Liverpool 2:1 Leicester City
Although Jamie Vardy put City ahead in the 3rd minute at Anfield on Saturday, two goals from Mohamed Salah ensured victory for Liverpool…
Claude Puel made four changes to the side that lost at Watford with Amartey, Fuchs, Iborra and Gray in for the injured Simpson, flu-victim Chilwell, King and Okazaki.
And they got off to a perfect start, taking a third minute lead. An aimless ball out of defence from Matip was seized on by Iborra and he played Mahrez in down the right. Mahrez squared for Vardy who nipped in ahead of Matip to net from six yards.
After that bright start, City faced a red tide for most of the first half.
Liverpool were totally dominant and launched one attack after another.
Mané’s cut-back from the left set up Salah ten yards out, but he fired his shot wide of the left hand post.
A through ball from Milner then sent Salah racing down the left channel, but Maguire recovered brilliantly to slide in and block his shot.
Milner then bore down on goal but Schmeichel came out well to smother his effort.
As the pressure continued, Coutinho connected well with a 30 yard shot, but Schmeichel fielded it comfortably.
Firmino was the next to have a crack, from 18 yards, but Scmeichel got down to it well, Amartey almost playing Salah in after making contact with the rebound.
Salah then looked certain to score as he burst through on the right, but he lifted his attempted finish across the face of goal.
Liverpool had the ball in the net after 20 minutes, but Robertson’s cross for Mané found him in an offside position.
There were appeals for a penalty when Amartey nudged Robertson as he shaped to cross from the byeline, but it would have been harsh.
Firmino then tested Schmeichel with another shot, before the pressure began to ease towards the break.
It had been a dogged defensive display from City who had done very well to survive the onslaught, and they took their lead in with them at half time.
The second half saw the Reds in complete control again, with City unable to retain possession and the equaliser arrived in the 52nd minute. A back-heel from Mané unlocked City’s defence and the irrepressible Salah side-stepped Amartey before firing a low shot past Schmeichel.
it was all hands to the pump again for City, although a rare attack saw Vardy in on goal, only to be halted by the offside flag.
Coutinho stung Schmeichel’s palms with a fierce shot from inside the area, and then Salah lifted an effort onto the roof of the net.
Ndidi sent a low shot a foot wide of the right hand post, before Mané had another goal disallowed for offside.
City then had a decent attacking spell, before Claude Puel made his first changes, bringing Okazaki and Slimani on for Mahrez and Vardy.
But Liverpool breached City’s backline in the 76th minute and it was that man Salah again. 25 yards out, with his back to goal, the Egyptian rolled round Maguire before advancing on goal and sending a low left-footer just inside the right hand post.
Only now did City get some attacking moves going against a suspect Liverpool defence, and Maguire sent a low ball across the goalmouth but no one was on hand to finish.
2017 had ended with a run of one point from four games.
Claude Puel summed up: “We tried to defend higher up the pitch and play but sometimes in the first half we lost the ball too quickly. It was good when we kept good possession and found space between the lines but we had some rubbish in our play and game without the possibility to keep the ball high up the pitch.”
Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson, Coutinho (Klavan 89), Can, Milner, Salah (Wijnaldum 83), Firmino, Mané (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72).
Substitutes: Lallana, Mignolet, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Okazaki 73), Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton (James 83), Gray, Vardy (Slimani 74).
Substitutes:Hamer, Musa, Dragovic, Thomas.
Referee: N Swarbrick. Attendance: 53,226.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.