Top-Placed Liverpool Take On Third-Placed Leicester City
Until last season, he was the man who came closest to ending the drought.
Brendan Rodgers makes his first return to Anfield since his 2015 sacking at Liverpool, bringing Leicester City into Saturday’s surprising top-three showdown between the table-topping club he left behind and his Midlands upstarts looking to make lightning strike for the second time in four years.
Rodgers had Liverpool in position to end their Premier League title drought in 2013-14, with the Reds atop the table until Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip gifted a back-breaking goal to Chelsea’s Demba Ba in a 2-0 defeat. Knowing they had to overtake Manchester City on goal difference to win the title, Rodgers and Liverpool went for broke the following week at Crystal Palace after building a 3-0 lead, only for the Eagles to peg them back to a draw in stunning fashion with three goals after the 79th minute.
Liverpool would finish the season two points behind City as their title drought dating back to 1990 cruelly continued. Rodgers would get the sack eight matches into the 2015-16 season after a 1-1 draw at home versus Everton in the Merseyside derby. He landed on his feet at Celtic, extending their dynasty in the Scottish Premier League while recording back-to-back domestic trebles in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
As Celtic neared a third such treble last term, Leicester City came calling for the former Swansea City and Liverpool boss, and he left for the Midlands. The Foxes (4-2-1), who are +600 underdogs to be the first team to beat Liverpool in league play and +380 to be the first to nick a point off them per the Fan Duel Sports Book, have been the surprise package of the young Premier League season with 14 points through seven matches, losing only to Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
Liverpool Odds to Stay Perfect on the Season
Rodgers’ side bounced back from that defeat with a pair of victories, including an emphatic 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United at home last Sunday. Jamie Vardy had a second-half brace as he moved ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and level with Eden Hazard on the Premier League’s all-time goals list with 85, and the performance was all the more impressive considering top playmaker James Maddison was held out due to an ankle injury.
The man who replaced Rodgers, Jurgen Klopp, knows all about the heartache of finishing second in the Premier League after being pipped by one point by Manchester City despite a club-record 30 wins and 97 points. Some of the sting was eased with their sixth European title, but Liverpool – solid -230 favorites to maintain their 100 percent record — are hellbent on ending their domestic title drought and have accrued the maximum 21 points through the first seven contests.
Liverpool stepped out of league play Wednesday and flirted with disaster in a wild 4-3 victory over Red Bull Salzburg in Champions League group play. Klopp watched his side fritter away a three-goal they created in the first 36 minutes by the hour mark before Mo Salah – who else? – came to the rescue with a toe-poke in the 69th minute off a clever pass by Roberto Firmino to complete his brace.
The match recalled Liverpool’s first full season under Klopp when the team looked to outscore opponents before suffocating them. It was just the third time in 63 matches since the start of last season the Reds conceded more than two goals – they entered the match having shipped just five in their seven league wins but have equaled that amount in splitting their two Champions League contests.
The victory again showed the difference in Liverpool without first-choice keeper Alisson, who is expected to return following this international break after suffering a calf injury in their season-opening league win over Norwich City. Even the five goals yielded between the Brazilian and his deputy Adrian in league play is ahead of last season’s pace of 22 when Alisson recorded 21 clean sheets.
The Foxes did leave Anfield with a point last season, with the since-departed Harry Maguire cancelling out Sadio Mane’s goal in a 1-1 draw. Liverpool had won the previous three meetings, including a 2-1 victory in the other matchup. Leicester City are winless in their last eight trips to Anfield, claiming just two points in that spell.