A memorable night under the Leicestershire lights ended with Liverpool the victors by 3 goals to two. Klopp may feel some pressure lifted after tonight’s result, and the Reds will feel revenge was given after their 2-0 exit at the hands of the Foxes in Tuesday nights’ Carabao Cup fixture.
A gripping first half began with Leicester having clear purpose and intent. They took the game to Liverpool and their defence, once again, looked nervy with Vardy and Okazaki not giving them a second. A captivating match should have had a goal in the 14th minute as Can picked up the ball and fizzed his low shot against the Leicester post, on the re-bound Salah side-footed his effort wide from about 8 yards out. Though, Salah made up for his miss as he caught the Leicester defence napping. Coutinho whizzed an inviting ball to the back post which beat Chilwell and landed right on the head of the Egyptian, who glanced his effort past Schmeichel, who will be frustrated being beaten at his near post. Nevertheless, a superb header from Salah at a tight angle, Liverpool 1-0 up.
They began to take control and it wasn’t long before it was 2. A quick break from the Reds saw Ndidi bring Moreno down around 25 yards out. ‘Coutinho range’ and the magician struck a wonderful free-kick over the wall and past the on looking Dane. 2-0 to Klopps men and again Leicester’s character was tested. As expected, they lived right up to expectation. On the 40th minute their character nearly paid off, a free kick was delivered by Albrighton which was flicked on by Maguire into the path of Okazaki who put the ball into the net. Originally, Okazaki was deemed offside due to his involvement in the first phase but after replays its clear Maguire was also in an offside position so correctly, the goal didn’t stand.
It looked to be 2-0 Liverpool heading into the break but Leicester persisted and after a fantastic save from Mignolet from Vardy, the resulting corner did see the ball in the net. A certain foul on Mignolet was ignored by Anthony Taylor and Okazaki tapped the ball into an empty net. Questions remain as to whether Mignolet should have actually come for the ball but Leicester’s determination paid off and it was 2-1 going into the break.
For me, the introduction of Demarai Gray on the 62 minute bought the game back to life. But, on the 67th minute, Maguire marched forward and committed himself to the Leicester attack; after a failed one-two Liverpool broke and Henderson calmly slotted the ball past Schmeichel. Totally undeserved from a Leicester point of view but Liverpool done what they couldn’t do on Tuesday night and took their chances.
The game at 1-3 could have easily fizzled out. However, if anyone has ever watched Leicester there’s one thing they should know about them – they don’t know when they’re beaten. Two minutes after the Henderson goal, the ball fell to Gray who’s technique was spot on and he forced a good save from Mignolet. From the resulting save, the ball fell to Vardy who nodded the ball into the net. A fantastic response from the Foxes, Liverpool were shaken, and this showed again two minutes later – Andy King played a delightful outside of the boot ball onto the pacey Vardy who was taken down by Mignolet and Anthony Taylor correctly pointed to the spot. Four minutes after the foxes going 3-1 down, they had a chance to make it 3-3.
Mignolet, arguably luckily to still be on the field, had clearly done his midweek homework and stood strong in the middle and that’s exactly where Vardy placed his penalty, as he does so continuously. 2-3 it remained. Seconds after the penalty miss, City should have had another as Can clearly handled the ball to block Gary’s cross into the box. Not given.
Shakespeare had no choice but to go all-out attack, Iheanacho came on for Okazaki and Albrighton exited for Slimani and the Foxes looked to undertake a 4-2-4 formation. Both teams continued to have chances as Liverpool looked to put the game to bed while Leicester looked to grab a point. Leicester continued to press but Liverpool stood strong and the final whistle was I’m sure a huge relief to the Liverpool following and Klopp himself.
MOTM – A difficult one but for me, Coutinho showed his brilliance and put his team into a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half with an assist and a pin-point free kick. Almost everything good that Liverpool mustard-up came through the magician himself and he has to get my MOTM.
A valiant effort from Leicester at the King Power, but the result means no points and Leicester remain 16th with only 4 points. Next up for the Foxes is a trip to the Vitality, a Bournemouth side who will be desperate for 3 points will be a difficult one for Shakespeare’s men. Liverpool face a trip to Moscow on Tuesday, a test of their fitness and character after a strenuous performance tonight.