Leicester City, reigning champions of the Premier League and relegation candidates. It’s almost an oxymoron but it’s the current state of play regardless. As things stand, Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester sit in 17th place in the Premier League, one point above Hull in the drop zone and two points above Crystal Palace and Sunderland at rock bottom. Liverpool, on the other hand, are one point off the much more coveted Champions League spots, three points off second and a significantly more daunting 11 points off the top spot. The upcoming match at the King Power is a must win for both teams for wildly different reasons, but how have the last five meetings between the Reds and the Foxes panned out…
Liverpool 4 – 1 Leicester City – 10th September 2016 at Anfield
The first game played under the new main stand was a marvellous spectacle to say the least, the atmosphere was electric, the excitement around the ground was palpable and that was reflected in the Reds performance that day. Roberto Firmino became the first player to score at the ‘new Anfield’ making the best of a James Milner through ball and finishing low past Kasper Schmeichel. Sadio Mane was next to strike, linking up with Daniel Sturridge to make it 2-0. The only blemish on the Reds’ performance came 5 minutes from halftime as a moment of lunacy saw Lucas gift a goal to an alert Jamie Vardy, giving the Premier League champions some hope of salvaging a result. Not long into the second half however, Adam Lallana restored the host’s two goal advantage in spectacular fashion, firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the box. To cap it all off, Bobby Firmino notched his second of the game after Mane rounded Schmeichel and squared it to the Brazilian, seeing Liverpool run out comfortable 4-1 winners against Ranieri’s reigning champions.
Leicester City 2 – 0 Liverpool – 2nd February 2016 at King Power Stadium
In a significantly less memorable matchup for Jürgen Klopp’s men, the visit to the King Power Stadium little over a year ago saw Leicester looking to continue their title winning form. Much to everyone’s surprise the Foxes, having narrowly avoided relegation in 2014/15, were contending with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs for the league title. A relatively dull match-up between the two sides was lit up by Leicester front man Jamie Vardy, striking a sensational half volley from an improbable angle to open the scoring. Vardy went on to double his tally for the night when a deflected shot fell to him one-on-one with Mignolet. The Englishman’s two goals that day were enough to give the hosts another three points towards their title challenge as they ran out 2-0 victors.
Liverpool 1 – 0 Leicester City – 26th December 2015 at Anfield
In what was an incredibly even contest between the two sides there was just the one goal that separated them on Boxing Day in 2015. Having only lost once up until this point in the league (not to mention being undefeated away from home) Leicester’s visit to Anfield that festive season was somewhat sobering as Christian Benteke struck just past the hour mark to see Liverpool win the game 1-0. That season Liverpool were one of just two sides that were able to defeat Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester, the other being Arsenal who beat them both home and away.
Liverpool 2 – 2 Leicester City- 1st January 2015 at Anfield
Little under a month after their previous meeting, Liverpool hosted Nigel Pearson’s side on New Years Day in 2015. That match was a tale of two halves for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool who completely outclassed the Foxes in the first half. Two penalties from skipper Steven Gerrard gave the Reds a comfortable 2-0 lead after the first half, one many fans expected them to build on in the second period. However, Leicester were resurgent following the intermission and showed enough fight and resilience to bring the scoring back to level terms once more. David Nugent was the first to pull one back for the relegation candidates, just before the hour mark, before Jeffrey Schlupp equalised through a sensational effort just two minutes after. At full time Liverpool brought in the new year in far from perfect fashion, failing to win after holding a 2-0 lead at half time for the first time since 5 May 1996 vs Manchester City.
Leicester City 1 – 3 Liverpool – 2nd December 2014 at King Power Stadium
In their first match up since March 2004, Liverpool’s reunion with Leicester went pretty well for the Reds. Despite getting off to a shaky start as a Leonardo Ulloa strike rebounded in after striking the post and the back of Simon Mignolet, Liverpool played some great football on the evening, playing Leicester off the park. Adam Lallana equalised for Liverpool minutes after, firing a half-volley low past Kasper Schmeichel. Gerrard gave Liverpool the lead in the second half, taking advantage of a poor Wes Morgan clearance to make it 2-1 to the visitors. Jordan Henderson rounded off the victory, a beautiful back-heeled pass from Raheem Sterling teed up the vice-captain who gratefully fired home into an open net, seeing Liverpool take all three points back to Merseyside following the 3-1 win.
Leicester City 1 – 4 Liverpool – 20th October 2001 at Filbert Street
Excluding the 4-1 win against Leicester in the 2016/17 campaign the standout match against Leicester City would have to be the last time Liverpool claimed a 4-1 victory over the Foxes. Back in 2001 Leicester were still playing their home matches at Filbert Street. As it happened this match would be Liverpool’s last at Leicester’s old home ground, and what a way to bid it farewell. Robbie Fowler opened the scoring inside five minutes and Sami Hyypia doubled the lead for Gerard Houllier’s men on the 10 minute mark. After a quick opening to the match it wasn’t until the stroke of half time that the Reds further increased their lead, Fowler doubling his tally for the day to make it 3-0. In the second half Dennis Wise managed to pull one back for the hosts but it was never going to be enough to stop treble winners, Liverpool. Fowler completed his hat-trick in the dying seconds of the match to cap off an excellent 4-1 win.
Since starting the writing of this piece, some interesting news has transpired, coming out the Leicester City end. The Foxes dismissed league winning manager Claudio Ranieri, only 9 months after leading them to one of the greatest underdog stories in Football history. The Italian still had Leicester City qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League but the owners deemed that not to be enough as the Foxes sit just outside the Relegation Zone. This seems to be an unneccessary decision from the perspective of most of the footballing world but a decision the owners deemed worthy enough to take. With the Reds taking on the reigning, and now, managerless Champions, one wonders if the mindset of the players will be fully on the match at home. There are reports that some of the players may have attended a meeting to have Ranieri sacked but this is just paper talk at the moment. We wish the Italian the best. YNWA