After pipping rivals Manchester United in the race to sign Dutch Footballer of the Year Cody Gakpo, Liverpool return to Premier League (PL) action at Anfield. A 3-1 Boxing Day victory at Aston Villa saw the Reds secure three consecutive PL wins for the first time this campaign, but this remains unfamiliar territory for Jürgen Klopp, who hasn’t seen his side sit as low as sixth after 15 games since 2015/16 – his first season in charge.
Klopp stated that Liverpool now “have to be the pain in the backside for everybody” and their record in December points to them being just that once more. The Reds have lost just one league game in the month of December since 2016 (W28, D8), and they now have the chance to banish the psychological scars given that sole defeat (2-1) came here last season against Leicester City!
The Foxes haven’t been carrying the same impetus recently however, with their nine losses after 16 games (W5, D2) more than any season since their top-flight return in 2014/15. The latest of those was a crushing 3-0 defeat at home to Newcastle, which led manager Brendan Rodgers to admit that his side lacked “the right attitude” as they continue to look anxiously over their shoulder towards the relegation zone.
They arrive here with four consecutive multi-goal away wins ‘to nil’ though, so there are reasons for cautious optimism ahead of their last PL game of the calendar year. Whether they can beat a team in the top half for the first time this season remains to be seen however, especially with the continued absence of star-man James Maddison as he continues his recovery from injury.
Key battle: After scoring and assisting in Liverpool’s win over Villa, Mohamed Salah is now only the second Reds player to have netted and assisted 50+ goals in the PL. Leicester centre-back Daniel Amartey might be sick of the sight of the Egyptian with Salah snatching six goal contributions (G5, A1) in as many games against the defender.
Hot stat: Leicester haven’t drawn an away league game this season (W3, L5) and there has only been one PL stalemate between these sides since 2015!
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