Liverpool made history by sending a warning shot. Leicester had come to Anfield with plans to return to the Premier League summit, but was turned away by a Liverpool side missing three-quarters of their first-choice baseline, captain Jordan Henderson and top scorer Mohamed Salah. . Rivals must fear a champion when he is diminished in number but not in quality.
Jürgen Klopp’s team extended their unbeaten league home run streak to 64 games, eclipsing the club’s record set between 1978 and 1981, thanks to a comical own goal by Jonny Evans, another predatory shot by Diogo Jota and a header. late Roberto Firmino. Jota’s goal, Firmino’s return to form, and Curtis Jones’s continued development were some of the highlights of a dominant team display that made this a repressive return for Brendan Rodgers. His Leicester team, usually so effective on the away counter attack, was nullified, harassed and outmaneuvered.
In keeping with the season’s story, Liverpool’s injury problems escalated with Naby Keïta pulling up in the second half. Klopp will mourn the misfortune as he savors how he galvanizes the remaining players.
An impressive night began with a tribute to Ray Clemence, in many eyes Liverpool’s best goalkeeper, who died last Sunday at the age of 72. The goalkeeping team deposited a crown behind Kop’s goal as Alisson warmed up in a replica of Clemence’s jersey from the 1981 European Cup final. The jersey will be signed by the Liverpool team and auctioned to raise funds. for prostate cancer research.
It is not the first time this season that Alisson’s defense was interrupted by injury, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez joining Virgil van Dijk on the bench. And once again, any weaknesses lurking in a much-changed rear was covered by the sheer quality that champions possess elsewhere. Not that Klopp’s backline was too bad, as Fabinho returned to teammate Joël Matip in central defense and James Milner replaced Alexander-Arnold on right-back. Liverpool’s productivity in that department did not cease in the absence of the England international. Milner’s corners created the first and third goals.
Where Leicester was passive, Liverpool was sharp, aggressive and assertive. Sadio Mané headed into the side net after a Milner corner kick in the second minute. Jones pulled the first save of the afternoon from Kasper Schmeichel when, after receiving a good pass from Keïta, his shot at angle was blocked by the goalkeeper. Jones put on another excellent display to the right of Liverpool’s midfield three, proving in his second Premier League start to the season that he is in merit rather than necessity. His movement, precision of possession and sense of responsibility contradicted his adolescence. Leicester was rarely able to free Jamie Vardy and their formation looked more like an overly cautious 5-4-1 when they were forced to submit.
That said, the visitors gave Liverpool the upper hand when Evans inadvertently headed a Milner corner kick past his own goalkeeper. The Northern Ireland international was more concerned about Mané than the flight of the ball as he clung to the forward in the six-yard box. When Evans sensed the danger, it was too late. Schmeichel has already been hit by his header.
Leicester struggled with Liverpool’s set pieces throughout, but also excelled in the game opened by the second. “Be aggressive, be aggressive,” Schmeichel yelled as Marc Albrighton tried to shut down Andy Robertson when the left-back picked up a cross pass from Jones. The goalkeeper’s warning was ignored. Robertson ghosted past his marker and threw a delicious cross into the box where Jota, who came in ahead of Christian Fuchs, beat Schmeichel with a perfectly placed header. In the process, the Portugal international became the first Liverpool player to score in his first four home games in the top flight.
Leicester threatened little, but should have leveled two minutes after Evans’ own goal when Harvey Barnes sent Vardy running down the left. The forward’s recoil returned in an attractive way for Barnes only for the midfielder to stray too far.
Schmeichel then superbly saved from Mané, and Fuchs prevented Jota from converting the rebound off the line. The keeper also denied Jota twice, and Evans nearly scored another own goal when he headed off a post.
Woodworking came to Schmeichel’s rescue when Firmino pulled away from Wesley Fofana only to hit the inside of the far post. The rebound hit the Brazilian and he went head-to-goal until Albrighton cleared down the line, though only as far as Mané, whose scraped shot also hit the post through the goalkeeper before falling into Schmeichel’s arms.
But Firmino and Liverpool could not refuse. With four minutes to go, from another Milner corner, the striker rose above substitute Cengiz Ünder to head for Schmeichel’s lower right corner.
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