Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are finally coming home. This weekend’s match against last year’s Premier League Champions, Leicester City, marks the first time Liverpool are playing at Anfield this 2016-2017 season.
There will be 8,000 more fans in the stadium this Saturday and given the fact that the fans have had to wait a month to see the Reds take the field at home, it should be louder than ever at the famous ground. A victory in this match could definitely jump-start Liverpool’s season and generate momentum before they travel to Chelsea next week.
Despite Loris Karius already making significant strides in his recovery from a broken hand, Simon Mignolet will still start this Saturday. He is quickly losing opportunities to make his case to become the full-time starter but a solid match against last season’s champions could make Klopp’s decision a little harder.
Nathaniel Clyne continues to be wonderfully consistent for the Reds. This week, he has to keep track of the more industrious of the two Leicester wingers in Marc Albrighton. While he is not necessarily an electric talent, Albrighton is more than capable of troubling Clyne.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have another daunting assignment this week as they have to deal with the two-striker system that Leicester employ. While Jamie Vardy is guaranteed to start, the player partnering him is more up in the air.
Shinji Okazaki is the safest option but either one of Ahmed Musa or Islam Slimani could provide a new dimension to the Foxes’ attack. Matip and Lovren are still learning the ins and outs of playing together. In order for them to keep a much needed clean sheet, the two have to make sure they are extremely aware of where Vardy is at all times.
James Milner will have the extremely difficult task of marking Riyad Mahrez, last season’s breakout player. Milner has the discipline to stay in front of Mahrez but it certainly won’t be easy, especially with the rest of the defense still adjusting to two new pieces.
Because of Emre Can’s continued recovery from an ankle issue, Klopp will likely field the unchanged midfield of Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum. All three are still adjusting to new positions but they are starting to find their footing.
All three have the energy to bother Leicester’s attack but given the Foxes’ playing style, Liverpool are probably going to have a lot of possession. If that is the case, they have to use that time on the ball properly and make sure they don’t give Leicester the ball in a position where they can launch a counter-attack.
Sadio Mane will be able to start this weekend despite the injury scare he went through during the international break. He looks to be at full strength and that means Klopp and Liverpool fans can look forward more of those exciting runs, this time against Christian Fuchs and the rest of the Leicester defense.
Roberto Firmino should continue to start at the top of the formation unless Klopp decides that more firepower is needed. Firmino’s effectiveness was on full display against Tottenham. He constantly pulled the Spurs defenders away from their position and that opened up a lot of space for Mane to run into.
Philippe Coutinho has not returned to the heights that he reached in the first match against Arsenal but he is always capable of producing that same magic at any point.