Liverpool expected 4-2-3-1 v Leicester: Summer signing axed
By Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp is likely to make only minor amends to the Liverpool team for their first match in a fortnight.
The Merseysiders dominated the 1-1 draw at Tottenham before the international break and were unfortunate not to return home with all three points.
Liverpool defended solidly, controlled the midfield for much of the match and counter-attacked with pace and menace, with summer signing Sadio Mane the dangerman-in-chief.
Saturday’s clash against Leicester will provide a different sort of challenge for Klopp’s men as they will play at Anfield for the first time this season following the completion of the spanking new main stand, which has increased capacity to 54,000 and, in theory, should make it an even more intimidating venue.
However, Liverpool struggled to break down a number of teams at their home ground last season, when their lack of extreme pace in attack emerged as a key weakness.
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The signing of Mane has immediately brought greater thrust to the front four, and Klopp will be tempted to stick with same quartet who impressed at White Hart Lane, which could once again mean Roberto Firmino spearheading the attack.
Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, who are more authentic spearheads than the Brazilian, could once again have to start on the bench.
Further back in the team, Klopp is likely to stick with the same back four who impressed at Tottenham, where Joel Matip made a hugely promising Premier League debut and James Milner was again given the nod over Alberto Moreno at left-back.
The one area where Liverpool could tinker is in central midfield.
Jordan Henderson and summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum have been paired for the opening three league matches but neither is a natural anchorman.
This could pave the way for the return of Emre Can, who is the closest senior player Klopp has got (not including outcast Lucas Leiva) to a holding midfielder.
Can was sidelined for the first three matches with niggling injuries but is undoubtedly Liverpool’s outstanding central midfielder.
The German and Jordan Henderson offer the Liverpool defence more protection than an alliance of Wijnaldum and the club skipper.
In other Liverpool team news, a defender has signed a two-year contract.