Liverpool v Leicester Wednesday 19:45, BT Sport 1. Match Odds: Liverpool1.26, Leicester 16.00, The Draw 7.00.Liverpool v Leicester
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Liverpool enjoyed the benefit of 10 days off, while Manchester City have been competing in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup during that time. He'll be slightly disappointed, however, that this midweek's fixture is against Leicester - another side who weren't in FA Cup action at the weekend, making Liverpool's rest period less significant, at least in terms of this week.
Injury problems in defence
While Liverpool's fit first-teamers should be fully rested, Klopp nevertheless has something of an injury problem here. Joe Gomez is definitely out and James Milner is suspended, while Dejan Lovren, Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum are all considered doubtful.
The smart money is on Klopp being able to field at least two of those players. Van Dijk has missed training but seems likely to be fit, while Fabinho should be fit enough to slot in at right-back - not a position he's played regularly for Liverpool, but one he's played elsewhere.
But Fabinho's positioning means Liverpool are slightly stretched in the centre, especially with Milner out and Wijnaldum doubtful. It means Naby Keita seems more likely to be fielded in his favoured position in the centre, rather than in the left-sided midfield position where he's looked somewhat awkward.
That would open up a place for Xherdan Shaqiri to come into the side. What isn't in doubt, though, is that Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will all start this match. Their positioning remains to be seen, however: Firmino has often played behind Salah this season, while Mane can play left or right depending upon whether Keita or Shaqiri play as part of the front four.
Leicester good on the break
Claude Puel remains under pressure at Leicester, but victories over Chelsea and Manchester City during this Christmas break suggests that they're possibly better-equipped to play against bigger sides, especially because of Jamie Vardy's counter-attacking speed.
Vardy has a good record against Liverpool, including his famous dipping strike in Leicester's title-winning campaign, and will make lots of runs into the channels here. He particularly enjoys working the inside-left channel, and therefore Liverpool's concerns in the right-back zone could be particularly problematic here.
His closest support will come from James Maddison, having a fine first season in his role as a number 10, drifting into pockets of space to play clever through-balls. He's also a fine set-piece taker, and dead balls might be a major source of Liverpool chances here.
Speed could be crucial for both sides
Out wide, Leicester's wingers must be defensively disciplined. Right-sided Alvaro Pereira will track back with Andrew Robertson. On the other flank, Puel might be bolder - Demarai Graywould offer more counter-attacking speed than Marc Albrighton, while Harvey Barnes has also looked bright having been recalled from a loan.
The defence, however, is a concern. Leicester have been caught flat-footed as opponents have played through-balls in behind in recent weeks, a particular problem in the 4-3 loss to Wolves last time out. Jonny Evans hasn't been in good form, and while Harry Maguire may return, he's not enjoyed a good campaign. Wes Morgan, meanwhile, will be hugely vulnerable to the speed of Salah and Mane.
I think this game will be about speed in behind, with Vardy and Salah the obvious main goal threats. I can see problems in both defences, and therefore I'll back both teams to score at2.20.
The Betfair Trader - Alan Thompson
There is every chance that Liverpool’s lead at the top will be cut to one point by the time they take the field against Leicester City on Wednesday. But, the Reds have had plenty of time to prepare for this after having the weekend off due to their early elimination from the FA Cup.
Leicester City’s away form this campaign has been more than acceptable, winning five of their 12 starts on the road, they have won more away games than home games. But after three successive defeats against Newport, Southampton and Wolves, the festive wins over Manchester City and Chelsea are well and truly in the past. Claude Puel has to start delivering better results or he could be on his way.
The Reds may have had to work a little bit harder for their points recently but they still, eventually, collected the points against Brighton and Crystal Palace and their home form is a superb W10, D1, L0, they have only conceded six goals at home this campaign, although three of them were against Crystal Palace last time out.
It’s hard to see Leicester getting anything from the game and I can’t see how they can stop this Red goal-scoring machine. The only Premier League game that Liverpool haven’t scored in this season was the 0-0 against Manchester City in October and they are scoring an average of 2.8 goals per game at home.
I suspect Liverpool will open up that precious four point gap at the top again here and I will be backing Liverpool/Over 2.5 goals in the Match Odds and Over/Under 2.5 goals market at anything around evens (placing a keep bet to get matched in play if necessary).