Liverpool’s Leicester false dawn bright after four injuries left Champions League trouble – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool's Leicester false dawn bright after four injuries left Champions League trouble - Liverpool Echo

The possibilities seemed endless when Liverpool last visited the King Power Stadium more than nine months ago.

Leicester City’s stadium was chosen to host the Community Shield at the end of July, as a 3-1 win over Manchester City again suggested the two heavyweights of recent years were ready to go head-to-head for the Premier League title and much more. the upcoming campaign.

There was even the bonus of Darwin Nunez eclipsing the summer’s other great striker, City striker Erling Haaland, by coming off the bench to win a penalty and then scoring to take the game away from Pep Guardiola’s side .

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It turned out to be the epitome of a false dawn. Curtis Jones and Naby Keita, who both came on as substitutes in the closing moments, did not play again until October and December respectively, while a friendly defeat to Strasbourg the next day saw Ibrahima Konate suffer an injury that limited him to just three appearances. the new year and a week later, Thiago Alcantara was sidelined for a long time. The tone had been set.

As for Nunez, a home debut against Crystal Palace saw him sent off and suspended after a lamentable headbutt, and while his England debut season has resulted in a respectable 15 goals so far, it’s been overshadowed by Haaland’s astonishing output. for city.

Such setbacks partly explain why Jurgen Klopp’s side now have an increasingly slim chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League. Victory for Manchester United at home to Wolves on Saturday afternoon shortly after Newcastle United earned a 2-2 draw at Leeds United means the Reds are running out of games for their opponents to slip, the duo are both four points ahead and all three combatants have just three games to play.

A superior goal difference means Newcastle are effectively one point ahead again, with the Magpies realistically needing just five points to finish higher than Liverpool, while United would need six. Both have two home games left to one for Klopp’s side.

While no Premier League team has lost fewer home games this season than the Reds – that shock loss to Leeds in October was their only downside at Anfield – it’s been a different story away from home with just five wins. However, two came in successive games at Leeds United and West Ham United with the Reds looking for a third successive win on their journey for the first time in a year as they return to the King Power to take on the struggling Leicester – who they have lost to on their last two visits – on Monday. At least a Liverpool win secures Europa League qualification.

“Our away record this season is still not brilliant,” Klopp admits. “When I came here we had that discussion very early on that we had created something like a fortress again at home, but we weren’t a top six or top four team then. And we realized it’s not that hard.

“The difference isn’t as big as we might think, but there is a difference and we need to make sure we’re ready for that too. That Anfield is a huge help and boost at many times is no secret and that we’ve got that no, but we’ve got three, four, five thousand people gone and they’re all crazy, they’re all on their toes for the whole 95 minutes.

“I know everyone wants to go to the Champions League now – I understand 100%, I want (too), it’s just not really likely. That’s the situation we’ve created. But to show and show again that we are able to do special things, I am very happy about that. Winning six games in a row is special and if it were easy we would have done it much more often, other teams would have done it much more often. The seventh adding to it is even more difficult.”

Klopp has some selection decisions to make ahead of the Leicester clash. With Cody Gakpo likely to battle for positions at center forward, captain Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott are pushing for a midfield recall, while Luis Diaz is in line for a third start since returning from a long-term knee problem. Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita remain out, along with Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic and Calvin Ramsay.


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Written by Ft7Ball

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