Leicester frustrate Liverpool; Schmidt to return to trusted All Blacks winning line-up

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Anfield on Wednesday night. Photograph: Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Anfield on Wednesday night. Photograph: Reuters

Premier League leaders Liverpool failed to take full advantage of Manchester City’s defeat on Tuesday night, however last night's 1-1 draw with Leicester still moves them five points clear of last season’s champions. Jurgen Klopp’s team were unable to build on Sadio Mané’s early goal, and after Harry Maguire equalised for the visitors, it proved a frustrating night for them at Anfield. Chelsea were humiliated by an excellent Bournemouth team, losing 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium, meaning Arsenal remain in fourth place. While Tottenham edged Watford 2-1 thanks to a Fernando Llorente goal with 87 minutes on the clock.

Joe Schmidt will reveal his Ireland selection for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener against England at the Aviva Stadium at lunchtime today, and as usual Gerry Thornley has this morning predicted the Irish XV. He expects the Irish head coach to go with the team who beat the All Blacks in Dublin, with a few noticeable exceptions - “Conor Murray, ruled out back then with a neck issue, was always going to return in place of the injured Kieran Marmion, and the only other anticipated alteration from the starting XV against New Zealand could see Robbie Henshaw come in at fullback in place of Rob Kearney.” In his column this morning, John O’Sullivan asks - boring, boring Ireland? The figures, he explains, just don’t add up: “Ireland boast a better dispersion rate in scoring terms throughout the team and that alone suggests that they are more effective as an attacking entity. Even if Alias Mitchell and Jones don’t agree.”

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