To quote Merseyside native Paul McCartney, Liverpool fans were simply having a wonderful Christmastime, as the Reds returned from the World Cup break with all three points against Aston Villa and unexpectedly beat Manchester United to the signature of in-demand Netherlands attacker Cody Gakpo.
Rounding off a highly successful but also topsy-turvy 2022 with a sixth competitive win on the bounce is no less than the Anfield faithful expect this week, and only one of their last 31 Premier League home games has ended in defeat, although that did come at the hands of Leeds United only two months ago.
However, the Reds’ top-flight scoring streak at Anfield does stand at a whopping 31 matches since a 1-0 loss to Fulham in March 2021, and not since their days in the second tier in 1961 have they suffered consecutive defeats in their final game of the calendar year, but there are no prizes for guessing which team made Liverpool’s end to 2021 a miserable one.
As ex-Liverpool boss Rodgers knows, though, Anfield is a different kettle of fish, and Liverpool eased to a 2-0 success over the Foxes in February after ending 2021 with a 1-0 loss to Leicester at the King Power, but the travelling fans will not be optimistic about lightning striking twice.
The imminent arrival of Gakpo comes at an ideal time for Liverpool, who are still without Arthur, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz for the long-term, while Roberto Firmino is also unlikely to recover from his calf injury just yet.
James Milner (hamstring) and Curtis Jones (shin) are also aiming for comebacks in Liverpool’s meeting with Brentford on January 2, where Gakpo could supposedly be available if Liverpool can thrash out the details with PSV Eindhoven in time.
World Cup finalist Ibrahima Konate is now back in training for Liverpool and could be one of a couple of changes amid the packed festive schedule, with the fresh legs of Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho potentially also being utilised in the first XI.
Meanwhile, injury was added to insult for Leicester in their defeat to Newcastle, as Dennis Praet – who had just begun to force his way back into the fray – was caught in the back by the knee of Joelinton and had to come off after 17 minutes.
James Justin, Jonny Evans and James Maddison, whose troublesome knee injury is causing him grief once again.
Praet’s injury should benefit Ayoze Perez or Marc Albrighton’s chances of a return to the starting lineup, while Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi could also benefit from some welcome rotation for the visitors.
Possible starting lineup:
Data will be available at kick off time or sooner.
Leicester City (29.6%)
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
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