Premier League leaders Liverpool return to action on Wednesday when they take on Leicester City under the Anfield floodlights.

Claude Puel’s side secured headline-grabbing victories over both Manchester City and Chelsea in December, but the Foxes have lost their last two.

So, what can we expect from them at Anfield?

We spoke to BBC Sport commentator and Leicester fan Ian Stringer (@StringerSport) to get the lowdown…

Puel has had 10 days to prepare for this match, how much of a difference will that make?

It’ll help for sure (as would Jürgen Klopp having had his players climb mountains for the last 10 days carrying 20kg rocks in each hand and a rucksack full of bricks), a fresh side is able to compete with Liverpool’s work-rate a little better, which is clearly one of the biggest threats they have. 

Claude will have enjoyed preparing tactically for this game – not a claim he’s going to win the tactical battle at all – as he’s a real lover of the intricacies of the game. 

What are the expectations for Leicester this season?

Expectations are a strange thing, aren’t they? On our airwaves post-match and on our weekly Foxes discussion programme, it seems to revolve more around progress and a desire to see the direction in which the club are going under Claude rather than an ‘X’-placed finish.

Clearly winning the league has skewed the dreams of Foxes fans, understandably, but it’s certainly a transitional season. 

We should also remember that this season will be remembered for the club coming through the tragic loss of their legendary chairman Khun Vichai, who sadly died in a helicopter crash in October. I think the manager has done an incredible job in guiding the club through these devastating times. 

There has been much discussion of Jamie Vardy’s striking role under Puel, what is your take on it?

Vardy was voted ‘The Greatest Ever Fox’ in a summer-long, knockout, head-to-head style poll we ran on the air and he’s clearly City’s biggest threat, but he’s had to adapt his game under Puel. He isn’t playing on the shoulder of defenders as much and is coming deeper to pick up the ball and try to play others in. 

My view is that I’d like to see the club play more to Vardy’s strengths and put him in behind more. They’ve got the weapons to do it and it does happen, but not as much as it used to. Demarai Gray and James Maddison are more than capable of finding Vardy, whose pace is electric, even at 32. 

He has a knack of scoring against the Reds (seven goals in eight games), is he still the star man?

Vardy is even more so the star man now that Riyad Mahrez has left for Manchester City. He can sometimes cut a frustrated figure up there, as a regular ‘No.10’ to support him seems difficult to come by with numerous players being tried and rotated out.

Which player has surprised you most so far this season?

Wes Morgan has really stood up to be counted. The club invested in two new centre-halves in the summer and some suggested the Premier League-winning skipper’s days were numbered. He’s worked really hard physically and continued a strong partnership with Harry Maguire, thus keeping Jonny Evans out of the side on a regular basis. 

What have you made of Liverpool’s season so far?

They’re doing OK, aren’t they… what an incredible season. I have a lot of time for Klopp as a man as well as a manager. We jousted when the clubs were at the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong last year and he was great value, answers questions to the media honestly and with a smile on his face. 

His football is exciting and brave; he backs his players and backs his system. They’re an outstanding outfit and have made the Premier League title race fascinating. I enjoy front-foot football and thus enjoy watching Liverpool this term. Have a night off for this one, though, lads, eh? 

Which key player battle could turn the game?

Injuries/illness/rotation permitting, Sadio Mane against Ben Chilwell could be a cracker.

Chilwell has flourished under Puel and has rightly been recognised by England and offered opportunities with the Three Lions. He’s got the lot and still a little bit of room to improve too. Mane will be a real test, though, and one I know Ben will relish. Ben’s quick and very strong for a 22-year-old. A good old-fashioned battle. 

Which one Liverpool player would you like to see in a Leicester shirt?

Michael Owen… can I say him? I’m a boy of Leicester but loved watching a youthful striker astonish us all with his finishing ability and pace. You meant current player, didn’t you? I reckon Mohamed Salah would get a place on the Foxes bench…

How do you expect the Foxes to line up?

What a question that is. No idea. And that’s the fun we’ve been having all season under Claude, you can’t second guess him. 

What is your prediction for the game?

Liverpool 0-5 Leicester City.

Premier League 2018-19
Premier League 2018-19




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