LIVERPOOL 2-0 LEICESTER CITY : MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool beat Leicester City 2-0 at Anfield last night to cut the gap to Manchester City back down to 9 points (with a game in hand). A goal in each half from Diogo Jota separated the two sides in the end, with the Reds by far the dominant side in the game. We review the match.
You can find player ratings from the match here:
° The lineup. The manager made six changes to his side, bringing Alisson, Matip, Robertson and Fabinho back into the XI with Thiago also lining up in midfield for his first start in months. Jones retained his place in midfield with Luis Diaz handed his full debut on the left wing.
° Early Maddison chance. It was a quick start by Liverpool but the Foxes had the first big chance of the game. A brilliantly worked counter saw Lookman slip Maddison in behind Matip. The Englishman tried to beat Alisson at his near post with a left footed effort but the Brazilian stood tall to block.
° Sustained pressure. The Reds dominated the early exchanges, enjoying most of possession with Diaz and Trent in particular looking lively. The latter stung Schmeichel’s palms with a left footed shot before a succession of crosses into the box were repelled by Leicester’s backline.
° Deadlock broken. The home side broke the deadlock from a corner in the 34th minute with Jota tucking away the rebound after Schmeichel parried Van Dijk’s header. It was the third time in the last four games that the Reds had opened the scoring from a set piece.
° Set piece kings. Jürgen Klopp’s side are one of the best if not the very best in the league at attacking set pieces. Leicester on the other hand have a terrible record of conceding goals from set pieces so perhaps it was no surprise the opening goal came from a corner.
° Fast start to the second half. The boys came out for the second half intent on getting that second goal to make it comfortable. Jota (twice), Robertson and Diaz all went close to doing just that between 45-60. Leicester held firm however and rode the storm.
° Another double sub. Just like against Cardiff, Klopp made a strong double sub on the hour mark with Elliott and the returning Salah coming on for Jones and Firmino. It was another show of the strength in depth currently available to the manager.
° Jota seals it. The game was still in the balance in the closing stages with Schmeichel pulling off save after save. Jota made the points secure with his second goal in the 87th minute after neat play by Elliott, Diaz and Matip. It was another poacher’s finish, with Diogo swivelling and shooting home from inside the box.
Minutes per Premier League goal for Liverpool
157 – Robbie Fowler
147 – Luis Suárez
144 – Michael Owen
131 – DIOGO JOTA
125 – Mohamed Salah
121 – Fernando Torres
° Dangerous Diaz. The winger looked completely at home on his full debut. He attempted the joint most shots (4) in the match as well as completing the most dribbles (5). He was unlucky not to find the net with Schmeichel denying him with brilliant saves on two occasions. It was an exciting display and there’s more to come.
° Fab & Thiago combo. Liverpool are still unbeaten in games where the two have started together in midfield, winning 16 and drawing 1. They dovetailed perfectly last night, winning the midfield battle with relative ease.
Thiago & Fabinho vs Leicester:
• 70/76 passes (3rd)
• 2/4 dribbles
• 5/7 aerial duels (1st)
• 4/4 tackles (=1st)
• 3 clearances
• 3 interceptions
• 2/2 aerial duels
• 4/5 tackles (=1st)
• 7 interceptions (1st)
° Mo on a mission. Salah could have had a hat trick despite only playing half an hour! The Egyptian was at his dangerous best wriggling away from defenders and testing Schmeichel. He created the joint most big chances with only Diaz completing more take-ons for the home side.
Mohamed Salah attempted 4 shots against Leicester City, no player attempted more in the match. That’s despite the Egyptian only coming on in the second half. 3 of the 4 shots were on target, with the other one crashing off the crossbar.
° Maintaining momentum. There’s been optimism on the red half of Merseyside since the side got through January despite the AFCON departures. That optimism rose with the signing of Luis Diaz and the injury returns of Thiago and Harvey Elliott in particular.
Back to back wins after the winter break maintains the momentum in what is a huge month for Liverpool. The manager is up to his ears in attacking options at the minute and with Sadio Mané returning to the fold, things are certainly looking rosy.
° What next? A quick turnaround as the Reds travel to Burnley on Sunday. The Clarets held Manchester United to a draw last time out and will be no pushovers as they fight relegation. The Champions League clash against Inter Milan will soon follow with the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea coming at the end of the month.