Rodgers on Pele. “You saw the outpouring, the tributes. When he was there for the last time [at Anfield] it was in 2015 and I was still a manager here. He always reminds me of my father, who loved Pelé, he was his idol, so when I saw [the news] my first thought was for my father, who obviously passed away as well. But the outpouring of emotions, the tributes from everyone, it really tells you what he was like as a player, but also as a person, and his legend will live forever, that’s for sure.
Klopp leaves. The other way around, Brendan Rodgers. The pair smile and hug warmly, then Rodgers joins Sky for their turn in a pre-match patter. “When you come to the biggest teams you need maximum concentration and commitment. We had a great run but it wasn’t like us at the start of the Newcastle game where we were trailing at two after ten minutes It was difficult so we have to focus and focus from the start We went for a three midfielder who has legs With the utmost intention you have to defend for long periods here, and Wilf [Ndidi] is obviously a good defensive player. Hopefully James Maddison will be back with the band within a week to ten days.
… and to complete a Klopp triptych, here it is on Cody Gakpo. “We’ve been interested in Cody for a long time. You know our situation, and we can’t just pick players and put them on top and top and top all the time. spend a little and then we can collect some again. So Cody is a very interesting player. He was very respected and loved at PSV and we think it’s a good time to put him in. He can play in all four [forward] positions, and that’s pretty rare. He has size, physique, can shoot from outside the box, has a good nose to finish, is quick, a good dribbler. There is so much to excite. Usually players develop quite well with us, and he’s already very good.
Klopp – who speaks to Sky Sports – moves on to tonight’s game. “Statistics are not too important. We lost the last one to them, and I feel it if I think about it. You see Leicester had a tough start to the season like us, but they found a way to get through it. Their line-up has a lot of speed, when they play against us they hit the ball for a long time, so we don’t know exactly, we have to be ready for anything. This is Anfield, and it’s been a long time since we’ve played here. We couldn’t wait and now we have to create an atmosphere.
Jurgen Klopp on Pele. “My father always said that whatever happens in the future, Pelé was the best. So that’s in my mind. I only saw him play as a child, but I met him once around of the 2006 World Cup, and [genuine childlike excitement sparkles in his eyes] I have an autographed shirt he gave me for my birthday, which is pretty special! So it’s really hard to be honest. Yeah. Let me put it like this: I believe in God and whatever team he plays for now, they have a decent player. So everything will be fine. But of course it will be a massive loss and may he rest in peace.
Liverpool are making a change to their starting XI following the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day. Harvey Elliott replaces Fabinho, who is completely missing. Ibrahima Konaté is back from his break after the World Cup final and is on the bench.
Leicester make two changes to the side beaten 3-0 at home by Newcastle. Ayoze Perez is only making his second start of the season, while Wilfred Ndidi also enters. Youri Tielemans falls to the bench, while Dennis Praet is injured. James Maddison is also injured; Jamie Vardy starts on the bench.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Thiago, Henderson, Elliott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Nunez.
Replacements: Adrian, Gomez, Konate, Keita, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Clark, Bajcetic, Doak.
The City of Leicester: Ward, Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Thomas, Ndidi, Soumare, Dewsbury-Hall, Perez, Barnes, Daka.
Replacements: Iversen, Soyuncu, Vestergaard, Brunt, Mendy, Tielemans, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Vardy.
The teams in a nice photo, in the form of social media.
Most signs point to a home win tonight. Liverpool have won seven of their last eight Premier League games at Anfield against Leicester City and have drawn the other; the Foxes haven’t won on this ground since 2000, during the days of Tony Cottee, Robbie Savage, Neil Lennon and Phil Gilchrist (who bundled Muzzy Izzet’s corner to seal a 2-0 win). Liverpool have won their last three Premier League matches; Leicester are coming off a 3-0 home defeat to Newcastle. Liverpool are fifth; Leicester are 13th.
But followers of both clubs know that Leicester have a habit of making life difficult for Liverpool. They were seconds away from knocking them out of the League Cup last December. They have won two of the last three league meetings, with 3-1 and 1-0 wins at the King Power in 2021. They ended Liverpool’s famous 85-game unbeaten home run in 1981. Jamie Vardy scored ten times against them, while Brendan Rodgers winning on his old turf would be quite a story. So you can watch it as you see fit. All we know for sure is that the match will start at 8 p.m. GMTand that it is to.