Leicester City welcome to Liverpool to the King Power Stadium this afternoon with both sides looking to preserve their impressive starts to the season. Liverpool are one of three teams with a 100per cent record after three games, while the Foxes still rue narrow defeat to Manchester United on the opening day of the season, but have responded with back-to-back wins over Wolves and Southampton and are set to halt the Reds impressive Premier League start
Liverpool may boast one of the most fearsome attacks in the Premier League, but Leicester City boss Claude Puel has reminded his young players they can cause Jurgen Klopp’s men a few problems too.
The Reds arrive at the King Power Stadium with an attacking trio in Mo Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane that has been terrorisingdefences, both domestically and in Europe, and now they have shored up their leaky defence Liverpool look the complete package.
However, Puel said his emerging Leicester youngsters also have the ability to make life difficult for Klopp’s men today in the early kick-off and called for his players not to be overawed.
“We know their quality but we have some good players also. Perhaps not with the same experience but we are in development for the future and they will continue to become good players also. We have the quality to cause them some problems, and more,” Puel said.
“We know we will play a great team with confidence. It is good football and I think it is an exciting game for us to play. They haven’t conceded a goal so it will be a good opportunity to be the first. I think we have a good feeling and we are confident.
“We want to show our quality against this team. We know we need to play with a good intensity and do good things with and without the ball. We need to be clinical in both boxes and to show our quality. It is an opportunity for all my young players and experienced players. We will see. It is exciting.”
Asked how Leicester can stop Liverpool’s potent strike force, Puel called for a collective response from his side.
“I think it is always a collective response because we need to defend together with intelligence,” he added.
“With or without the ball we have to play our game. Just this and not other things. We have a lot of respect for this team but we also have a good team, a good squad, and ambition. We will see.”
Puel is expected to start with the same side that clinched a last-gasp win at Southampton last week and he believes the manner of that victory, which came with Harry Maguire’s 92nd-minute winner, has provided even more belief.
“To score in injury time was amazing. It was fantastic,” he said.
“During the game, I was happy about our mentality and spirit. We found space in the second half and played well to win the game. That is a good feeling for everyone involved with the club. For the team, it is a good feeling and it shows the mentality from pre-season and in official games. It is important to continue this momentum.”
Leicester head into the game in buoyant mood following last Saturday’s 2-1 away win against Southampton and Nigerian international, Wilfred Ndidi is adamant they can keep the momentum going against the Reds.
“We are at home with the fans, the atmosphere. I think everything is going to work out well,” Ndidi told Leicester City’s official website.
Liverpool have looked stronger this season especially with the arrival of Guinean midfielder, Naby Keita.
Ndidi, however, believed it is too early to determine if they are a stronger team than last season.
“I can’t say because it’s just three games. I would say last season, they were very good. This season it’s too early to judge and I think we will try to manage the game. We will just continue from where we stopped and try to give our best,” he added.
The Foxes continue to be without Jamie Vardy who will serve the last of his three-match ban this weekend. Perhaps surprisingly to some, Leicester’s number nine has this week announced his retirement from international football. The Sheffield-born striker who notched up 26 appearances for the Three Lions has stated his desire to focus on club football, much to the delight of the Leicester City faithful. With Vardy’s empathic record against the top six sides, he will be a monumental miss for Leicester against Liverpool.
With Vardy still absent, Iheanacho is again likely to lead the line with support from Maddison. Schmeichel will be between the sticks behind Maguire and likely Wes Morgan. Caglar Soyuncu is still awaiting his debut for the Foxes after his arrival from Freiburg yet any involvement is unlikely for the centre back with a run out for the under 23’s soon his most likely approach. Matty James remains the only other injury.
The Reds have never won their opening four fixtures in the Premier League era and the last time they won their opening three they went onto becoming runners-up during the 2013/14 season under Brendan Rogers.
Leicester v Liverpool 12:30
Brighton v Fulham 15:00
Chelsea v Bournemouth 15:00
Crystal Palace v Southampton 15:00
Everton v Huddersfield 15:00
West Ham v Wolves 15:00
Man City v Newcastle 17:30
Cardiff City v Arsenal 13:30
Burnley v Man Utd 16:00
Watford v Tottenham 16:00
Team P GD Pts
Liverpool 3 7 9
Tottenham 3 6 9
Chelsea 3 5 9
Watford 3 5 9
Man City 3 7 7
Bournemouth 3 3 7
Leicester 3 2 6
Everton 3 1 5
Arsenal 3 -1 3
Crystal Palace 3 -1 3
Fulham 3 -2 3
Brighton 3 -2 3
Man Utd 3 -3 3
Wolves 3 -2 2
Cardiff 3 -2 2
Newcastle 3 -2 1
Southampton 3 -2 1
Burnley 3 -4 1
Huddersfield 3 -8 1
West Ham 3 -7 0