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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Liverpool should maintain perfect Premier League start

Jamie Vardy banned for Foxes

Liverpool celebrate Sadio Mane's goal in the 2-0 win at Crystal Palace
1 of 1

Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event, 12.30pm Saturday

One man doesn’t make a team but the absence of Jamie Vardy from the Leicester ranks has Foxes fans fearing the worst as highflying Liverpool seek to make it four wins from four.

Claude Puel’s men have flourished minus their recently-retired England frontman, who has served two games of a three-match ban.

They have beaten Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s in the Premier League and fired four past third-tier opponents Fleetwood in the EFL Cup.

Vardy is going to be sorely missed against the early-season pacesetters. Incredibly, he has scored in each of Leicester’s last five showdowns with the Reds, amassing seven goals in those games.

Indeed, since Leicester returned to the top-flight the striker has scored 43 per cent of his side’s goals against the big six – that’s 27 out of 63.

He’s so important to Leicester, who will never be the most expansive side under the innately cautious Claude Puel.

They need Vardy as much as they needed the departed Riyad Mahrez, and they are going to be a much blunter instrument against a Liverpool side whose defensive prowess is now getting as many headlines as their potency up front.

Liverpool are 4-9 to win at the King Power Stadium and 29-20 to win to nil for a fifth successive Premier League game.


They have kept 11 clean sheets in 18 Premier League games since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk and they finally boast a competent cat in Allison. The protection of that defence is much better organised in a midfield improved by the arrival of Naby Keita and bet365 are offering 66-1 that they break the top-flight defensive record of conceding fewer than 15 goals.

Credit to Jurgen Klopp. We’ve eulogised over the German's attacking approach since his arrival but now it looks like he’s nailed it at both ends of the pitch.

Liverpool did the double over Leicester last season in a pair of entertaining affairs and the Reds can win there again. And again, it should be well worth watching.

Klopp won’t alter his mindset and Leicester represent modest opposition, certainly no better than Crystal Palace or Brighton who Liverpool have eased past in the last couple of games.

Puel was under pressure when his team were flatlining at the end of last season. They finished on a run of five losses in seven games and while they’ve got six points already this season, they were flattered by the wins against Wolves and Southampton.

Punters should expect goals. Liverpool are already averaging 19 attempts per game and will arguably have more joy on the road where their pace on the break is likely to bear more fruit.

With their famous front three they look like a team who can score at will so back Liverpool to win a game featuring over 2.5 goals rather than just a short price about the visitors.

It may also be worth backing them to get at least seven corners. They average 6.7 a game while Leicester concede an average of seven per game.

Liverpool & over 2.5 goals
1pt 21-20 Betfred
Liverpool over 6.5 corners
1pt 21-20 Hills

Bet on this game at

Team news
Jamie Vardy completes a three-match ban. Matty James is out with an Achilles injury.

Dejan Lovren is closer to a return. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out long-term. James Milner may be rested.

Key stat
Leicester have lost their last ten Premier League matches against sides who starting the day top, scoring just four while conceding 25.

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Klopp won’t alter his mindset and Leicester represent modest opposition, certainly no better than Crystal Palace or Brighton
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