Guess at a line-up: Mignolet Clyne Lovren Sakho Moreno Henderson Lucas Can Milner Firmino Lallana
On Boxing Day, Liverpool almost wholly negated Leicester, and eventually eked out a 1-0 victory, mainly by matching Leicester's formation 4-4-1-1 v 4-4-1-1 and matching Leicester's notorious work-rate.
It wasn't a perfect performance, by any means, but you can't even hope for perfection after Liverpool's last month. It was a return to what had worked for Liverpool under Klopp: a team rather than a collection of individuals, a vicious work-rate, actual movement both with and without the ball in the opposition half, a surprisingly smothering defense, a confident performance, and just barely enough firepower up front to eke out a victory.
A draw where you come back to get a point, especially when it happens deep into injury time, always feels better than a draw where you've lost the lead. But it's still a draw. At home, against West Brom.
Liverpool certainly made hard work of it. Liverpool needed a penalty that's given maybe 50% of the time. Liverpool again struggled at home, Liverpool again struggled against a packed-like-sardines defense. Liverpool took just 10 shots, Liverpool put just one non-penalty shot on-target (and I'm not convinced it was on-target, even though Fabianski "saved" it).
It's the first time in a long time we were able to remember 2013-14 without wanting to jump off of the tallest building in town, the first time Liverpool looked like that side since the loss-that-shall-not-be-named at Anfield.
The television mics picked up England goalkeeper Joe Hart allegedly swearing during Man City's 1-4 loss to Liverpool. The words "Fu** sake" were picked up by the mics when the replay of Skrtel's goal was aired. The on air commentators apologised for the gaffe. Warning- Viewer discretion advised if you don't want to listen to [.
Leicester City are clear at the top of the Premiership and beginning to dream of an improbable title. The favorites remain Manchester City in second place who The Foxes face at the Etihad in the big game this weekend with Spurs and Arsenal also still in the race.
In the chasing pack, Manchester United, who are now fifth, take on Guus Hiddink's Chelsea in a Sunday game at Stamford Bridge, in a match they must win to have any chance of reigniting any fading hopes of challenging for the title themselves for which they are now placed at 33/1 with the bookies.
In what is turning out to be the most unpredictable season in ages, Arsenal lead Leicester City only on goal difference ahead of Manchester City and Spurs.
In the chasing pack, Manchester United, who are sixth, will be hoping to repeat their win at Anfield last season, in a match that saw Steven Gerrard sent off, just seasons after coming on as a substitute.
Focus this Boxing Day is on Manchester United's game at Stoke City. The Red Devils have lost their last three games and desperately need a win to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Louis van Gaal, who walked out of a press conference at Old Trafford earlier in the week when questioned about his future.
Chelsea's 2-1 loss to league leaders Leicester in the Monday night game meant the end for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, as Chelsea's season went from bad to worse with last season's champions now only one point above the drop zone. Guus Hiddink looks set for his second term in charge as caretaker until the end of the season.
The Premier League will soon enter the busy Christmas period with Leicester City on top followed by Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
Leaders Leicester face Chelsea in the Monday night game, Arsenal take on bottom club Villa, Manchester City are at home to managerless Swansea while Manchester United travel to the south coast to play Bournemouth.
Hoddle-esque. Gazza-esque. A goal so good you would let it marry your daughter. Words cannot really do justice to the strike and technique itself, so instead I'll waft over a couple of associated thoughts. The move in its entirety for example, had the jolly pleasing aesthetic quality lent to it by the fact that the ball did not touch the ground from the moment Kane swirled in his cross, to Eriksen's cushioned header, to Alli's one-two-three touch, swivel and shot.
Coincidence? Around these parts we certainly think not. For the last couple of weeks young Master Carroll has been hopscotching around the place, with pretty passes a-plenty and a very serious expression, which does not make him look any less like a 10 year-old but is noble enough.
Naturally enough much is made of young Master Kane, but on this particular corner of the interweb we tend not to focus so much on the chap's bread-and-butter of thrashing the little thing into the net and jogging off to general acclaim. His link-up play, his strength, his work-rate – all pored over at various times within the dank four walls of AANP Towers, but his goalscoring I tend to take for granted.
Carroll flitted around the periphery of things looking like a schoolboy, or a ballerina, or a schoolboy ballerina – and with about as much impact as any of the above. Where Dembele (the new improved version) would stick out his chest, grab the game by the scruff of the neck and power from deep straight through the centre of the thing, bludgeoning past all in his way be they friend or foe, Carroll, bless him, hopped and skipped and poked in an occasional dainty foot.
As is the vogue these days, all manner of stats have been trotted out to do homage to the performance of Dembele. Tackles, touches, passes, interceptions – the man apparently won the numbers game hands down, which is excellent news for those who like their pivot tables on a Monday morning.
Carroll does have a dreamy touch, and if Premiership football were all about popping four-yard passes sideways, and backwards, and actually dispensing with boots and ball and just drawing pretty pictures of trees, then one suspects he would be revered far and wide as some sort of deity.
Once upon a time, in the big, cuddly teddy bear days of Martin Jol (blessed be his name), there ran a theory in AANP Towers that between them, Paul Robinson and Ledley King (even blesseder be his good name) were worth a goal to us every game, by virtue of their last-ditch heroics.
Puma have unveiled a new set of Evospeed SL cleats that made their debut in the recent round of football fixtures on Boxing Day. It was worn by many Puma clients like Sergio Aguero, and was also worn by Marko Arnautovic when Stoke beat Everton 4-3 in that thrilling game at Goodison Park
French teenage striker Anthony Martial has won the 2015 Golden Boy Award, given to the best young footballer plying his trade in a top flight European league. Martial becomes the third Manchester United player to win the Golden Boy award after Wayne Rooney and Anderson. It is also the second straight year that a Premiership [.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to invest a little over $40 million (USD) into a partnership with the Pestana Hotel Group that will see four "CR7" branded hotels come up in different parts of the world. The total investment into the hotels is $81 million, with both parties splitting investments on a 50-50 [.
Christmas dinner at the Keanes is sure to be awkward after Preston North End's Will Keane beat his twin brother Michael en route to scoring PNE's first goal in their game against Lancashire rivals Burnley FC! Will Keane slides the ball through Michael Keane's legs
This Jamie Vardy goal vs Newcastle (GIF VIDEO BELOW) was the striker continue his amazing run of form as he equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in ten consecutive league games. Vardy could break RVN's record in Leicester's next game, which coincidentally enough, is against Man Utd English commentary, Vardy equals RVN record in [.