Leicester v Liverpool
Saturday February 13, 12:30
Leicester drop points at Molineux
Leicester‘s outside hopes of winning the Premier League title suffered a blow after being held to a goalless draw at Midlands rivals Wolves last weekend. The dour Molineux stalemate means Brendan Rodgers‘ side remain in third, sitting a full seven points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, who also have a further game in hand over the Foxes.
City have boasted an excellent away record this season but were flat for large periods of the Wolves contest and failed to fully test Rui Patricio. James Maddison tried his luck with a couple of drives from distance but the efforts were comfortably kept out, although Jamie Vardy made his return from injury on the hour mark and almost won it in time added time.
The Foxes faced just one shot on-target – though it was the best chance for either side – and was superbly kept out by Kasper Schmeichel at full stretch. Post-match Rodgers admitted a share of the spoils was a fair result after his side “didn’t manage to make that breakthrough” to create any clear-cut opportunities.
Liverpool title defence in tatters
Liverpool‘s Premier League title defence is in tatters after the Reds were thrashed 4-1 by table-topping Manchester City at Anfield last Sunday. A half-time system switch from the Citizens tilted the tie in their favour and a virtuoso performance by Phil Foden, plus a nightmare display from the champions’ goalkeeper Alisson ultimately proved decisive.
Alisson – instrumental during the Reds’ run to Premier League and Champions League glory – suffered arguably the biggest nightmare of his Liverpool career, making two bad clearances in the build-up to City’s crucial second goal, then compounding it with an even worse error for the third. However, Jurgen Klopp‘s outfit were outclassed across the contest.
It was a flat Anfield performance and Klopp must now consider whether his deadline-day centre-back signings Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak are ready to be given an opportunity from the off with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson having continued in the role last time out.
Liverpool have enjoyed head-to-head supremacy in Premier League match-ups with Leicester over recent seasons. The Reds have taken top honours in 12 of their past 17 meetings with the Foxes at this level (W12-D3-L2), including winning six of the past seven, as well as each of the most recent three meetings at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester 3.65 have thrived on the road in the Premier League this term but produced a series of erratic performances on home soil. Brendan Rodgers’ outfit have W1-D1-L4 when welcoming top-half opposition and conceded multiple goals in four of those KP fixtures. Surprisingly, the hosts also rank only 12th for non-penalty expected goals ratio (npxG).
Liverpool 2.166/5 have lost consecutive league games for the first time under Jurgen Klopp – they’ve not lost three in a row in the Premier League since November 2014 when managed by Brendan Rodgers. However, the Merseysiders were impressive winners in each of their past two away trips at Tottenham and West Ham, highlighting their quality to perform.
Four clean sheets in six outings has contributed to Leicester seeing the Over 2.5 Goals 1.728/11 barrier break in only three of their last 12 Premier League encounters. Meanwhile, just three of Liverpool’s past nine league matches since Christmas have also featured at least three goals, and so I’m happy to swerve reasonably short prices on a goal-heavy game.
Instead, I’ll happily take odds-against quotes on Mohamed Salah to score first at 4.507/2. The Egyptian hitman has 22 goals across 32 appearances in 2020/21, whilst notching 89 Premier League goals for the Reds in just 130 overall outings. On penalties, the division’s top goalscorer averages over three shots per-game, plus 0.37 non-penalty xG per-game.