LIVERPOOL 3-3 LEICESTER: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool fought back to draw 3-3 against Leicester City last night, before going on to win 5-4 on penalties. The victory sees them through to the semi finals of the League Cup for the first time since the 2016/17 season, with Arsenal lying in wait. We review the game.
You can find player ratings from the match here:
° The lineup. Safe to say there were a lot of disgruntled fans out there when the lineups were revealed. Three teenagers in the form of Bradley, Koumetio and Morton started, with Neco Williams starting on the right wing. With Leicester going strong, our lineup didn’t fill anyone with confidence.
° Nighmare start. Leicester raced into a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes as Jamie Vardy run riot. Anytime we lost the ball, the Leicester midfield played it quickly into space for the front two to chase. It’s a tactic that worked to perfection in the opening quarter.
° Quick response. To their credit, Liverpool didn’t capitulate after the poor start. They stuck to their plan and attacked the visitors. They pulled one back in the 19th minute after some brilliant work from Firmino who held off Ndidi before laying it off for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
° Ox off the mark. It was a brilliant finish, swept past Schmeichel from the edge of the box. That was a trademark Ox strike as he opened his account for the season. He’s enjoyed more minutes so far and looked back to his best in spells. He should take confidence from the goal and performance last night.
° First half problems. Liverpool’s struggles continued as Maddison also benefited from a turnover in possession, blasting home a screamer from the edge of the box. Leicester had other chances to kill the game off too, with Vardy going close to netting a hat trick when he hit the post.
° Youngsters struggle. The 3 teenagers all found it tough against the sheer quality and experience of the Leicester midfield and attack. Morton should have seen red for a nasty tackle on Pereira, Bradley couldn’t really get into the game, and Koumetio’s positioning sense, or lack thereof was exposed against the wily Vardy.
° Halftime changes. It was no surprise to see the manager take all three youngsters off, with Konaté, Milner and Jota coming on in their place. It makes you wonder why the latter trio didn’t start in the first place. It all worked out in the end though, just.
° Second half improvement. There was already a noticeable step up in levels with those three changes. The intensity was ramped up and Leicester couldn’t get out as they were penned in by the Liverpool press. On the hour mark, Naby Keita came on for skipper Jordan Henderson and things ratcheted up even further.
° Jota slots. Halfway through the second half, Liverpool finally made their pressure pay when Minamino played Jota in with a deft first time pass. Diogo took one touch, settled himself and rifled it into the bottom corner. He carried the fight for his side, with his physicality and directness proving too much for the Leicester backline.
° Fighting spirit. These Reds never give up, certainly not when the Anfield crowd is as vociferous as this. That second half is one they’ve come to trademark under this manager. The mentality monsters shone again with Minamino putting the finishing touches on the comeback with a sensational finish in injury time.
° Kelleher MOTM. The 23 year old enjoyed a solid outing even before saving two penalties in the shootout. Saves from Daka, Vardy and Dewsbury-Hall were all impressive, not to mention how front footed he was in coming off his line to sweep up. He’s quality.
° Minamino Moment. Taki has struggled to make his mark since joining the club but last night he got his moment. That one moment that can turbo boost a Liverpool career. His equaliser was excellently taken and it sent the home crowd wild. It would have been perfect if he had converted the winning penalty but it wasn’t to be.
° Gomez worry. Joe was all over the place at times last night. Understandably rusty as it was his first start in two months, but he made some terrible errors. Daka and Vardy both almost scored from his unforced errors. Matip and Virgil coming back strong from their injuries doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be same for Joe.
He’s endured a stop start season so far, and patience will be required. Should he stay fit, he will get more games to blow away the rust and get back to his best. The two legged semi final is perfect for him in that regard.
° Arsenal in the semis. The Reds were drawn against Mikel Arteta’s young side for the semi finals. It should be a fascinating tie, as both sides set out to battle for the ticket to Wembley. If only Jürgen will field a team similar to the one that played in the second half last night!
° What’s next? With the Boxing Day Premier League clash against Leeds United postponed due to a Covid outbreak in Bielsa’s squad, Liverpool have some extra days off till their next fixture. They’ll line up against Leicester City again, this time at the King Power stadium on the 28th.