Location: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Kick-off time: 5:30 PM GMT, 12:30 PM Eastern, 09:30 AM Pacific
Following a significant international break for Leicester, the Foxes are back in the Premier League this weekend away to Liverpool on Saturday for what will be a tough test at Anfield.
A total of 12 Leicester players were called up to their respective senior and youth national teams this past week with Riyad Mahrez bagging a brace and new signing Islam Slimani adding an assist in Algeria’s 6-0 win over Lesotho. Bartosz Kapustka scored his third goal for Poland in a 2-2 draw against Kazakhstan while both Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater were unused in England narrow victory over Slovakia.
Algeria’s deadly attacking duo of Mahrez and Slimani could feature for the first time together in Leicester blue on Saturday after the club smashed their record transfer fee to bring in the striker. Slimani scored 31 goals in 44 appearances last season for Sporting Lisbon and joins a strong strike force among the likes of engines Vardy, Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa.
The Foxes are entering a busy schedule that has Leicester playing four matches in 11 days, including the club’s first Champions League match away to Club Brugge on September 14. Manager Claudio Ranieri will be happy to escape the international break with no new injuries and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is available this weekend after coming off injured in Leicester’s 2-1 win over Swansea and having a minor hernia operation shortly after. The same can’t be said for Jeffrey Schlupp and Nempalys Mendy who remain out of the line-up.
With the upcoming busy schedule, it will be interesting to see how Ranieri sets his starting 11 on Saturday in anticipation for Leicester’s Champions League debut on Wednesday. The Foxes have depth in the striker and midfield positions that could push Ranieri back to his “Tinkerman” ways, and I won’t be surprised if he does just that to get Leicester through these next 11 days with four wins.
Both Leicester and Liverpool have taken four points from their first three games and have had a few bumps along the way to begin the 2016/17 season. The Foxes faltered against Hull on opening day while Liverpool followed up an explosive 4-3 win over Arsenal with a disappointing loss against Burnley.
A 1-0 loss at Anfield was the beginning of a tough stretch of games for the Foxes last season where they failed to find a goal for three-straight matches. Leicester fans are hoping that offense will be the least of their worries on Saturday with the amount of attacking options Ranieri has at his disposal.