Liverpool set to go on the attack to defend their title amid injury crisis

Klopp has a number of issues to ponder

The champions have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 top-flight fixtures and no team have given up more first-half goals.

With Jamie Vardy enjoying his run-outs against Liverpool – scoring seven times against them in 11 appearances – and given his form this campaign, the signs are that Klopp’s unit will need to shapeshift back into a blitz machine to weather their defensive storm.

The absence of Salah, who tested positive for coronavirus, puts somewhat of a dent in that plan, but it remains Liverpool’s strongest hand.

With Mane, Firmino and Diogo Jota supplemented by the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain edges closer to a return, the Merseysiders are well equipped to compensate for their weaknesses in other areas of the pitch.

“If somebody thinks we give up because some of our best players are unavailable, I cannot help you,” Klopp said on Friday. We will not do that.

“Nobody here feeds any kind of self-pity. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. As long as we can field 11 players we will fight for the points.”

Brendan Rodgers will not doubt those words. Last December, Leicester were billed as Liverpool’s closest challengers for the title and fancied themselves to pull off a Boxing Day triumph at King Power Stadium.

Klopp’s men had a taxing schedule that included competing in the Club World Cup in Qatar and the wisdom was that they could be caught cold in the East Midlands.

Liverpool, aware of such talk and fuelled by it, produced one of the performances of the season and smothered Leicester 4-0.

While a repeat of that kind of dominance is unimaginable given the circumstances, Sunday’s hosts have a habit of coming out swinging when they’re up against the ropes – especially when their unbeaten record at Anfield is on the line.

And so Leicester will arrive as league leaders, but also wisely with some apprehension. 

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