- The Athletic reporter James Pearce previews Monday’s clash between Leicester City and Liverpool
- The Premier League fixture has a 8pm BST kick-off at King Power Stadium
- City currently sit 18th in the standings and two points behind Everton
- The information on how to follow Monday’s match-up can be found HERE
Currently two points off safety, the necessity for points has increased further, with the next opportunity coming up when they welcome an in-form Liverpool side, who are pushing to finish an underwhelming season strongly.
“There’s been some much-needed positivity for Liverpool, after what has been a tough season,” Pearce told LCFC TV’s Matchday Live. “Certainly more disappointing than anyone expected after last year’s efforts, but I think to play 63 games in every competition has taken its toll, both physically and mentally.
Mohammed Salah scored the only goal in Liverpool's victory over the Bees last time out.
On a roll of six straight wins, most recently including a 1-0 win over Brentford at Anfield, Pearce labelled manager Jürgen Klopp and a new position for defender Trent Alexander-Arnold to be reasons behind an improvement in performances.
“The biggest factor in our turnaround has undoubtedly been Klopp and the tactical tweaks that he’s made,” The Athletic reporter stated. “Alexander-Arnold would be the first to hold his hands up and say he’s not been delivering this season.
“We’ve been decimated at times with injuries, but they’re also used to winning. So, mix the fact that morale has taken a hit with possibly not spending enough in the transfer windows, along with certain personal having dips in their form, it’s left us thinking we might miss out on European football altogether.
“But now, on the back of six straight wins, we’ve forced our way into the conversation for the top four. Of course, they need to perform in the last three and hope results go our way.”
Being able to freshen up the attack has been a positive for Klopp and it’ll be interesting who gets selected on Monday evening.James Pearce The Athletic
“Giving him this new hybrid role, where he remains at right-back when defending but moves into a holding midfield role in possession, has energized him and giving him a new lease of life.
“This has had a knock-on effect to players around him and suddenly his creativity is there for all to see, and the mood has been transformed. You add to that Cody Gakpo who arrived in January and has got better and better.
“Luis Díaz coming back from injury as well, along with Ibrahima Konaté who has been performing well next to Virgil Van Dijk has transformed a feeling of wanting this season to end to quite a buoyant mood that something could still be salvaged.
“Over the last month, we’ve had options across our front line instead of pushing players too much. Being able to freshen up the attack has been a positive for Klopp and it’ll be interesting who gets selected on Monday evening.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold came through the Academy system at Liverpool.
Being stretched in every competition this season has led to some players being pushed to the limit, but the journalist believes this new look attack for the Merseyside club is yet to display its full potential.
He added: “Last Sunday, Klopp shuffled his pack again, and went with a front four of Diogo Jota, Darwin Núñez, Gakpo and Mohammed Salah. It was a mix bag in terms of how it was clicking, and meant that Gakpo had to drop into a deeper role.
“Roberto Firmino is also on the comeback trail after suffering a hamstring injury but I’d expect Díaz to come back on the left wing against Liverpool, with Gakpo and Salah instead of Núñez who has had a very strange first season here - flashes of brilliance, but also quite erratic and quite raw in his playing style. Even Klopp has admitted that the Uruguayan is still a work in progress.”
With three games, and their finishing position still unknown, it could be a somewhat frantic game for both sides come Monday, in a fixture which has seen Liverpool leave Filbert Way with zero points in the last two meetings.
Leicester beat Liverpool 1-0 the last time they visited King Power Stadium.
But The Athletic writer explained how Klopp is aware of the Foxes’ threat, and keen on making the match unbearable for the hosts, not allowing any chances for City to cause an upset on home soil.
“I think Liverpool will be very wary of Leicester,” Pearce continued. “Klopp has been very clear in the past few weeks to basically forget the talk about top four and just focus on our games.
“Everton’s result against Brighton & Hove Albion was a warning to everyone that anything can happen in the Premier League and that is why it’s so popular. Liverpool have lost their last two visits to Leicester, so Klopp knows only too well it can be a tough place to play at if you give them something to fight for.
“We know we’re playing a team that are quite fragile at the moment, because of the position Leicester are in, and to not give them that hope. We need to knock the Foxes off their stride because both teams will need the points for very different reasons.”
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