Premier League preview: Leicester City vs. Liverpool

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  • Leicester top of the PL on Feb. 2
  • Liverpool (7th) 8 points off 4th
  • On Boxing Day: LFC 1-0 LCFC
  • LCFC last beat LFC in 2001

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Leicester City lead the Premier League with 15 games to go in the 2015-16 season, a run-in which is set to begin with Liverpool’s annual visit to the King Power Stadium on Tuesday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Even in a recent run of subpar results (just two wins in five), Leicester have managed to avoid defeat in five straight in the PL (their last league defeat came at the hands of Liverpool on Boxing Day). Six full months into the season, and Leicester have lost just two league games on the season; only Tottenham Hotspur’s three league defeats comes close to matching the Foxes’ astonishing record.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have won just four points from their last four league games (one win, one draw), and have fallen even further off the pace of a red-hot Tottenham side which is currently the PL’s in-form side. If not for the Reds’ wild and wacky 5-4 victory over Norwich City a week and a half ago, the gap from 10th (where they would now reside) to fourth would be a full 10 points.

[ MORE: Transfer grades — How did each PL club fare in January? ]

Jamie Vardy has scored just one goal since Dec. 14 (eight appearances in all competitions), but remains the PL’s top scorer this season with 16 goals. It’s been a similar cooling-off period for Riyad Mahrez, who has failed to find the back of the net in his last six PL appearances after scoring six times in three games in early December. With a glut of injuries decimating Liverpool’s frontline, it’s Roberto Firmino who’s picked up the slack, banging in four goals in his last three PL appearances to give an otherwise floundering attack any sense of potency.

On the injury front, it’s all good news for Claudio Ranieri‘s, who looks to be choosing Tuesday’s team from a full-strength squad. It’s far less rosy for the Reds, however, as Philippe Coutinho (hamstring), Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), Divock Origi (knee) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) litter the latest injury report and figure to miss Tuesday’s clash at the King Power.

What they’re saying

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: “It’s a different kind of team [to the side we faced on Boxing Day] and we play at home. Our fans will push us very strongly. I’m confident but we are ready to fight. Revenge in football and sport is not important. It’s important to understand how we lost there. We remember the match we played there. We tried to do our best. It wasn’t possible because they defended very, very well.”

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen: “It’s been a tough season with the competition as fierce as ever so any opportunity that comes along, I’ve got to show what I can do. I hope the last few weeks can be a springboard to force my way into the reckoning for more games. My focus has been on making sure I am ready. Sometimes if you are not playing you can take your foot off the pedal a bit and I’ve wanted to make sure that has not happened.”

Prediction

Liverpool have conceded eight goals in their last three league games, so we can probably count on a handful of goals to entertain the masses. Leicester have lost just once at home all season, while Liverpool are a top-six team away from Anfield (they’re a bottom-half side on home results), so it really is a matchup of strength versus strength. Leicester 2-2 Liverpool.