LEICESTER 3-1 LIVERPOOL
- Goals: James Maddison (£7.4m), Jamie Vardy (£10.0m), Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) | Mohamed Salah (£12.6m)
- Assists: Barnes, Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m)| Roberto Firmino (£9.3m)
- Bonus: Ndidi x3, Barnes x2, Maddison x1
James Maddison’s free-kick finds the side of Liverpool’s net
Seven minutes of madness late in the second half at the King Power Stadium saw Liverpool concede three Leicester goals, having previously led the game.
As a result, questions remain firmly hanging over the Reds’ defence even after reinforcements in the centre-back area.
The first goal came after substitute Thiago Alcantara (£5.6m) fouled Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) on the edge of the box, with the VAR ruling out a spot-kick.
But the Reds paid the penalty as James Maddison (£7.4m) fired into the corner of the net from a tight angle after 78 minutes.
Onrushing Leicester players seemed to have been offside for the set-piece but another VAR check spotted an errant Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) foot and the goal was given.
Three minutes later, a defensive mix-up between Alisson (£5.9m) and debutant centre-back Ozan Kabak (£5.0m) allowed Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) to convert into an open goal.
The Liverpool goalkeeper, who was twice at fault for goals in the club’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, collided with Kabak in attempting to clear a long Leicester ball. On the concession, Jurgen Klopp said:
“The second goal is a misunderstanding. We spoke about before, we need to get used to each other. We were used to each other, I would have hoped. We were confident again. Ali was confident, he played a super game, [made] super saves. So that’s all fine. But in that moment – maybe because of last week, who knows – he comes out…I didn’t hear him shouting, to be honest. I’m not sure if he said something or not. Ozan doesn’t know in that moment, doesn’t know him long enough – ‘is he coming out, is he not coming out’. And that’s how it leads to the second goal.” – Jurgen Klopp
It was the Foxes’ third strike, however, that really irked the German gaffer. A poor Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) pass in midfield allowed Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) to pop a first-time pass to Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m).
With acres of room, Ndidi slid a ball through to pick out Barnes’ barnstorming run, with the winger converting from the left-hand side of the box on 85 minutes.
RED SEA PARTS
Barnes makes it three for Leicester
Liverpool have conceded seven goals in their last two Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 10. Indeed, the Reds have conceded 32 goals in 24 league games this season, just one fewer than they did in the whole of 2019-20.
On that Barnes strike, an irritated Klopp stated:
“We lose the ball too easy, one pass and they are done. That’s something I don’t like because we were obviously much too open in that moment. I told the boys already, ‘that’s not OK’.” – Jurgen Klopp
However, the Liverpool boss was satisfied with his team’s performance in the first three-quarters of the tie.
“Until the first goal happened, really really good football game. We were the clear dominant side. We played the football we wanted to play, we avoided the couner-attacks; we did pretty much everything you have to do. We scored a really nice goal and had more chances. It was a clear game that we should win.” – Jurgen Klopp
Brendan Rodgers, on the other hand, felt his team were good value for three points while explaining an interesting shape shift. Vardy did smack the crossbar in the first half, though a VAR check would have ensued should the striker have found the net.
“I thought in the first half we had the best chances in the game. We had to withstand pressure and they have good quality. But once we got through the pressure, we had some really good chances. I said to the players at half time that we needed to be more aggressive in the game. I felt that it was too passive at times when we were defending. Second half, we were much better in our defensive aggression. That then allows you to attack the game with more aggression as well. The players adapted really well, we had a plan in terms of if we were behind in the game – the shape that we would go to. The players worked it brilliantly and got the goals. We went to two up front, with a diamond structure. So when the game broke down for them, we had the space to go and exploit. I thought the players managed it really well. Harvey [Barnes] was incredible in his composure and his finish.” – Brendan Rodgers
Vardy has the easy task of converting a second for the Foxes
Goal-scorer Maddison summed up Leicester’s performance by saying:
“It’s a case of just staying in the game. We’re a top team now, we have good quality. We know if we get chances, we can put them away. And it showed, because in seven minutes we turned the game on its head. We’ll keep working and grinding out results against teams like Liverpool. We had to today, they had a lot of the ball.” – James Maddison
Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson (£7.3m), on the other hand, was slightly at a loss to explain the team’s defensive failings.
“A huge blow, you can say that. For large parts of the game we were dominant and then that’s not us out there. One setback – we’ve been so good at bouncing back and staying in the game but we were opened up and we played into their hands. We were 2-1 down with 15 minutes to go but we opened completely up. When that happens against a really good Leicester team you will get punished. We played with a lot of confidence for large parts of the game – played the ball really well. Then I don’t know what happened in the last 10 to 15 minutes. It can’t happen in a game like this. We really need to look at that. Every game is massive for us now. We need to put an end to it.” – Andrew Robertson
Salah had opened the scoring in the 68th minute, in what turned out to be just a consolation for Liverpool.
The Egyptian was the beneficiary of a delicious Firmino assist, with the striker’s sublime skill flicking the ball into Salah’s path.
The Premier League’s leading scorer (17) produced an excellent first-time finish to find the side of Kasper Schmeichel‘s (£5.5m) net.
While Salah owners will be relieved to get a return, investing in Liverpool – particularly in defence – looks unwise at present.
The Reds have a Merseyside derby clash in Gameweek 25 at home to Everton, while Leicester travel to Aston Villa.
Both sides are expected to have two fixtures within Gameweek 26. However, their games that have been moved from Blank Gameweek 29 have not been rescheduled at the time of writing.
Klopp lost Ben Davies (£5.0m) – no, not that one – to a knock ahead of the game and James Milner (£5.3m) was forced off early in the first half as the injury room at Anfield continues to fill.
“Hamstring. Hopefully it is only a little bit but we did not want to take the risk.” – Klopp on Milner
Leicester (4-3-3): Schmeichel; R Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Amartey; Tielemans (Choudhury 86′), Ndidi, Albrighton (Perez 73′, Mendy 89′); Barnes, Vardy, Maddison.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Henderson, Kabak, Alexander-Arnold; Jones (Oxlade-Chamberlain 74′), Wijnaldum (Shaqiri 86′), Milner (Thiago Alcantara 16′); Mane, Firmino, Salah.
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