James Justin and Fabinho out but Jamie Vardy returns and Ozan Kabak makes debut in King Power clash February 12, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Liverpool travel to Leicester on Saturday in the hope of getting their Premier League campaign back on track – and you can follow the match live on talkSPORT.
The Reds have been in poor form of late, losing three of their last five outings in the league and Klopp’s immediate concern now must be to stave off rivals for their top four place.
That is likely to come from Chelsea and West Ham, both a point behind, while Everton and Tottenham are also chasing.
Leicester, meanwhile, are having a superb campaign and are third in the division, though they failed to overcome Wolves at Molineux last time out.
Both Leicester and Liverpool have injury problems, however, and some key players are missing for the clash.
So what is the team news and how could both sides line-up at the King Power? talkSPORT.com takes a look…
Leicester team news
Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers was dealt a major blow with James Justin ruled out for the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL).
The defender was carried off in Wednesday’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Brighton.
Rodgers was hopeful the problem was not too serious immediately after the game but delivered the bad news on Friday.
“The scan hasn’t shown up so well. It looks like he has done his ACL which is a devastating blow for us because he has been incredible,” said Rodgers.
“He was walking about after the game and we hoped he would be OK but you have to wait to get the scan.
“He was upset yesterday because he has been so robust for me. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been too far away from Gareth’s (Southgate) thoughts.”
Ricardo Pereira, who was a standout performer last season before sustaining an injury himself, has come back into the fold in recent weeks and Luke Thomas will most likely slot in at left-back.
Liverpool team news
Klopp was dealt another problem at the back this week as he revealed that Fabinho was unavailable for the visit to Leicester with a muscle injury.
The Brazilian has played the majority of the season in central defence due to season-ending injuries for Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip and his absence could see January signing Ozan Kabak make his debut in central defence.
It means Klopp will have to play captain Jordan Henderson there again alongside either Nat Phillips or 20-year-old Kabak – a deadline-day loan signing from Schalke – but the threat of the pace of Jamie Vardy will most likely see the Reds boss lean towards handing the latter his first start ahead of fellow new signing Ben Davies.
“The boys had some sessions together where we really could work on this defensive set-up and that is really important,” said Klopp.
“On top of that we have other players available: Nat Williams did really well together with Hendo and together with Fab – Fab will not be available, by the way.
“He suffered again a little muscle issue so will be out for this game.
“We have to find a solution and all of them had a chance this week to show in training who is ready and so I have to make a decision tomorrow.”
Liverpool travel to Leicester in the early kick-off on Saturday and you can follow all the action live on talkSPORT from 12.30pm