Liverpool return to Anfield for a Premier League fixture for the first time since early November this evening when the Merseysiders play host to a Leicester outfit that was left punch-drunk by Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Reds supporters will be in high spirits following their team’s comfortable win at Aston Villa and the subsequent surprise signing of starlet Cody Gakpo from PSV, and a victory over the Foxes and former Liverpool manager Brenden Rodgers would complete a hattrick of festive highs for the club.
Below, you can dive straight into my stats pack for this evening’s skirmish which contains all kinds of statistical info for your bet builder coupons. Read my Stats Pack Guide if you want to sharpen up on how best to use the stats presented.
Diogo Jota, Arthur and Luis Diaz are still listed as long-term absentees for Liverpool, while Roberto Firmino is a major doubt as he steps up his recovery from a calf complaint.
Cody Gakpo won’t be available until the winter transfer window opens on New Year’s Day, though Ibrahima Konate is back in training following his World Cup exploits and could feature.
With hectic scheduling an issue, Jurgen Klopp could shuffle his pack a little in a bid to keep players fresh and Fabio Carvalho and Harvey Elliott will be among those hoping to start.
Leicester will be without the services of key centre-half Jonny Evans and creative lynchpin James Maddison for their visit to Anfield. Dennis Praet came off injured in the Foxes’ 3-0 reverse at home to Newcastle on Boxing Day and the Belgian is a doubt as a result.
Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy were named on the bench against the Magpies and both players will hope they are among the fresh legs rotated into the City XI by Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool have been a match for Premier League front-runners Arsenal and Manchester City in the majority of attacking metrics this term, though it’s interesting to note that the Reds rank all the way down in 11th spot for xG against.
Indeed, only seven clubs in the division have been conceding more shots on target against per 90, though Liverpool’s firepower at the opposite end has helped to mask their defensive deficiencies for the most part, while keeper Alisson has also been in super-human form.
Only Tottenham have won more corners than Liverpool and the Reds have collected fewer cards than anyone else so far.
With just five victories in 16 assignments, Leicester’s Premier League campaign has been one of toil and torment so far, and their 3-0 loss to Newcastle on Boxing Day was a fresh nadir.
The Foxes’ goals, shots, shots on target and xG against figures have outweighed their work at the right end, which suggests results have matched performances.
Leicester conceded 22 shots when they last visited Anfield in February and they will fear a similar peppering today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Darwin Nunez continues to be a divisive figure, but to quote the movie Moneyball, “he gets on base” and despite missing a hatful of chances at Aston Villa, the Uruguayan mustered six attempts with four of those hitting the target.
The 23-year-old is a bet builder’s dream and he is available at a generous-looking 8/11 with Paddy Power to lodge at least two shots on target against Leicester.
Virgil van Dijk could be another useful coupon filler at nice odds. The Dutchman has hit at least one attempt in ten different Premier League fixtures this term.
Leicester managed to rack up just five attempts when they last visited Anfield and the currently injured James Maddison accounted for three of those on his own.
The Foxes could struggle to mount attacks on Merseyside again this evening, though Harvey Barnes could be your best bet if you’re determined to add a Leicester player to your docket from this market.
Barnes has been lodging 1.25 shots on target per 90 this season and he will be marked by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is prone to lapses in concentration. At 5/6 to hit at least one shot on target, Barnes represents good value.
Player Goals and Assists
The ever-reliable Mohamed Salah scored his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign after just five minutes against Aston Villa on Boxing Day and the Egyptian now has 11 goal contributions overall. The bookies are on to him however, which is why he is as short as 2/5 to grab a goal or assist against Leicester.
Andrew Robertson (7/5 anytime assist) has been another chief assist provider for Liverpool. The Scottish international claimed his fifth assist of the season when he set up Salah against the Villains and only two Reds players have posted more shot-creating actions (45).
James Maddison has had a hand in 11 of Leicester’s 25 Premier League goals this season and his enforced absence today is a major blow to the Foxes’ chances of causing an upset.
Harvey Barnes has been maintaining impressive numbers from the flank, while Patson Daka can be pleased with his tally having started just eight times. That pair have been priced at 4/1 and 5/2 respectively to score at Anfield which indicates the bookies don’t expect Leicester to get much of a sniff.
Only Man City have dominated more possession per game than Liverpool this season, so expect the Reds to dictate play again when they host Leicester at Anfield.
Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson dominate the individual passing stats for the Reds and of those, TAA looks the best value at 5/6 to clock 70 or more passes. The 24-year-old has beaten that target in each of his last three Premier League starts.
When Leicester last played Liverpool at Anfield in February, they enjoyed just 35% of the ball and just two of their players (Daniel Amartey and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall) managed to hit 40 or more passes.
However, with Leicester’s confidence at rock bottom, I expect most of their underperforming players to loiter in the 15 to 35 pass ranges on Merseyside, though value in the applicable markets is pretty much non-existent.
Liverpool have been picking up less than one card per game in the Premier League this season and with the Reds almost certain to be on the attack for the majority of today’s game, decent card-collecting candidates in their ranks are thin on the ground.
Fabinho (5/1), Trent Alexander-Arnold (6/1) and Thiago Alcantara (9/2) will be among those tasked with snuffing out any dangerous-looking Leicester counter-attacks, though that trio carry big prices in card markets for a reason and it might be wiser to keep your powder dry here.
Harvey Barnes and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall are two of Leicester’s four most-fouled players in the Premier League this season and their match ups against Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho could be worth watching if the Foxes somehow manage to establish a foothold in the game.
Elsewhere, Boubakary Soumaré is an awkward customer and he will hope to draw some petulant challenges from Thiago Alcantara, who is known to be fond of an ankle clip at times. Here’s an extra nugget of trivia – Thiago committed a game-high three fouls when Liverpool last locked horns with Leicester in February.
Match-Ups to watch
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Harvey Barnes
Fabinho vs Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Thiago Alcantara vs Boubakary Soumaré
Leicester City Cards
Wilfred Ndidi and Boubakary Soumaré have collected two bookings each in the Premier League for Leicester this season and as two of the most prominent foulers and tacklers in the Foxes ranks, they both jump out as excellent card candidates today at 13/5 and 3/1 respectively.
Interestingly, a third Leicester midfielder, Youri Tielemans (7/2), ranks joint-first (alongside Maddison) for City for total fouls committed this term (15), and though he has only been cautioned once, his card tally should probably be closer to James Maddison’s.
Jordan Henderson’s all-action style and running power should put him on Boubakary Soumaré’s radar today, while Youri Tielemans will be among those trying to put the squeeze on the influential Fabinho.
Wilfred Ndidi will patrol the spaces between the Leicester defence and midfield if he is chosen to start by Brendan Rodgers and the Nigerian international might be in close proximity to the combustible Darwin Nunez as a result, especially when the latter comes a little deeper to offer a passing option during Liverpool’s build-up play.
Match-Ups to watch
Boubakary Soumaré vs Jordan Henderson
Wilfred Ndidi vs Darwin Nunez
Youri Tielemans vs Fabinho
My Picks of the Stats Pack
If you’re struggling to navigate the data when opening your betting app, here’s just an idea of the goodies you can get from the stats above. These four selections would come in at around 8/1, but feel free to add and remove whichever you’d like, and add your own picks too.
Liverpool vs Leicester City
Liverpool and Leicester both rank in the top 5 sides in the league when it comes to average match goals. Leicester average 3.31 goals and Liverpool average 3.27.
I think there’s a very good chance that Liverpool cover this line on their own tonight. They win 3-1 at Villa Park in the last game with an xG of over 3.00, which is incredible.
Leicester were walked over by Newcastle, shedding more light on their dreadful defence.
Darwin Nunez has been registering 2.39 shots on target p/90 from 5.82 shots.
He managed 4 on target from 6 against Aston Villa.
Trent Alexander-Arnold averaged 90.8 passes p/90.
He stays on the pitch for an average of 71 minutes, which would have him at 72 passes already.
Liverpool average 61% possession.
Liverpool average 0.93 cards per game, with their opponents averaging 1.47.
Leicester average 1.19 cards per game.