No better time to beat Liverpool at Anfield

A depleted Liverpool host Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City at Anfield in the late Sunday evening kick-off. Arguably, the prolonged international break came at the wrong time for both sides - for the visitors, it interrupted their momentum that saw them win six on the spin, and for the current champions, it only served to add to their injured/unavailable list - Mo Salah has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending his brother's wedding. On the pitch, the Foxes will have their own absentees to contend with, but still possess players in excellent form that could just end the three-and-a-half year unbeaten record in front of the empty Kop. Read our preview here:

On less than Firmino ground

The warning signs are converging all over the field for the Reds, starting in defence. Joe Gomez's terrible knee injury is yet another hammer blow to Jürgen Klopp, who will doubtlessly be cursing both the international break and his luck this season with key players facing prolonged periods on the sidelines. When combined with Trent Alexander-Arnold's enforced absence, the back four will be very lopsided in terms of senior experience. Despite being 23, Nathaniel Phillips has fewer than 30 matches under his belt in pro football, and Welsh full-back Neco Williams even fewer than that. Should Jordan Henderson shake off his own niggles, he will comprise one third of a midfield that's less than dynamic or properly equipped to contend with Leicester's mish-mash of counters and quick passes of play through central areas. Much of the attention in attack has rightly been on Diogo Jota's superb start for his new side, but the legions of fans really need Roberto Firmino to spark back into life in such a huge game - he has just one strike to his name in the top tier thus far, and is unlikely to get much aerial change out of a combative defensive trio in blue.

Youri the one

Ricardo Pereira can be grateful for the form and fitness of Timothy Castagne, who has deputised for the wing-back with some aplomb in 2020/2021. The former is nearing match fitness, whilst the latter should be able to regain his place on the right flank to do battle with Andrew Robertson. Alongside him, the deeply impressive Wesley Fofana will have to be at his best to check Sadio Mané's runs and movement off the ball, and his chief task will be to not allow the Senegalese trickster to come goal-side of him when crosses are whipped in low. Elsewhere, Youri Tielemans enjoyed a very fruitful goalscoring patch with Belgium, helping them to progress to the UEFA Nations League finals. His 'partnership' with Jamie Vardy will test Liverpool's interconnectivity in defensive situations to its extremes, and he can probably afford to progress with the ball in higher areas than he normally would, given the complexion of the opposition.

Rodgers' return of revelry

Former head coach Brendan Rodgers will be desperate to inflict another sucker punch to the reigning title holders. A season like no other, in no small part thanks to the pandemic, is unfolding. Liverpool have already demonstrated they're much more vulnerable than they were when they lifted the crown for the first time in over a generation last term. Whilst the 7-2 aberration against Aston Villa might be a one-off in terms of a scoreline, they are nevertheless in a weaker state. That doesn't mean they are suddenly just there for the taking, but an open race for the championship promises far more parity and twists yet. bet365 are offering odds of 3.80 for an away win. If not now, then when?

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