Club World Cup champions Liverpool will look to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points when they face second-placed Leicester City at the King Power on Boxing Day.
Liverpool’s trip to Qatar proved successful as Roberto Firmino’s extra-time strike handed them a narrow 1-0 victory over Flamengo on Saturday night and there was further good news for Jürgen Klopp’s men as Leicester were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City at the Etihad.
That result means Liverpool currently enjoy a 10-point cushion at the top of the Premier League table and also boast a game in hand over their rivals. Only once in the competition’s 27-year history has a team failed to win the title while in such a commanding position at Christmas when Newcastle United missed out to Manchester United in 1995/96.
Despite that, Liverpool face a huge test when they travel to the East Midlands with Brendan Rodgers’ team propelling themselves into title contention over the first half of the season. Here is all you need to know ahead of the top of the table clash on Boxing Day.
When is Leicester City vs Liverpool and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: King Power Stadium
Date: Thursday, 26 December 2019
Kick-off: 8:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): The game is not available on traditional TV but can be live streamed on Amazon Prime.
Last five meetings: Leicester City vs Liverpool
05 Oct 2019: Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City (Premier League)
30 Jan 2019: Liverpool 1-1 Leicester City (Premier League)
01 Sep 2018: Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool (Premier League)
30 Dec 2017: Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City (Premier League)
23 Sep 2017: Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Leicester City (LDLLL) 6-10 Liverpool (WDWWW)
Ones to watch
Leicester City: Jamie Vardy
What else needs to be said about Leicester City’s main man?
Like a fine wine (or should that be port?) Jamie Vardy just seems to be getting better with age and is on course for his most productive-ever Premier League season, even more so than in Leicester’s title-winning campaign when he struck 24 times.
Vardy had been hunting down his own record of scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games before he drew a blank at the ninth attempt against Norwich City but he was back amongst the goals during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City with a typically assured finish.
Key stat: Jamie Vardy has scored six more goals than any other player in the Premier League this season, netting 17 in total.
Liverpool: Mohamed Salah
The general consensus is that Mohamed Salah hasn’t quite reached his exceptionally high standards thus far in 2019/20, yet the Egyptian has still managed nine goals and four assists from his 14 Premier League outings.
A troublesome ankle problem picked up in the corresponding game between the teams at Anfield in October seemed to hold Salah back but ominously for the rest of the division, he has been approaching his best form in recent weeks.
Riyad Mahrez gave Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell the runaround last weekend and should Salah be deployed on the right flank he too could give the England international another difficult afternoon.
Key stat:No Liverpool player has had more touches in the opposition box than Mohamed Salah (127) this season.
Rodgers has virtually a full compliment to pick from with long-term absentee Matty James the only player definitely ruled out. Harvey Barnes will be assessed after he was forced off against Manchester City following a hefty clash with Ederson.
Çaglar Söyüncü, meanwhile, is walking a suspension tightrope as he received his fourth yellow card of the campaign at the Etihad. Should the Turkey international escape a caution against Liverpool, though, he will avoid a future one-game ban.
Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell; Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison; Perez, Albrighton, Vardy
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain limped away from Liverpool‘s Club World Cup win on crutches after suffering an ankle injury late on in the win over Flamengo and Klopp admitted afterwards that it cast a ‘big shadow’ over the result.
The 26-year-old has now been officially ruled out until the New Year due to ankle ligament damage in a significant blow to the Premier League leaders. Liverpool also have issues in defence, evidenced by Jordan Henderson’s recent appearance at centre-back.
Joël Matip is out with a knee injury while Dejan Lovren is sidelined with a thigh problem leaving Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez as Liverpool‘s only fit central defenders. Fabinho and Nathaniel Clyne are also missing.
Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keïta, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mané, Firmino
Odds (via Betway)
Leicester to win: 21/10
Liverpool to win: 11/10
(Odds correct as of 26/12/2019 at 11:10)
Click here for full details of Betway’s Premier League markets.
Liverpool missed out on the 2018/19 Premier League title by a single point and one of the defining games of that season was a 1-1 draw against Leicester at Anfield in January when Harry Maguire cancelled out Sadio Mané’s opener.
Considering the lead that Liverpool have opened up this term, a similar result at the King Power on Boxing Day would be unlikely to have such a pivotal impact on the club’s title aspirations. Indeed, given Leicester’s form and Liverpool’s injury problems, a draw would be a decent result for Klopp’s side.
Leicester’s nine-game unbeaten run came to an end against Man City and while losing to the reigning champions is far from a disastrous result, Rodgers will have been disappointed at the manner of his team’s performance. Liverpool should, therefore, expect a strong reaction from their hosts.