Leicester 2-3 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have gone back to winning ways with a victory over Leicester City in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s squad was rotated yet again and the side that had featured in the League Cup was enormously different to the one we’d see for this Premier League fixture.
Joe Gomez, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum all returned to key positions in that starting 11 since the draw with Burnley and Liverpool’s goalkeeper would change out once more as Liverpool’s competition changed. Simon Mignolet was thrown back into the number 1 spot while Karius sat on the substitute bench and Danny Ward will likely now become a sad memory until a FA Cup game perhaps.
Liverpool started strong. After being knocked out of the League Cup by Leicester in our very last game, there was enough motivation to get a little payback in this fixture. Our players looked ready to fight and determined to make sure that happened, right from the first whistle.
Early attacks involved Emre Can and Coutinho, who was like his old self, if you know what I mean
After a summer of controversy over if he would or would not move to Barcelona (and despite major bids being made by the Spanish giants, he would NOT get to leave Liverpool before the transfer window ended), then getting injured and having to recover he finally got back into the squad again and is back to actually deserving to be a part of the starting 11 again now. The Magician was working his magic again.
Not only that, but another key player seemed to be on best form, too. Simon Mignolet hadn’t gotten to play in the 2-0 defeat (Danny Ward had been picked) but, boy he was playing great from real early on in this game. In just the 6th minute, Okazaki released Vardy down the left, who beat a Liverpool offside trap that really didn’t work so well (it’s all about that LAST defender and they determine where the opposition strikers will be able to make their chance at scoring from), but Mignolet was on point to stop the renowned Leicester goalscorer from taking a lead. Vardy was denied.
I hope you realise now why I said it was such an important decision made by Klopp to suddenly pick Ward over Mignolet (or Karius). The difference is huge. From losing to winning. There’s a very large possibility that we’d still be in the League Cup now if we’d chosen the right goalkeeper for the job.
In the 13th minute, Can was still part of the action. Heading up into a dangerous position within the penalty area, Can strikes a powerful low effort towards the bottom corner but instead of finding it’s way into the net, the shot cannons back off the foot of the goalpost. It drops eights yards out to Salah, who has a great opportunity to tap this one home but NO! He somehow side-foot’s it about four yards wide of the target from close range. Klopp’s men should be ahead but the score remains Leicester 0-0 Liverpool.
A couple of minutes later, Salah seemed to want to make up for his missed opportunity. Coutinho on the left wing fires a deep ball towards the right post, which looks like it might be going out of play for a goal kick. Speeding in from a dangerous position, Salah meets the ball with his head and smashes the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net with pinpoint accuracy.
That wasn’t easy! Salah had to rush in so fast to connect with Coutinho’s powerful cross but was so determined to make the chance that was given to him count, though and Coutinho gets an officially credited assist for Salah to make it Leicester 0-1 Liverpool.
Liverpool continued to press their attacks from taking their lead within the first quarter of an hour.
In the 22nd minute, Henderson is really bossing the midfield. Like a captain! Leicester had pushed up the field, but Henderson starts a counter attack. He’s pushed the ball around to Albert Moreno, who’s taken down to the ground by Ndidi. FOUL! The referee blows his whistle, shows Ndidi a yellow card and awards Liverpool a free kick at about 25 yards away from goal.
Coutinho steps up to take the free kick and boy, it is a beauty. The Brazilian curls a perfectly placed shot right over the Leicester defence, past Kasper Schmeichel, into the top left corner of the net and BOOM! Liverpool have a second goal. Leicester 0-2 Liverpool.
The Leicester fans are stunned into silence by this beautiful goal and Liverpool’s fans are wondering whether the perfect free kicks Coutinho takes are practiced until perfected at the training ground or if it just comes naturally to him. This is partly why we didn’t want to get rid of Coutinho, no matter how much Barcelona had to offer us for him. Liverpool were leading by two goals in under half an hour and Coutinho had played a major part in both goals.
Another goal would be seen in the first half. Leicester would score too. Mignolet comes out to meet the ball but unfortunately could not hold onto it. Okazaki would be the one who in the 48th minute, would give Leicester some hope for what was to come in the 2nd half.
The next goal in the game would be seen at the 67th minute. Liverpool had been playing some very strong counter-attacking football involving Jordan Henderson who ran the strategies from the heart of midfield.
Vardy went on an attack to almost score, but is pushed back enough and the ball taken by Matip, who starts the attacking to the other end of the pitch. Sturridge would end up with the ball and unselfishly provided a fine assist to Henderson who struck a fine shot to keep Liverpool’s lead at two goals once more. Leicester 1-3 Liverpool
The response to this was almost instant. Leicester hit back in the 68th minute. Jamie Vardy had been threatening to do what he does best (score) for a lot of the game, but finally one of his attempts squeezed in from a tight angle. Mignolet clawed the ball out to Vardy, who headed home from close range. Seemed like a defensive error more than clinical finishing but either way, the score was now Leicester 2-3 Liverpool.
What would happen shortly after is quite unbelievable from our goalkeeper though. Yet another chance to expand the scoreline was seen as Vardy ran into the penalty area and was met by Mignolet. Both players come together in an attempt to gather the ball and they clutter into each other. Not really a direct attempt for either player to foul each other but the referee decides Mignolet has done wrong, gives him a yellow card and awards Leicester a penalty.
Vardy would step up to take it, hoping to become a hero who scores and equalises. It would not be so and the real hero was Simon Mignolet who bravely does his best to deny Vardy. The Leicester striker struck the ball down the middle of the goal and Mignolet may have known that Vardy likes to choose this spot from 12 yards as he positions his body appropriately and makes the save to keep Liverpool in the lead.
The game would continue with more pressure from either side for a final 20 minutes and injury time but the final result would be the one that Mignolet had ensured to keep as it was. Leicester 2-3 Liverpool
Man of the Match
Nobody can deny that Coutinho gave his all for Liverpool. He was on his absolute best form, both assisting and scoring goals. He’s likely accepted that he won’t be moving away to Spain by now, gotten over it and is back to giving everything he has for his current club, who’d given him a 5 year contract this January.
Liverpool have a long trip to Moscow on Tuesday to take on CSKA (Spartak Moscow) in the Champions League group stage. Keep your chins up and heads held high as we continue our season on the back of a deserved win. Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.