In days gone by, Leicester City were something of a bogey team for Liverpool. This was particularly true in the 1960s (when Liverpool were great) and the 1990s (when they were not), but since re-joining the Premier League the Foxes have taken a solitary point from three trips to Anfield.
Both teams have been in decent form recently, but as Liverpool have only been behind for three minutes at Anfield in the league this season, it’s no wonder they’re priced at 2/7 with Leicester available at a whopping 9/1. They’ve rarely been available at such long odds since their first season back in the big time in 2014/15, and the bookies aren’t that wrong too often.
I won’t be putting my Christmas money from my gran on Leicester to win, but considering they have the eighth best away record and have only lost three times on the road, I think they have more than the implied 10% chance of winning.
Liverpool have drawn five matches at home, which only West Brom can top, and they have struggled to break down visiting teams, so I don’t think Leicester pinching a 1-0 win (which you can back at 33/1) is that remote a possibility.
Additionally, the Foxes have only conceded a relatively modest 1.4 goals per game away from the King Power stadium. You can get on a Leicester clean sheet at 10/1 if you wish. The Reds have so far only drawn an Anfield blank against two sides, both of whom carry a Pulis streak in their DNA: West Bromwich Albion, and Manchester United.
Surely Leicester won’t be that negative?
Whether they are or not, the 6/5 for Liverpool to keep a clean sheet is worth a look. Believe it or not, and you won’t, the Reds have conceded the fewest home goals in the Premier League this season.
No, really, the Liverpool of Lovren, Mignolet and multiple defensive meltdowns away from home have only conceded three goals in ten league games in their own patch. One of those was a cross from Willian, and another a not-at-all-disputed penalty by Wayne Rooney, so opposition attacks have had very little joy on the red half of Merseyside.
Leicester have scored in their last six away league matches, though, so perhaps they will again. If they do, and with Liverpool’s fab four in electric form, then surely both teams will score in this match. You can back that to happen at 4/6, and history is on your side if you do.
Since the start of the 2015/16 season, which Leicester fans will probably remember, these two sides lead the way when it comes to matches where both teams get on the scoresheet.
The form book suggests that over 2.5 goals, which you can back at 4/9, is definitely worth mulling over too.
The last three league meetings between the sides have actually seen over 3.5 goals (and a bet on that is available at 11/10), and since the start of last season these two teams have played in a lot of matches which have seen at least three goals.
When are the goals likely to fall though? I correctly tipped Liverpool to score in both halves at Arsenal in my previous preview, and the stats suggest it could happen again here. If it does, you’ll regret not getting on at 8/11.
The Reds have scored in both halves ten times already this season, which is second only to Manchester City, and they have also done so 16 times in their last 50 matches. But can we rely on Leicester to concede in both halves? Considering they’ve done so nine times in 2017/18, which is only one shy of the most frequent offenders (West Ham), then we probably can, yeah.
In terms of who might score, it’s always hard to predict from a Liverpool perspective as Jürgen Klopp has definitely embraced the concept of rotation this season. I would wait until the teams are announced before placing your bets, but based on the formbook I wouldn’t automatically go for Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian is the 3/1 favourite to score first, or 8/11 to score at any time, but he has only scored four goals in his last six starts. What a loser, right?
Well, no, of course not, but Liverpool’s Brazilians have both scored seven goals in their last six starts.
Both Coutinho and Firmino were rested for the recent Merseyside derby, a decision Klopp will rue for a long while yet. It made Sam Allardyce happy, and nobody wants to be responsible for that. Unless they happen to sell wine by the pint, that is.
But I digress. Firmino is 7/2 to score first, with his white-toothed compatriot Coutinho available at 4/1, and with the form they’re in, I wouldn’t discourage you from considering putting a few quid on either of them.
The value bet in the scorer market, though, has to be Jamie Vardy. Old man Steptoe is available at a tasty looking 15/2 to open the scoring, or 23/10 to get a goal at any point. He has scored six goals against Liverpool, which is more than he has managed against any other team.
Vardy has also got on the scoresheet in the last four league meetings between the teams, and at those odds, he’s definitely worth bearing in mind when you have a flutter.
Despite everything I’ve written about Leicester scoring, I actually think it will be 2-0 to Liverpool. If you do too, then get on that score line at 13/2. The most common result for both of these teams in their last 20 matches has been 1-1, so if you’re a fence sitter then that’s your bet at 10/1. But either way, enjoy the match and your New Year celebrations.