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3 Leicester stars who could dent Liverpool’s title charge – including this 2-goal midfielder

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Liverpool face off against Leicester in a top of the table clash

Foxes are solitary hunters. Although they form groups called ‘skulks’ when required, they fend for themselves individually.

This self-reliance ensures the survival of the fittest, building a formidable hunter that can run amok in the wild.

Brendan Rodgers has taken a pack of foxes, formidable in their own rights, and formed a pack out of them. One that runs and fights together. One that could well redeem him this Thursday against Liverpool.

Since taking over at Leicester, Rodgers has given both shape and an identity to a promising team that hadn’t quite reached anywhere close to the levels they set in 2015-16.

Rodgers has re-ignited a Leicester resurgence

Leicester City are second in the League table and find themselves in the unlikely position of being Liverpool’s closest challengers for the title. It would take a fool to dismiss them from doing the impossible once again.

In Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Jonny Evans and Jamie Vardy, the Foxes have a Championship-winning spine that has been supplemented by a young, dynamic midfield led by the sublime Youri Tielemens and the magnificent James Maddison.

Smart recruitment in both the playing and managerial departments have led to this confluence, with the Foxes enjoying a resurgence once again.

Rodger’s Liverpool team of 2013-14 is remembered for its swashbuckling attack in the Premier League.

It was, however, a team that relied on the individual brilliance of a core of players who seemed to carry the rest of the team at times. A wolf pack, of sorts, where the strong protected the weak.

Rodgers almost lead Liverpool to the title in 2013-14 (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This Leicester team may not have the individual brilliance of a Luis Suarez or a Steven Gerrard but it is just as prolific and better balanced.

The trip away to Leicester will be one of the toughest challenges for Klopp’s world champions. We take a look at 3 players most likely to put a dent into Liverpool’s title charge.

Jonny Evans

A multi-league winning player, seasoned defender Jonny Evans has been a revelation since his move to the King Power Stadium.

The Former Manchester United youth product was part of three United squads that won the league, knocking Liverpool off their perch, and will have an extra incentive to stop the Reds.

Cağlar Söyüncü is a promising player in his own right but also prone to the rush of overselling himself and getting caught out. The way that Evans marshals his younger partner – and his ability to cover for him – makes him the shield of this Leicester backline.

How the tie turns out will depend a lot on how the Liverpool attack fares. In Evans, the Reds will have an unspectacular yet formidable opponent who isn’t just dependable but also someone who can marshall a whole defensive line.

Wilfred Ndidi

With Leicester preferring a 4-1-4-1 formation, Ndidi plays just ahead of the back four and is one of the best defensive midfielders in the business.

Averaging 4.4 tackles and 2.9 interceptions per game, Ndidi is a dominant force in the Leicester midfield – one that the Reds cannot afford to ignore. (h/t Whoscored)

The calibre of Ndidi’s performances can be appreciated when one compares him to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Liverpool’s Fabinho. Not only does Ndidi have better stats in terms of clearances, interceptions and tackles, but he has also won almost twice as many aerial battles this season as Kante (h/t Premier League) and Fabinho (h/t Premier League) combined.

Ndidi’s ability to dominate the midfield also frees up Youri Tielemans and James Maddison in pushing up the field to swarm the opposition defence.

Ndidi isn’t just adept at the defensive side of things. He is often the player who collects the ball from the backline and begins an attack. Closing him down will go a long way in dominating Leicester.

With a passing success of 83.9% and his ability to play an average of 2.7 long balls per game, Ndidi is also capable of switching possession and opening up new avenues in the attack. (h/t Whoscored)

The 23-year-old has made 17 appearances for the Foxes this season and scored 2 goals.

Jamie Vardy

The main goal threat from Leicester comes from English striker Jamie Vardy.

Possessing both pace and power, Vardy’s ability to get past the last man will prove a constant hindrance to the Liverpool defence.

Leicester love pinging beyond the opposition backline for Vardy to chase. This coupled with his good finishing often sees him come out on top.

The Leicester midfield of Ndidi, Tielemans and Maddison average 2.7,3.2 and 2.2 long balls per game (h/t Whoscored), mostly directed towards Vardy and cutting off these avenues will prove critical for Liverpool.

Liverpool will need to win the aerial battles as Vardy flicking the ball onto Ayoze Perez or Maddison to run behind the Liverpool defence can open us up. With Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have a reasonable chance in winning this aspect of the matchup.

Man-marking Vardy with his pace isn’t the easiest of tasks and Liverpool will be better served trying to catch the striker offside by cutting off passing avenues.

Vardy has scored 17 goals and provided 3 assists in 18 matches this season and comfortably leads the race for the Golden Boot.

Honorable Mentions

Maddison and Tielemans have averaged 2.6 and 1.6 key passes per 90 minutes for Leicester this season. Maddison is also adept at taking free-kicks and Liverpool should avoid giving away cheap fouls in dangerous positions.

How Liverpool will perform in the game depends a lot on the midfield. Liverpool’s task would have been easier had Fabinho been fit.

More Liverpool News

Liverpool won all 3 points in the reverse fixture at Anfield with a last-gasp James Milner penalty. Neither Perez nor Robertson would have forgotten their spat at full time and the game promises to be an entertainer.

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3-goal League One starlet expresses shock at being linked with Liverpool

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Coventry City defender Sam McCallum shocked by Liverpool interest

Coventry City defender Sam McCallum has expressed his shock at being linked with a move to European champions Liverpool. (h/t Mirror)

The youngster has impressed at Coventry this season. He has made 21 appearances and has scored 3 goals for the League One side. (h/t Whoscored)

The defender was happy at the links but dismissed the chances of the transfer going through. Championship leaders Leeds United are also interested in the player.

Sam McCallum

The defender, who primarily plays as a left-back, is also adept on the other flank. He has made 32 appearances for the Sky Blues since being signed from Herne Bay in 2017.

Liverpool are in the market for a back-up to Andrew Robertson. Given the club’s focus on signing exciting young talent, it comes as no surprise that McCallum is one of the names under consideration.

The Reds secured the services of Harvey Elliott and Sepp van den Berg in the summer as the club look to build upon an era of continued success

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Jurgen Klopp will not sell any first-team players this January
Liverpool enquire about ‘the new Andrea Pirlo’ Sandro Tonali
Liverpool to recall striker Taiwo Awoniyi from Mainz loan

The Reds have so far signed Takumi Minamino and Joe Hardy in the January transfer window. Minamino will add much-needed quality in depth to the first team whereas Hardy has been placed in the Liverpool reserves.

Hardy scored twice on his Liverpool Under-23 debut in the 5-0 victory over Southampton Under-23s.

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Liverpool’s Champions League hero linked with move to join PL rivals

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Divock Origi

Wolverhampton Wanderers are interested in Divock Origi

Liverpool striker Divock Origi has emerged as a transfer target for Wolverhampton Wanderers. (h/t Liverpool Echo)

The Belgian international joined the Reds from Lille in 2014. He has established himself as a cult hero following his Champions League heroics against Barcelona and Tottenham last season.

Origi has made 26 appearances for Liverpool this season, with the majority of them coming off the bench. The striker has scored 5 goals and 1 assist so far this season. (h/t Whoscored)

divock origi

Wolves are currently 7th in the English Premier League and look set to qualify for the Europa League next season. They can also consider themselves to have an outside chance of finishing top four if things go their way.

Raul Jimenez has established himself as the first-choice striker. The addition of Origi will add another effective threat to a free-flowing Wolves team as they look to climb up the table.

Origi stepped up for Liverpool numerous times last season. His winners against Everton and Newcastle coupled with his performances against Barcelona and Tottenham will live long in Reds folklore.

The striker scored a last-minute equalizer against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup this season as Liverpool went on to win the match on penalties.

The 24-year-old has made 125 appearances for Liverpool and has scored 33 goals. (h/t Whoscored)

More Liverpool News

Jurgen Klopp will not sell any first-team players this January
Liverpool enquire about ‘the new Andrea Pirlo’ Sandro Tonali
Liverpool to recall striker Taiwo Awoniyi from Mainz loan

Origi has proved himself to be a dependable player for Klopp to call on and is unlikely to leave the club this January.

Jurgen Klopp has already stated that no first-team players will be sold this month as Liverpool chase a first league title in 30 years.

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Klopp rules out potential transfer moves for Liverpool first-team stars

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Jurgen Klopp will not sell any first-team players this January

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will not let any first-team players leave the club in the January transfer window. (h/t Express)

Liverpool sit pretty at the top of the Premier League and have a 14 point gap over second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.

The Reds have been busy in the January transfer window and have already brought in Japanese playmaker Takumi Minamino and Brentford youngster Joe Hardy. The likes of Rhian Brewster, Herbie Kane, Isaac Christie-Davis have all left on loan this month.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have reportedly received inquiries regarding squad players Dejan Lovren and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Klopp will not sanction any sales this month. The German wants to keep his first-team together until the end of the season.

Liverpool are currently involved in three competitions and had only recently been stretched to the limit by injuries to key personnel. With the club looking on course to breaking the title drought, Klopp will need every player to step and be counted when required.

Liverpool are a well-drilled team that have picked up the habit of being serial winners. With the team looking on course for the Premiership, it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to quit the team this January.

Italian giants AS Roma are keen to bring in Xherdan Xhaqiri for the injured Nicolo Zaniolo while backup center back Dejan Lovren too has been attracting attention from Roma and AC Milan.

After Klopp’s comments, it is safe to say that neither player will be going anywhere.At least until the summer.

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Liverpool could make club-record £125million bid for Kai Havertz
Paul Robinson urges West Ham United to sign Nathaniel Clyne

Liverpool need 35 points in our last 17 matches to guarantee our first league title in 30 years. The Reds next face arch-rivals Manchester United who are currently in the 5tgh spot.

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