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Foxes can find holes in the Anfield coop

Reds' injury-hit defence will fear being exposed by pacy attack from Ranieri's side

It is arguably the most inconsistent team in the Premier League against definitely the most unexpectedly consistent.

Liverpool may have produced perhaps the best performance of the season, with their 4-1 rout of Manchester City, and possibly the worst, in last week's 3-0 shellacking at Watford.

Leicester, meanwhile, have an extraordinary dominance.

The Foxes are the top scorers, the team with fewest defeats and the form side in the division.

They are four games into a six-game spell that was supposed to be a reality check.

Klopp has concerns at both ends of the pitch. Whereas Leicester have the division's two top scorers, no Liverpool striker has more than four league goals. That is a poor return for Christian Benteke, who is yet to score as a starter for the German and who, his manager says, has to do more. The Belgian is too static for his style of play.

They have taken 10 points.

Liverpool entered the top six three games ago. It seemed a sign that their progress under Juergen Klopp was gathering pace.

Some suggested they were title challengers. Three subsequent ties have produced a solitary point and an unwanted reality check.

If the common factor in the Reds' wins against Chelsea and City was their success as underdogs, the recurring theme in losses to Newcastle and Watford and a draw with West Brom has been their problems with physical opponents.

They have struck at the soft underbelly in Klopp's team, exposing defensive and set-piece flaws.

So, with injuries at the back, it is a bad time to face Leicester who have raw pace in attack, brute power at the back and, in Riyad Mahrez, a high-class dead-ball specialist.

Claudio Ranieri's league leaders used their speed to secure a victory on Merseyside last weekend.

His decision to bring in the indefatigable Japanese Shinji Okazaki alongside Jamie Vardy in attack reaped dividends.

Klopp's "gegenpressing" brand of football means his team can be counter-attacked.

His defenders may fear being isolated against Vardy.

Leicester, meanwhile, play to his strengths. They break quickly.

Neither team are particularly concerned about possession for possession's sake.

This could be fast and frantic, a football game that feels like basketball as it goes from end to end.

Klopp has concerns at both ends of the pitch. Whereas Leicester have the division's two top scorers, no Liverpool striker has more than four league goals. That is a poor return is Christian Benteke, who is yet to score as a starter for the German and who, his manager says, has to do more. The Belgian is too static for his style of play.

Roberto Firmino flourished as a false nine at Chelsea and City but failed as one at Watford.

The smart money may be on Divock Origi starting tomorrow.

He spared Liverpool defeat on their last Anfield outing, with a deflected 95th-minute equaliser against West Brom.

It sparked memorable celebrations, not least from Klopp. But while it was a great moment, Anfield is yet to see a particularly good performance since his hiring.

It will require one if Leicester's astonishing run is to end.

LIVERPOOL V LEICESTER

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Foxes can find holes in the Anfield coop'. Print Edition | Subscribe