's men for the title for the remainder of the season.

    Eight weeks later, and following back-to-back exits from the EFL and FA Cups, the club's only realistic target for 2016-17, since enduring a five-match spell without a win in the league, is qualification for next season's Champions League .

    That poor run was ended in spectacular fashion 16 days ago with a 2-0 win over Spurs, with a performance consisting of all the attributes that have made the club such a potent force since Jurgen Klopp arrived in October 2015.

    The pace, intensity and high-tempo pressing game that The Reds had used so effectively prior to an unforgiving fixture pile-up at the start of the year had finally returned, with Sadio Mane providing the clinical edge that his side had been missing in his absence.

    Mane offered Liverpool an outlet that the club were keen to utilise during a high-tempo start to proceedings, with his two goals and all-round performance restoring momentum to the club's season that had looked like stalling.

    Klopp's side should be fresh following a 16-day break since their last match, with the club taking part in a training camp in La Manga to prepare for the rigours awaiting them in the final 13 matches of the season.

    A victory over Leicester would enable The Reds to cut Chelsea's lead at the top of the table to 11 points, while the club would also climb above Manchester City and Arsenal into third position ahead of a mouthwatering clash against the Gunners on Saturday.

    Leicester City Team News

    Demarai Gray is likely to earn a recall to the Leicester starting line-up after his impressive second-half display in the midweek defeat to Sevilla, when he replaced Ahmed Musa after 58 minutes.

    Leicester have no new injury concerns, although Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa both remain doubtful having been on the sidelines in recent weeks.

    Slimani has missed the club's last two games with a groin injury, while Ulloa, who has a thigh problem, has not played for The Foxes since a 2-1 FA Cup win over Everton in early January.

    New signing Molla Wague also misses out after dislocating his shoulder in the 1-0 defeat to Millwall and is expected to spent the next few weeks out of action.

    Liverpool Team News

    Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson after he sustained a bruised foot in training last week, although scans subsequently averted fears that he had broken a bone.

    Dejan Lovren is still a doubt with the knee injury that has kept him out of action since the end of January, but Georginio Wijnaldum remains in contention despite struggling last week with a slight calf injury.

    Daniel Sturridge has still not fully shaken off the effects of a virus and could miss out, although Ragnar Klavan has now recovered from a bacterial infection and returns to the squad.

    Lucas Leiva is a slight doubt with a muscle problem, while Ovie Ejaria remains on the sidelines with ruptured ankle ligaments.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool have only lost once in their last nine meetings with Leicester, with that sole defeat coming just over a year ago when a Jamie Vardy brace earned The Foxes a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.

    The Reds gained revenge in September when two goals from Roberto Firmino helped his side record a 4-1 win over the recently-crowned champions, with Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana also putting their names on the score sheet.

    Either side of the new Millennium, it was Leicester who dominated the head-to-head with five wins and two draws from eight meetings that took place between August 1997 and March 2001.

    Liverpool lead the way with 10 wins and five draws from 21 Premier League meetings, while they also hold a narrow all-time advantage over Monday's opponents with 44 wins and 24 draws in all competitions from 105 previous encounters.

    Score Prediction

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