The Rodgers Revolution: Can the Leicester City manager halt Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool Juggernaut?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 03 October 2019, 14:16

Since January 2017 only one visiting Premier League manager has beaten Liverpool at Anfield.

Pep Guardiola? Jose Mourinho? Mauricio Pochettino?

All good guesses, but nope.

The likes of Unai Emery, Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri have all also tried and failed to taste success on the red-half of Merseyside.

The correct answer may surprise a few of you: Sam Allardyce.

The former Crystal Palace manager is the only visiting boss to scoop all three points at Anfield within the last 50 matches.

On that particular occasion Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former club - he bagged a brace in a 2-1 win - and now on Saturday afternoon it’s a former Liverpool manager who returns to his old stomping ground looking to upset the odds on Merseyside: Brendan Rodgers.

Below we look at the workings of Rodgers’ revolution at Leicester, and whether he can become the first Premier League manager in 44 attempts to stun Klopp on his own patch...

Leicester’s Lively Start

Leicester’s transformation under Rodgers is clear for all to see. Under Claude Puel they lacked an identity, but his replacement has tightened up the cracks in defence, implemented an effective press, and made them more assured and structured in possession.

The squad, which is brimming with both talent and experience, looks hungry to constantly improve and evolve under Rodgers’ tutorship.

In turn, Leicester have amassed 31 Premier League points from 17 matches since Rodgers made his bow back in March - only Klopp (49) and Pep Guardiola (43) have registered more points in that time frame.

So far this term, Leicester have accumulated 14 points from their opening seven games, during which they have suffered only the one defeat.

They’ve conceded a joint-low five goals, and down the other end they’ve scored more goals (13) than the likes of Arsenal (12) and Man Utd (9).

It’s early days of course but it’s worth noting that their current points tally exceeds that of Claudio Ranieri’s title winners, who at this stage of the 2015/16 season had two points fewer, and conceded nine more goals.

Rodgers’ 14-point haul is only one point off the club’s best ever Premier League start back in 2000/01 when they hoarded 15 points under Peter Taylor.

“They’ve got some cracking young lads and he’s gone in there and got them playing superbly,” Ian Holloway told The Sack Race last week.

“If anyone can break into the top-6 or even the top-4 it’s Rodgers’ Leicester - I haven’t seen anything to dissuade me from that fact that Leicester could upset the traditional monopoly.”

Fortress Anfield Awaits

Klopp may still be residing in Rodgers’ pad, but on Saturday Rodgers will step into his old football crib - Anfield - with ambitions of conjuring up the seemingly impossible.

We say seemingly impossible because, as stated, Liverpool are unbeaten in a whopping 43 league home games during which they’ve garnered 109 points.

Klopp’s men now have history in their sights as they are three wins away from breaking Man City’s record tally of 18th successive league wins, and if they achieve this accolade they will become the first Premier League club to have won their opening 10 league fixtures.

So can Rodgers stun Klopp?

A win is easier said than done but in his first game back at Anfield Rodgers has an excellent opportunity to prove that top-6 chasing Leicester are the real deal this season.

The managerial duo have yet to lock horns in a competitive fixture but Rodgers’ Liverpool did record an emphatic 4-0 friendly win over Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in August 2014. The odds on a repeat scoreline? 350/1.

Rodgers and Klopp were also in opposing dugouts back in 2018 when the Petrov XI played out a 3-3 draw with the Milner XI in A Match For Cancer.

Liverpool’s surprising lapse in concentration in the week against RB Salzburg will give Leicester a small dose of confidence, although the Midlands club will likely adopt a more conservative approach than the wildly adventurous Austrian champions. However, Leicester do possess the potency and creativity to punish Liverpool, as was evident in their come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Spurs two weeks ago.

Anfield has been a fortress for the hosts but if Leicester can frustrate Liverpool in a similar fashion to Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United last week, then the longer the game is level and Klopp’s men press for that winner, Leicester will feel that they have the artillery at their disposal to snatch a victory.

“I’m sure Brendan Rodgers will think if we defend like that [Salzburg] against Leicester on Saturday, Jamie Vardy will run around our goalkeeper and score five times!” Klopp has suggested.

It’s worth noting that Vardy has notched seven league goals against Liverpool - only Thierry Henry (8) and Andy Cole (11) have been more profitable against the Reds in front of goal - and with four in four games he’s in fine form.

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