Ian Wright has warned Liverpool that things could get “painful” against Leicester City when they meet in the Premier League this weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s injury-hit side will likely be particularly vulnerable at the back as they field almost a second string back four against the Foxes, whose attack contains the likes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.
Liverpool look set to be without star centre-back Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season, while Joe Gomez and Fabinho have also recently been injured, as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.
It remains to be seen what kind of defence Klopp will be able to put out against Leicester, but it’s far from ideal when facing quality attacking players like Vardy in particular.
Wright thinks there could be reason for Liverpool to fear the damage Leicester could do in this game, and it’s easy to see why when Brendan Rodgers’ side have already notably scored five goals in an away win over Manchester City this season, while Liverpool were stunned 7-2 by Aston Villa earlier in the campaign as well.
“This is a real test for Liverpool simply because of who is missing. They haven’t got any of their back-four playing,” Wright said on his podcast.
“But what I love about Liverpool is they’re not looking to buy anybody in January and the way they don’t panic.
“We know Mohamed Salah isn’t playing but they’ve got Diogo Jota there who can play in any of those three places up front.
“If they can beat this Leicester team – which I think is going to be very tough simply because of what Leicester do, who they have, Vardy scoring against the top teams, Maddison didn’t get picked for England, (Youri) Tielemans… – the Liverpool midfield are going to have to be right on it.
“If Liverpool don’t close down that midfield and Vardy’s able to penetrate a high line that doesn’t have the main guys in it, we’re talking about something that could be quite painful.
“If Liverpool can get through this test with that back-four, and then maybe Jota coming up with the goods, you have to say that they are elite, mentally and physically.”