The busy schedule begins. December is here and it will be the ultimate test for Premier League sides. How will they cope with this hectic schedule? In Liverpool’s case, hopefully well. Liverpool begin their busy schedule with a trip to the King Power Stadium, to face Leicester City.
Leicester have been on terrible form recently. They suffered a deflating loss to relegation rivals, QPR on Saturday, 3-2. Leicester will be looking to bounce back and cause an upset against a Liverpool side that hasn’t impressed this season, at all.
Leonardo Ulloa was brought into Leicester from Brighton in the summer and really hit the ground running. Ulloa has 5 goals so far in his first season in the Premier League. However, Ulloa’s form recently hasn’t been too great. The Argentine hasn’t carried on his lethal form that he demonstrated in the early stages of the season. Ulloa is a real threat in the air and Liverpool will have to be 100% switched on to make sure Ulloa doesn’t get any space in the box.
Esteban Cambiasso was also brought in to the King Power this summer. Cambiasso, not known for his scoring, has scored 2 so far for Leicester. Cambiasso managed to score in Leicester’s narrow loss on Saturday to QPR. Cambiasso has also done well defensively, where he’s more comfortable. If Liverpool are to break Leicester down, it is likely that they will have to get it around the Argentine veteran.
Liverpool finally won a game on Saturday. The reds saw off a good Stoke City side, 1-0. Liverpool’s first-half performance was very average in the game. However, the second-half performance was very good from the reds. It was almost reminiscent of Liverpool of last season, without the clinical finishing. The free-flowing and fast tempo football looked to be back at Anfield, without getting carried away. Liverpool have to win on Tuesday, they need to put some run of form together to shoot their way up the table, where they belong.
The starting line-up on Saturday surprised a few people, including myself. Rodgers is normally very reluctant to leave Gerrard out of the side. But he did, with Lucas coming in, and the Brazilian did brilliantly. Lucas was definitely my man-of-the-match. I fully expect Gerrard to come back in for Lucas, that isn’t what I’d do, though.
Emre Can surely has to take some part, doesn’t he? The German, since impressing a lot of people against the best side in England, hasn’t started a game. Can didn’t feature at all against Stoke. Because of Liverpool’s good performance on Saturday, I’d put him on the bench and make sure that he played a big part in the game. His power, speed and energy allows him to be a huge offensive threat as well as defensively being sound, too. If he did start, though, I’d still be happy.
Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson both had good games for the reds against Stoke. I’d like to see those two retain their places for the trip down to Leicester. I’d bring Adam Lallana in for Philippe Coutinho. I think Coutinho did very well against the Potters. But I think Lallana deserves a go, too. We have a lot of strength in that department and Lallana would still be very influential, like Coutinho is. If need be, Coutinho is a magnificent substitute to pick from.
Raheem Sterling looks like he’s coming back into form in the last couple of games. Sterling’s pace on the counter will prove to be a massive problem for Leicester, I think. Because they’re bottom of the league, they will do anything to get maximum points, this may lead to over committing and Sterling’s speed on and off the ball will offer Liverpool an enormous danger.
Rickie Lambert should keep his place in the side. Mario Balotelli is still out injured, I’d imagine. Lambert did well against Stoke, too. Not so much in the first-half, but in the second-half, Lambert’s hold-up play was exceptional. Lambert looks to have settled in to his beloved Liverpool now, after a difficult start.
Despite Glen Johnson’s good performance, I’d put Manquillo in. Johnson out for this game and then come back in at the weekend? Johnson playing a couple of games in four days doesn’t sound good to me, at all. Manquillo is a good replacement, too.
I really don’t know what the situation is with Alberto Moreno. For me, Moreno’s the best full-back at the club, no doubt. The Spaniard hasn’t started a game since the international break. I don’t think it’s an injury either, as he’s been on the substitutes bench for all of the games. I’d put him in for Enrique, despite Enrique’s decent performance.
Kolo Toure has to start. It isn’t a coincidence that we keep our first clean-sheet in ages with the Ivorian in our defence. Toure and Skrtel, again. It will be a real test for the pairing, as Leicester will be well up for the game.
This is the side I’d go with for the game: