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Sunday 8 December 2019

Mane worried about threat of Vardy

Foxes striker has good record against Pool and Sadio knows leaders must be 100pc

Jamie Vardy has been picked out as the main threat to Liverpool by Sadio Mane
Jamie Vardy has been picked out as the main threat to Liverpool by Sadio Mane

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane admits his side cannot afford to be less than 100 per cent against Leicester otherwise an in-form Jamie Vardy will take full advantage.

The Reds were uncharacteristically lax in allowing a three-goal lead slip against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League before eventually prevailing 4-3 on Wednesday.

It was only the second time since losing to Real Madrid in the 2018 final that Liverpool had conceded more than two goals and Mane said they have to be tighter at Anfield today.

"I think if we want to win we have to play better because we know Leicester, especially this season they are very strong and a very good team," he said.

"For sure we are going to learn from it (the Salzburg game) and be ready for Saturday, which will be a massive game for us. It is a lesson for us to be on our toes in the next game.

"I think they started the season very well and are a very good team and if we want to beat them we have to be 100 per cent ready."

Current

Vardy has returned to form this season and already has five Premier League goals, one more than Mane and three behind current leader Sergio Aguero of Manchester City.

The Leicester striker has a particular liking for Liverpool, having scored seven times in his last seven appearances against them, although he has drawn a blank in the last two.

"Vardy always scores so we have to make sure this game he will not score and we try to take all our chances - that will be the key," added Mane.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has to deliberate considerably more on whether to bring goalkeeper Alisson Becker back into the starting line-up for the visit of Leicester.

A calf injury in the opening match of the season has sidelined the Brazil international ever since but he was back in full training on Thursday, leaving Klopp with a conundrum as he is keen to preserve the goalkeeper's long-term fitness.

"With Alisson it is still, 'maybe, maybe not'. Yesterday he trained with the team for the first time. He looked really good, but we will see," said the Reds boss, who confirmed he will be without central defender Joel Matip for the second successive match. "We have to talk to different people before I make a decision about that."

Third-placed Leicester pose a considerable threat to the Premier League leaders, even if much of the pre-match conversation has been about Brendan Rodgers' return.

Klopp hopes the Northern Irishman gets a suitable welcome after almost winning the league with them in 2014.

"I hope from the fans the reception will be OK. From my side it's fine. All the issues from a couple of years ago, when we started living in his house, are sorted," said the manager, who currently rents Rodgers' house in Formby,

"We love living there. We pay our rent for him, so I'm not sure he has to work but he still does. You're welcome!

"He's doing really well. I'm not surprised to be honest. I knew when I came (to Liverpool) that he was not the reason that things didn't work out.

"And since then he did an incredible job at Celtic and then Leicester, rebuilding a lot of the players who were there before him. Good signings as well, and a brilliant team.

"The reception I think will be good, from my side and from the supporters as well, but it's still not a friendly game and we want to make sure we are there to perform as well."

Like Mane, Klopp also knows that a decisive factor in the outcome will be how his side handles a resurgent Vardy, who has scored seven of Leicester's last 11 goals against them in just nine appearances.

"It feels like if someone put a ball behind me now, Vardy would be there. He is always on the shoulder," said Klopp.

"It's not his only skill but he's looking for these situations. We have to make sure these situations don't happen that often.

"But in general he is incredible, for years already and if he gets the service he will be a proper threat."

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