Liverpool begin their Carabao Cup campaign with a 3rd round encounter against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night. The Reds season has come off the rails a bit after the International break. A hammering at the hands of Manchester City, a disappointing draw in the Champions League against Sevilla and an inexcusable home draw against the Clarets have left many Reds scratching their heads in disbelief. The match-up between the Reds and the Foxes can be viewed as somewhat of a double header. Both sides will meet again at the King Power Stadium in a league encounter on Saturday evening.
Last Meeting: Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool (27th February 2017)
Liverpool’s last visit to the Kings Power Stadium ended in disappointment as the Reds lost 3-1. The Foxes came into the match with new manager Craig Shakespeare in charge. First half goals from Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater put the Foxes 2-0 up at the break. Vardy added a third on the hour mark and the game was virtually over. Phil Coutinho managed to grab a consolation goal for the Reds but it proved to be too little too late.
That result was scrutinized by the media with Jamie Carragher calling both teams pathetic and shameful. The Foxes players, for throwing then manager Claudio Ranieri under the bus and the Reds for not pitching up for the game.
Liverpool lately have had a torrid time at the Kings Power Stadium. The last time Liverpool won at the stadium was all the way back in 2014. Reds fans will be hoping that stat can change twice this week.
Leicester City qualified for the 3rd round of this competition thanks to a 4-1 win away to Sheffield United in the 2nd round in August. Their prize for that result was a 3rd round tie against Liverpool. The Foxes sit in 15th place on the league table with 4 points after 5 games. With only 1 win, 1 draw and 3 defeats so far this season it has been an okay start to the season for the club considering their fixtures. Defeats to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were expected by many. The Foxes last encounter was a 1-1 draw away to newly promoted Huddersfield Town. Jamie Vardy’s penalty managed to rescue a point for Leicester.
Leicester City have done quite well in the transfer market and their squad is strong with a few eye catching purchases along the way. The signing of Vicente Iborra was a real coup for the club. They managed to lure the Sevilla club captain to England. He will add a lot of steel into the midfield of the foxes. The foxes also managed to hold on to the services of Riyad Mahrez. The highly rated Nigerian, Kelechi Iheanacho was signed from Manchester City. He will be hoping to form a formidable partnership with Jamie Vardy upfront.
Liverpool will need to make sure that they don’t underestimate the Foxes in this encounter or they could be in for a surprising early exist from the Carabao Cup.
The Key Battle: Daniel Sturridge vs. Harry Maguire
Liverpool’s number 15 has so far struggled for much game time this season. Sturridge did feature in the draw with Burnley, so he should be up to speed for this encounter. Last season, Daniel made 4 appearances in the League Cup and scored 4 goals. He was superb for the Reds on their way to the semi-finals.
Sturridge will come up against the burly Harry Maguire of Leicester City. The foxes paid over 20 million for the centre back from Hull City during the summer transfer window. Maguire has started the season reasonably well and will provide stiff resistance against the Liverpool attack led by Sturridge.
Manager Craig Shakespeare will be taking this competition seriously with the hope of winning some silverware this season. He may not make too many changes for this encounter. Players such as Jamie Vardy (tight groin), Kasper Schmeichel and Riyad Mahrez may be rested for this encounter. Shakespeare will want his three main players to be fit and ready for the league encounter against the Reds on Saturday.
Islam Slimani, Demarai Gray, Ben Hamer and Vicente Iborra will all probably start for the Foxes. The Adrian Silva transfer saga is still rumbling on, so the Foxes will be without his services. The freak eye injury suffered by Christian Fuchs may also keep him out of this encounter.
Danny Ward is in line to make his first competitive start for the Reds this season. Other squad players such as Marko Grujic, Ben Woodburn and Dom Solanke will also be hoping for some game time. Klopp will have one eye on the league fixture against the Foxes when choosing the match day squad for this encounter. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will most likely make his first start for the Reds after his arrival from Arsenal. It will be interesting to see whether Jon Flanagan, Lazar Markovic and Danny Ings are involved in this encounter or if they are surplus to requirements at Anfield.
Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are still long term absentees for the Reds and will not be available for selection.
Leicester City: Hamer, Amartey, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Gray, Iborra, King, Ulloa, Iheanacho, Slimani
Liverpool: Ward, Gomez, Klavan, Lovren, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Grujic, Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Solanke
Leicester City 1 – 2 Liverpool