Liverpool were left licking their wounds, wondering what could have been on Tuesday as they fell to a 1-0 Premier League loss to Leicester City.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were all over Brenden Rodgers’ stubborn foxes for long periods of the game, but after a collection of misses, it always felt like the hosts were never really out. In the end, a fantastic race and finish from Ademola Lookman condemned the Reds to defeat and gave Manchester City a big boost in the title race.
The forward pressure was so complete and utterly relentless that Leicester had to pull any rabbit out of the hat just to stay alive. The fuel tank of Liverpool’s core players is there for all to see with their passing moves, especially by keeping their opponents guessing, while the four backs are particularly attentive and shrewd most of the evening.
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There was a real inability in Liverpool to strangle Leicester down the flanks, and that was especially evident when the hosts cut in with neat one-two passes. Any balls over the top also served as a real problem, and counter-attacks were constantly used against them as a way for Leicester to increase the pressure – which was especially the case after the break.
Manager rating out of 10
6 – The always animated Klopp could easily be criticized for not returning to Plan B when Leicester took the lead, but in reality he chose a solid starting XI given what he had available and they largely controlled the game. Of course, some of his replacements and the timing of them can be questioned, which is where he’s likely to draw some heat.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 – After having nothing to do in most of the game, Alisson could not prevent the power of Lookman’s attack from bypassing him at the nearest post.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 – Tracked well back and was always dangerous in the final third, but should probably have been more turned on for Lookman’s goal.
DF Joel Matip, 5 – Showed poor focus for the opener, which was a shame considering how well he grew into the game with his precision and decision making.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 – Dried 95% of the attacks that came to him, in another display that showed why he is considered one of the Premier League’s best defenders.
DF Kostas Tsimikas, 6 – Must be careful about losing its mark, but overall this was a really nice cameo at both ends of the track.
MF Jordan Henderson, 5 – Demonstrated confidence going forward, played a role in winning the penalty kick and fired several shots over the crossbar on an uneven evening.
MF Fabinho, 5 – While he may have done a good job of sweeping loose balls up and conserving his energy, Fabinho could not match Leicester’s pace in the second half.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 5 – Was not offered as an option too often, but produced a few fine crosses that deserved a better end product.
FW Mohamed Salah, 4 – Aside from the physicality of the fight that eroded him, Salah saw a bad penalty saved and the return was just as disappointing.
FW Diogo Jota, 6 – Broke well through Leicester, was always hungry to win the ball back and provided Liverpool with some real attacking outlets.
FW Sadio Mane, 4 – Consistently dubious passes and finishes were closed as he missed a golden chance to score in the 55th minute.
MF Naby Keita, 6 – Calmed things down on a couple of occasions but could not ultimately help turn the tide in the midfield match.
MF James Milner, 5 – Was often taken into possession, and his introduction can be seen as one of the more confusing decisions made by Klopp on King Power.
FW Roberto Firmino, N / R – Did not make any major contribution, further highlighting the weaknesses he has when he came off the bench.