Liverpool 4:1 Leicester City
City were outplayed by Liverpool, suffering a 4-1 defeat at a new look Anfield on Saturday evening…
Claudio Ranieri names an unchanged starting line-up from the Swansea win, with Schmeichel having recovered from his hernia op and new record signing Slimani not yet featuring in the squad.
With the new main stand opened, this was Anfield’s biggest attendance since the late 70s, but City began the game on the front foot attacking the Kop end and winning a couple of early corners. The early spell of pressure ended with Okazaki firing a chance over the bar, and then the home side got a grip on the game that they rarely loosened for the remainder of the evening.
A series of slick passing moves left City’s back-line looking stretched and Liverpool were ahead by the 13th minute. Milner set up Firmino on the edge of the area and he neatly side-stepped the defence before firing a low shot past Schmeichel.
The City defence were carved up again with another great display of passing and movement, but Schmeichel produced a good save to deny Sturridge.
Another moment of high quality saw the Reds go 2-0 up on the half hour – Firmino sent Sturridge in down the right, and a superb back-heel found Mane in the middle, the former Southampton man beating Schmeichel from close in.
Five minutes later City suffered another setback when Simpson had to go off, replaced by Hernandez.
However, three minutes after this change City were gifted a goal and were back in contention. Mignolet played a short ball out to Lucas, who tried to return it but presented it to Okazaki. Lucas’s challenge then saw the ball squared for an unmarked Vardy who had only to sidefoot it into an unguarded goal.
Lifted by this fortune, City went close to an equaliser before the break. Huth got his head to a long throw from Hernandez, but found the top of the crossbar.
City began the second half with Musa on for Okazaki and he had an early shot blocked by Matip. From the resulting corner Mignolet collided with Huth and suffered a nosebleed, which led to a long saga of three separate treatments from two physios.
Schmeichel then produced a fine save from a Sturridge effort in the 56th minute, but could do nothing about a Lallana rocket into the top left hand corner moments later.
City soon had a chance to reduce the deficit again, but Mignolet somehow managed to block a Vardy shot from close in.
After a couple of Liverpool moves were halted by the linesman’s flag, Huth nodded narrowly wide and Drinkwater had a fierce shot deflected for a corner.
Another fine Liverpool move ended with Henderson sending a shot sailing high into the Kop, but they were to increase their lead with a minute remaining.
With City pressing forward, Henderson’s long ball sent Mane racing down the left. Schmeichel was 40 yards out of his goal and failed to tackle him; Mane squared for the Firmino who picked his spot past back-pedalling blue shirts for his second goal and Liverpool’s fourth.
It was a comprehensive defeat for City, who looked way off the pace of last season’s performances, and now face the club’s first ever Champions league fixture on Wednesday.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Milner, Wijnaldum (Stewart 76), Henderson, Lallana, Leiva, Mane (Moreno 90), Firmino, Sturridge (Coutinho 76). Subs Not Used: Karius, Grujic, Klavan, Origi.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Hernández 34), Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton (Ulloa 65), Mahrez, Okazaki (Musa 46), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, King, Gray.
Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 51,232.
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