Liverpool stumble against a much improved Leicester City
Liverpool suffered a 3-1 loss to managerless Leicester City in what should have been a routine 3 points. Leicester produced a superb display in their first game following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, moving out of the Premier League bottom three as two goals from Jamie Vardy and a Danny Drinkwater strike saw off Liverpool.
Starting XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lucas, Milner; Lallana, Can, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Coutinho.
Leicester 3-1 Liverpool
Vardy (28, 60), Drinkwater (39) Coutinho (68)
Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool
Much improved Leicester City
It was a much-improved display from the Foxes under caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare, who took over after the departure of the man who led them to last season’s remarkable title triumph.
The first strike was straight from the 2015-16 playbook as Vardy collected Marc Albrighton’s precise long pass before racing clear and finishing low past Simon Mignolet to score his second goal in a week.
The second was an absolute cracker from Vardy’s England team-mate Drinkwater, who showed superb technique to lash home his first goal of the campaign from outside the box following a clearance from a long throw.
And Vardy sealed the win with a glancing header from Christian Fuchs’ cross in the second half before Philippe Coutinho stroked home a consolation goal.
The goals were the first the Foxes have scored in the league in 2017 and ended a run of five straight top-flight defeats in spectacular fashion.
Liverpool – who would have climbed to third with a victory – have now lost five of their past seven matches in all competitions.
In keeping with Craig Shakespeare’s pre-match comments, Leicester returned to old school. The 442 style of last season that won them the Premier League title.
Their plan was to hit the advanced Jamie Vardy with balls from deep, this was backed up by their 31% possession and the average position of Vardy in the game. Kasper Schmeichel had an amazing game and really showed why he’s actually being linked to Liverpool. He had two big saves to deny Coutinho and Emre Can in the first half and Adam Lallana after the break.
Deja vu for Liverpool
Liverpool top scorer Sadio Mane was again a peripheral figure in the game and was just restricted to a handful of touches in the box. Prior to tonight, Liverpool had only played twice this month, starting the game after a mid-season 16-day break, including a training trip to La Manga in Spain. But instead of looking refreshed, the Reds looked rusty throughout and were simply unable to make an impression on a night when they were always likely to be second on the bill.
Just over 12 months ago, Jurgen Klopp’s side were undone on this ground as a Vardy-inspired Leicester consigned them to a defeat that left them 16 points off top spot in eighth. Unfortunately we are now 14 points behind leaders Chelsea in fifth and a shot at the title looks a distant memory.
Next up for Liverpool is the massive 6-pointer against Arsenal on Saturday. You just have a feeling that will go our way as the theme this season suggests.