Ghost Of Liverpool Past: Brendan Rodgers And Leicester Haunt His Former Club

Liverpool failed to score for the first time in 35 games across all competitions
21:55, 28 Dec 2021

After a 6-3 loss to Manchester City in their last game, not to mention a Carabao Cup exit at the hands of today’s opponents, you’d have forgiven Leicester City for feeling trepidation in facing Liverpool. But Brendan Rodgers got a vital 1-0 victory against his former club in an entertaining encounter at the King Power Stadium. With a number of key players missing, the Northern Irishman will have been particularly pleased to have kept a clean sheet, snapping Liverpool’s 34-game scoring streak in all competitions.

Liverpool had a golden opportunity to set down an early marker, but could not take advantage. Wilfred Ndidi’s ill-advised lunge to try and stop Mohamed Salah handed the Reds a penalty, the midfielder surely regretting his needless intervention when he had cover from Daniel Amartey. Kasper Schmeichel beat the penalty away with aplomb, and while it was not Salah’s finest work it was still a good save. The Egyptian nodded the rebound onto the bar, and the King Power Stadium atmosphere was electric as Leicester countered. Salah had scored his last fifteen spot kicks, and this was only his third miss in Liverpool colours.

Liverpool had Leicester pegged back for the majority of the half, but they struggled to land a killer blow. Diogo Jota forced a solid stop from Schmeichel, but it wouldn’t have counted as the forward was flagged offside. Jurgen Klopp urged men forward, and Joel Matip even tried to get the creative juices flowing with a slalom into the Foxes box. 

It was to no avail, and as the half wore on Leicester had moments of their own. Their best chance came through Jamie Vardy, who did well to control a Timothy Castagne backheel and got as far as the six yard box, before Matip brilliantly blocked his shot. Brendan Rodgers’ team will have been glad to go in level at the break, but there were reasons to be cheerful as they warmed to the task before half time.

Sadio Mane seemed poised to give Liverpool the lead after half time, going clean through on the Leicester goal. The superb Senegal forward burst into the penalty area and somehow lifted his shot over the bar. The miss drew relieved gasps from the home support, and groans from Liverpool fans and FPL managers alike.

It fell to former Everton forward Ademola Lookman to open the scoring. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played an enticing ball into the area, which Lookman controlled brilliantly at high-speed before tucking it inside Alisson’s near post. It was a brilliantly-worked goal, and just reward for some of Leicester’s incisive attacking play.

Vardy went down after an innocuous coming together with Matip, seeming to have jarred his knee. The England international returned to the field, but did not look like his usual explosive self afterwards. Liverpool were looking for some explosive creativity of their own, but struggled to find a way through the assembled Foxes throng. Jota nodded a chance wide in a crowded box, as the home side closed ranks. 

Leicester held firm, and condemned Liverpool to their first December loss in five years. The Foxes played with bravery, attacked when gaps opened up and defended resolutely to take home all three points. While this was far from vintage Liverpool, Klopp should not be too disheartened by what he saw. Sharper finishing and a little more ruthlessness from the penalty spot would have perhaps garnered a different outcome.

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