Tag Archives: liverpool

Late penalty robs Leicester of a point at Anfield

Liverpool 2:1 Leicester City

1920 liverpool away

City were seconds away from a earning a point at Anfield on Saturday when a last minute penalty handed victory to Liverpool…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side as he returned his former club for the first time, with Maddison replacing Pérez.
Liverpool, looking to extend their 100% record this season, pressed City hard in the opening spell, and should have gone ahead in the 13th minute. Alexander-Arnold skinned Chilwell on the byline and crossed for an unmarked Milner, who volleyed over from 8 yards.
But City gradually managed to get a footing in the game, with Praet looking very impressive, and they forced a couple of corners.
Liverpool were misfiring up front and when Mané did get a sight of goal he fired his shot straight at Schmeichel.
A tight game was getting niggly, with Ndidi booked for a high foot on Milner, Alexander-Arnold escaping a card for catching Tielemans on the achilles, and Robertson seeing yellow for a foul on Maddison. From the resulting free-kick Söyüncü’s firm header forced a good save from Adrián, but the offside flag was raised.
It was an even contest at this point, but Liverpool took the lead five minutes before the break. A superb long ball up the left from Milner tempted Evans to try and intercept, but he couldn’t reach it and Mané raced through and fired a low shot into the bottom right hand corner.
Just before the break Barnes sent Vardy into the area but he was crowded out by the Reds’ defence.

Brendan Rodgers made a change for the second half bringing Albrighton on for Barnes. Soon after the restart Liverpool went close when Alexander-Arnold played a low ball in the six yard area and Salah got a tough on the stretch, but Schmeichel reacted well to parry it away.
Söyüncü then earned himself a yellow card, pulling Salah’s arm just before the Egyptian entered the penalty area.
Salah and Mané then passed their way through the City back line before Evans produced a fine tackle to deny the latter as he shaped to shoot.
In the final half hour the game opened up and more chances were created. Albrighton found Vardy with a great ball behind the defence but his chest down had too much weight allowing Adrián to come out and block.
At the other end Robertson went clear on goal down the left and blasted a fierce shot that knocked Schmeichel off his feet when he blocked it.
As play moved from end to end, a cross into Liverpool’s area was half cleared to Praet, who connected beautifully with a low shot, but it went inches wide of the left hand post. He was then replaced by Pérez.
City finally made a breakthrough in the 80th minute. With his back to goal, Pérez neatly controlled, turned and threaded a ball through to Maddison who slotted the ball under Adrián.
Choudhury replaced Maddison with four minutes remaining and soon found himself in the book for a heavy challenge on Salah.
As the game entered four minutes of time added on it looked as though Liverpool’s winning run was at an end, but there was to be a sting in the tail.
Albrighton won a challenge with Origi but the ball went into the penalty area, with Schmeichel coming out to claim but Mané threatening Albrighton tried to retain possession. Mané robbed him of the ball and then threw himself to the floor after the merest contact with his left foot. Unfortunately referee Chris Kavanagh bought it and pointed to the spot. VAR chose not to overrule a clear and obvious error and Milner sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his penalty.
Although City attempted a late barrage on Liverpool’s goal the Reds winning run continued.
After the final whistle Pérez was enraged at something Robertson had done and the pair had to be kept apart.
It was a tough way to lose after City had matched the European Champions, but City’s display, if not the result, underlined City’s top six credentials.

Brendan Rodgers commented: “To come from a goal behind, it looked in that second period that we could go on and win the game. And to concede a goal when we were in control of the situation. I thought it was very soft penalty, I didn’t think it was a clear and obvious penalty, that’s for sure. But when the referee gives it, it’s probably hard for VAR to go against that, so it was disappointing.”

Liverpool: Adrián, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum (Henderson 78), Fabinho, Milner, Mané, Salah (Lallana 90), Firmino (Origi 78).
Substitutes: Keita, Gomez, Kelleher, Elliott.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Barnes (Albrighton 45), Praet (Pérez 73), Tielemans, Maddison (Choudhury 86), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Gray, Ward.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: – –

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Battling Leicester earn a point at Anfield

Liverpool 1:1 Leicester City

1819liverpoolaway

City dented Liverpool’s title hopes taking a well-earned point from Anfield on Wednesday night…

Claude Puel made three changes for this icy midweek trip to Fortress Anfield with Simpson, Morgan and Barnes replaced by Evans, Albrighton and Gray.
The heavy snowfall ceased around kick off time, but still made for tricky conditions, holding up the ball when it was played along the ground.
However, this didn’t stop Liverpool from taking a 3rd minute lead while City were still trying to find their bearings. Mané received a pass from Robertson and swerved his way through City’s back-line before curling a low shot into the bottom right hand corner.
With Liverpool looking determined to cash in on Man City’s defeat at Newcastle it looked as though this could be a long night for City’s followers. Three minutes later Firmino forced a good save from Schmeichel and Mané headed narrowly wide from the resulting corner.
After this shaky start City got their act together and there were penalty appeals when Maddison was brought down by Henderson after a poor pass out from Alisson. It looked as though the trip had occurred a yard outside the area, but City didn’t even get a free-kick. City then threatened to break again and Matip had to take a yellow card for blocking Vardy as he raced past him.
City should have capped a good spell with an equaliser in the 25th minute. Another eccentric clearance from Alisson led to Albrighton whipping a cross over from the right.
Maddison was lurking, unmarked at the far post but his header went horribly wrong and he sent the ball across goal instead of into the net.
Four minutes later Maddison wasted a free-kick from a decent position, sending it sailing into the Kop.
City were winning the midfield battle at this stage and as they continued to press forward a few crosses were delivered, but nothing got past van Dijk.
Liverpool threatened in the 36th minute when Mané set up Salah, but his shot was blocked by Chilwell’s leg. The huge shouts of ‘HANDBALL!’ perhaps betraying the nerves of the home support.
Four minutes before the break Robertson  attempted to play Mané through but Maguire clipped his heels close to the halfway line. Referee Martin Atkinson only produced a yellow, with the proximity of Evans meaning Maguire wasn’t the ‘last man’.
As the half entered injury time City struck back with the goal their performance had deserved. Robertson fouled Ricardo needlessly down the right. Maddison’s free-kick was half cleared to Ndidi who had his shot blocked. Chilwell sent a lofted header to towards the far post where Maguire nipped in behind van Dijk to sidefoot past Alisson from close range.

The Liverpool ground staff spent the interval clearing the remaining snow from the Kop End which Liverpool would be attacking, another indicator of how desperate they were to open up that gap on Man City and claim their first title in 29 years.
But on the field they were looking nervy and City went close in the 52nd minute. The lively Ricardo was fouled again and Maddison delivered the free-kick. Maguire nodded it down at the far post and the ball almost went in off Firmino, Alisson producing a fine reaction save.
At the other end Keita, exchanged a one-two with Firmino but went over as he took his shot. Replays showed Ricardo standing on his foot, but fortunately Martin Atkinson didn’t point to the spot.
Liverpool had most of the possession but looked very flat going forward and City threatened on the break in the 73rd minute. Vardy raced upfield and sent Gray in down the left, but he elected to shoot too soon giving Alisson an easy save with Maddison arriving unmarked in the middle.
A minute later Firmino forced a good save from Schmeichel and Matip headed wide from the resulting corner.
Claude Puel then decided it was time to tighten things up, bringing Choudhury on for Maddison.
Liverpool were looking increasingly desperate as time ticked by, Robertson sent a shot well over and Salah hit a free-kick straight into the wall.
Then Choudhury produced a fine tackle to halt Mané’s progress down the middle before
two late substitutions saw Okazaki and Iheanacho on for Gray and Vardy.
Liverpool didn’t manage to mount any late pressure, with a couple of crosses and a corner being dealt with and the final whistle brought a very well-earned point from a fine City performance.

Claude Puel was slightly disappointed with a point: “I think it is a good performance. I have a little regret at the end because we had some fantastic chances at the beginning of the second half. We started slowly and conceded a goal but after we showed fantastic character and personality. We put them under pressure at the beginning of the second half and in this period we have to be more clinical.”

Liverpool: Alisson, Henderson, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Keita (Lallana 66), Shaqiri (Fabinho 67), Firmino (Sturridge 82), Mané, Salah.
Substitutes: Lovren, Mignolet, Origi, Camacho.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Gray (Okazaki 84), Mendy, Ndidi, Maddison (Choudhury 75), Albrighton, Vardy (Iheanacho 90).
Substitutes: Simpson, Morgan, Ward, Barnes.

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Attendance: 53,092.

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Can’t Buy That Feeling – Inside Leicester City – The Best of The Fox Interviews

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We have finally got round to compiling all our interviews into one book and it is available now from Conker Editions Ltd HERE
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Also available from the Leicester City Fanstore and Waterstones in Leicester.

The FOX has been interviewing Leicester City players, managers, famous fans and board members for almost three decades, building up a body of work that takes you right into the very fabric of the club, with memories spanning the last 60 years.

As a City fan, you’ve come to know hundreds of players through their performance on the pitch, through potted career biographies and football sticker images. But what about the real characters behind the blue shirt and the back-page reports?

Can’t Buy That Feeling takes you inside Leicester City from the perspective of those who were there – behind the scenes at the long-running soap opera packed with comedy and tragedy, triumph and disaster, financial ruin and amazing title wins.

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Leicester lose to Liverpool despite Alisson blunder

Leicester City 1:2 Liverpool

Leicester City v Liverpool- Premier League

A good performance wasn’t enough to earn a point for City against Liverpool at the KPS on Saturday, despite a gifted goal from an Allison error…

Claude Puel made two changes to his side for the visit of the league leaders, with Albrighton and Ghezzal in for Amartey and Iheanacho, and Gray playing up front with Vardy still suspended.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine with a great atmosphere being created by a capacity crowd, but Liverpool should have taken a 4th minute lead.
Salah played Firmino into the area clear on goal, but Schmeichel stuck out an arm to deny him from close-range. The ball rebounded out to Salah, who stroked it wide from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
But this was only a temporary reprieve, with the Reds taking a 10th minute lead.
Robertson was allowed in down the left and crossed for Mané, whose first touch set him up to jab the ball past Schmiechel before Chilwell could get a block in.
Liverpool ran the show for a while after their opener, but the City defence managed to snuff out their moves and Gomez sent a header well over from a corner.
City’s first chance came in the 23rd minute, a great pass from Ghezzal setting up Gray for a decent shot, but Alisson got a hand to it.
City continued to press forward and Gray sent a shot on the turn over the bar, Albrighton sliced an ambitious effort high and wide, and Maddison went close with a shot that looked to have taken a deflection.
City’s midfield were on top now, and the game was finely poised, until Liverpool struck again just before half-time. A Salah shot was tipped round the left hand post by Schmeichel. The corner was nodded out by Morgan, for another corner. Milner delivered it from the left and Firmino strode forward to nod it home from 10 yards. It all looked a bit too easy.

Leicester City v Liverpool- Premier League

After dominating much of the half City found themselves two down at the break.

The first chance of the second half fell for City in the 52nd minute, when Maddison jinked through the Liverpool defence, but Gomez recovered his ground well to block the goal-bound shot.
Five minutes later Ghezzal curled a low cross into the six yard box but Morgan was wrong-footed and couldn’t apply the finishing touch.

Leicester City v Liverpool- Premier League

It was an exciting end-to-end game at this stage and Salah should have set Milner up for a shot, but his touch was too heavy and Morgan cleared.
Puel made a change in the 61st minute, bringing on Iheanacho for Albrighton, and he was soon in the thick of the action.
City got a break in the 63rd minute when they were gifted a goal, the first one Liverpool had conceded this season. Van Dijk sent a wayside backpass to Alisson allowing Iheanacho to chase him down. Alisson attempted a tricky turn which wasn’t fooling the City striker who robbed the keeper, raced along the byeline and crossed for Ghezzal who netted from six yards.

Leicester City v Liverpool- Premier League

Roared on by the crowd, City pursued an equaliser but the final ball was lacking.
Jurgen Klopp made a double substitution in the 71st minute with Henderson and Salah replaced by Keita and Shaqiri and this move deadened the game down.
Soon after this Puel replaced Gray with Okazaki.
Chilwell was then hit by a ball from Alexander-Arnold in the family jewels, which required a spell of treatment that also served to halt City’s momentum.
Amartey then replaced Maddison, and City were struggling to get near Liverpool’s goal as they shut up shop.
Deep into time-added-on City earned a corner, which saw Schmeichel sprinting upfield to take position at the far post, but van Dijk headed clear and Ndidi picked up a yellow card for crashing into Keita as the Reds threatened to break upfield.

The final whistle heralded Liverpool’s fourth win in four games, though City had deserved more from an encouraging performance.
Claude Puel commented: “I am disappointed for my players because they gave their best. Our second half was fantastic with good quality, good pressing and a lot of chances. It was a shame in the first half to concede the second goal just before half-time, and it was difficult, of course, to come back.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Ghezzal, Maddison (Amartey 83), Albrighton (Iheanacho 61), Gray (Okazaki 76).
Substitutes: Evans, Ward, Iborra, Fuchs.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold (Matip 89), Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson (Keita 71), Milner, Salah (Shaqiri 71), Firmino, Mané.
Substitutes: Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Mignolet.

Referee: 
Paul Tierney. Attendance: 32,149.

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Salah double overturns Leicester lead at Anfield

Liverpool 2:1 Leicester City

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

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.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

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.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

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.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

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.

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Spot of bother as Leicester lose to Liverpool

Leicester City 2:3 Liverpool

1718 liverpool home b

Jamie Vardy’s predictable penalty cost City a point at home to Liverpool on Saturday evening…

Round 2 of this week’s Leicester v Liverpool double header saw both sides making a few alterations, but Craig Shakepeare’s only change from the last Premier League game was the reintroduction of Okazaki to the starting line-up.
Despite Liverpool dominating the early possession it was City who had the first chance in the 6th minute. Okazaki sent Vardy in down the left and his angled drive was saved by Mignolet. The loose ball sat up for Mahrez who lifted it over the bar from close in.
Liverpool should have gone ahead in the 13th minute when a low 25 yarder from Can thumped the left hand post. The rebound went straight to Salah who jabbed it wide with Schmeichel still recovering from his dive.
Salah soon made amends, however, as Liverpool took the lead on the quarter hour.
Coutinho delivered a fine cross from the right, which Salah nodded past Schmeichel at the far post from an acute angle.

1718 liverpool home c

The game had a physical edge now, with Ndidi and Albrighton getting booked, but Liverpool players avoiding a yellow card for similar fouls.
City’s afternoon then got worse as Liverpool doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, Coutinho curling a superb free-kick over the wall and just inside the left hand post.
Liverpool sat back on their two goal lead for a while, though City were struggling to do much with their possession. A low cross from Chilwell was smothered by Mignolet.
City then had the ball in the net in the 40th minute, but the offside flag was already raised before Okazaki timed his run perfectly to outstrip the Reds defence from a free kick.
City did, however, manage to halve the visitors lead three minutes into time added on.
Albrighton delivered a corner from the left, Mignolet missed his punch in a big aerial duel six yards out and Okazaki was in the right place to toe poke the ball over the line.
Liverpool protests about a foul in the general melee were waved away.

Liverpool had the better start to the second half and racked up a few chances. Coutinho volleyed straight at Schmeichel, Lovren headed wide from a corner, Can headed over from close in and then Firmino fired a shot well over.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 62nd minute, bringing Gray on for Mahrez.
City were enjoying a decent attacking spell when they were caught on the break in the 67th minute. Maguire was striding forward and played a one-two with Ndidi, but the return ball was heavy and possession was lost. Coutinho, Sturridge and Henderson raced forward and the latter was set up up for a neat finish past Schmeichel to restore Liverpool’s two goal lead.
But City struck back just two minutes later. Albrighton beat Gomez down the left and delievered a far post cross to Gray, who fired in a shot that Mignolet did well to save. The ball went straight to Vardy who directed his header into the unguarded goal.
City had their tails up now, and three minutes later they had a golden chance to equalise. Vardy raced into the penalty area and was flattened by Mignolet. Though he got a touch on the ball it was a clumsy challenge and the ref pointed to the spot.
Regardless of the fact that word may have got round, Vardy opted for his usual blast down the middle, and Mignolet had done his homework, staying on his feet to block just to his right.

1718 liverpool home a

Moments after this penalty miss there was another big shout when Can handled in the area, but City were denied a second attempt.
Shakespeare then brought Iheanacho on for Okazaki.
Sturridge went close with a couple of shots before Shakespeare brought on another striker, Slimani for Albrighton.
This new line-up didn’t really work and Liverpool managed to close the game out in relative comfort.
It had been a highly entertaining encounter, but left City with a very poor return of 4 points from the first six games.
Craig Shakespeare commented: “Ultimately because we were searching for that second goal it cost us. We left ourselves too open. The third goal was always going to be hard to come back from. But, try we did and we could’ve got a point in the end. You have to realise that you’re playing against some quality opposition. The aim at the start was to play with the high intensity. We all know in football that games will ebb and flow.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (Gray 61), Ndidi, King, Albrighton (Slimani 80),Okazaki (Iheanacho 74) Vardy. Substitutes: Hamer, Amartey, Iborra, Fuchs.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can (Milner), Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino (Sturridge 64), Coutinho (Oxlade-Chamberlain 79). Substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.
Referee: A Taylor.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Okazaki inspires League Cup win for Leicester

Leicester City 2:0 Liverpool

1718 liverpool cc home c

Despite Liverpool’s total domination in the first half of this Carabao Cup 3rd round tie at the KPS on Tuesday night, an Okazaki-inspired City conjured up a 2-0 victory…

Craig Shakespeare made seven changes to his side, with Iborra and Dragovic making their debuts. But it was a youthful-looking Liverpool side, with Coutinho pulling the strings in midfield, that dominated play from the start, ending the half with 76% of the possession.
Although the Reds had 13 attempts on goal in the first half Hamer wasn’t that busy, with the City defence blocking most of them. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Grujic had their efforts blocked; Solanke fired one wide and Hamer saved a Coutinho shot.
Grujic thern headed wide from a corner and Coutinho sent another shot straight at Hamer.
With Slimani and Ulloa starved of service up front City’s first chance came in the 20th minute when Gray capped a run with a shot that was comfortably saved by Ward.
Liverpool then continued to tot up the chances, without troubling the scoreboard.
Solanke fired a shot over from close in, and had another effort blocked, before Robertson sent a left-footer wide.
An Oxlade-Chamberlain shot didn’t test Hamer, and the Coutinho missed the target with two other shots.
Having done virtually nothing but defend for 45 minutes, City had at least done that right, with a 0-0 scoreline that almost defied logic.

1718 liverpool cc home d

In an apparently pre-ordained move Coutinho was withdrawn at the break, and with him went most of Liverpool’s creativity.
The second major turning point of the game came in the 53rd minute when Ulloa had to go off after falling heavily and was replaced by Okazaki.
The Japanese international instantly brought the near sell-out crowd to life with a strong run through the middle that showed more energy and positivity than anything they had witnessed in the whole first half.
Gray then went on a run through the middle, but sent his long range effort narrowly wide of the right hand post.
It was much improved performance from City and they took a 65th minute lead.
A ball forward from Chilwell saw Morgan win an aerial duel, Iborra nodded the ball into Okazaki’s path, and he steered it home from 12 yards out.

1718 liverpool cc home b

Liverpool continued to waste chances. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Woodburn both cleared the bar, while Ings failed to make proper contact with a header from close in.
City gave them another spectacular lesson in finishing in the 78th minute when Slimani, running along the 18 yard line launched an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner.
City almost made it 3-0 two minutes later when Gray cut in from the left and sent a shot towards the bottom right hand corner that Ward did well to palm round the post.

1718 liverpool cc home a

Young prospect Choudhury made his first appearance replacing Ndidi in the 84th minute, as City saw the game out.
City were into the 4th round of the Carabao Cup, an outcome you wouldn’t have believed at half time. This game highlighted the importance of Shinji Okazaki to the side in the current set-up.
Craig Shakespeare paid tribute to Okazaki: “He has got his head down and trained impeccably but that is the character of the man. He won’t change. He has always been like that. He has walked away with the man of the match trophy and he didn’t even play half the game. That just shows you the level of his contribution and impact he was able to make from the bench.”

Leicester: Hamer, Amartey, Morgan, Dragovic, Chilwell, Albrighton, Ndidi (Choudhury 84), Iborra, Gray, Ulloa (Okazaki 53), Slimani. Substitutes: Iheanacho, Musa, Jakupovic, Mahrez, Benalouane.
Liverpool: Ward, Flanagan, Gomez, Klavan, Robertson, Wijnaldum (Ings 73), Henderson, Grujic, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Coutinho (Woodburn 45). Substitutes: Karius, Milner, MorenoMarkovic, Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: S Attwell. Attendance: 31,609.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester finally switch on to humble Liverpool

Leicester City 3:1 Liverpool

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Craig Shakespeare’s first game in charge of Leicester saw an emphatic 3:1 win over Liverpool at the KPS on Monday night…

The caretaker boss, who may well have staked a permanent claim to the job, sent out last season’s first choice side, with Ndidi in the Kante role, and also seemed to have summoned last season’s spirit.
Right from the start of the game, City looked like a completely different side to the one that had struggled through this Premier League campaign.
Vardy was haring around the turf and hurt Mane with a tasty challenge in the first minute. City pressed forward and Huth connected with an Albrighton throw, giving Mignolet a comfortable save.
The Liverpool keeper was more stretched by the next effot when Okazaki got his head to a mishit Vardy shot.
Liverpool’s first attack came in the 10th minute when Mane sent in a dangerous low cross from the right, but Ndidi extended a long leg to intercept.
City soon threatened again when Huth should have done better with a header from an Albrighton corner, but sent it well over.
Another chance arrived for City in the 20th minute when Vardy turned Lucas with a flick, but mistimed his connection as the ball dropped allowing Mignolet to block.
Huth blocked a fierce Coutinho effort as Liverpool came more into the game, but then City took a vital 28th minute lead with a goal that conjured up memories of last season.
A defence-splitting pass from Albrighton sent Vardy in down the right and he raced clear and fired home City’s first league goal of 2017 giving Mignolet no chance.

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Although this raised the KPS roof, Liverpool almost struck back straight away when Coutinho went clear of City’s defence down the left, but Schmeichel came racing out to block his shot.
City were soon on the attack again, Mahrez sent Vardy into the box but his clever back-heel was sidefooted over the bar by Ndidi.
City didn’t have to wait long for their second goal, however, and it was truly spectacular when it arrived in the 38th minute.
From a half-cleared corner, Albrighton sent a cross into the goalmouth and when Milner headed it clear it presented itself to Drinkwater on the edge of the area. He crashed home a perfect half-volley into the bottom right hand corner and the KPS went nuts again.
City took their 2-0 lead in with them at the break, with the crowd as well as the players needing to get their breath back.

Despite the two goal cushion, nerves were still jangling as Liverpool dictated play in the first period of the second half. This was a passage of play on which City’s whole season could hinge. Liverpool’s passing game was clicking into gear and Mane was beginning to look threatening.
But then City struck again to make it 3-0 on the hour.Mahrez and Fuchs combined well down the left and Fuchs dummied  a left foot cross, before delivering a perfect ball into the area with his right. There was Vardy, perfectly placed in the middle to direct a fine header into the bottom right corner to surely seal a fantastic victory.

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Klopp’s side were stung into action now, and City had some defending to do. Lallana went close with one effort , before the visitors narrowed the gap in the 68th minute. Can set up Coutinho, who found himself to space to run into and line up a a precise shot past Schmeichel.
This came soon after a touching ‘phone light’ tribute to Claudio Ranieri around the ground, which struck the right tone.
Shakespeare made his first substition after the goal, bringing on Amartey for Okazaki who had run himself into the ground.
Liverpool set up camp in City’s half again without actually creating many chances, and they were almost caught out on the break when Mignolet arrived in the nick of time as Vardy raced after a long ball forward.
Mahrez then went on a run down the right and into the box before being crowded out: he laid the ball off to Drinkwater who skied his effort when well placed.
Mahrez was then replaced by Gray.
Liverpool upped the pressure as the final whistle approached, but the City defence held firm.
Fuchs came within inches of a fourth goal in time added on, lobbing a long-range effort that had Mignolet backpedalling as it just cleared the bar.

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The final whistle brought emotional scenes. Last season’s Leicester had reappeared.
Perhaps we will never know why. Some fans had a strange mixture of elation and anger, thinking that the players had stitched Ranieri up by under-performing for most of the season. Others pointed to subtle changes like Ndidi playing a more defensive role and Drinkwater in a more effective forward position making the difference.
Perhaps it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that Leicester were back and looked much better equipped for the battle against relegation.

Craig Shakespeare, who may well be in charge for the remainder of the season and possibly longer, observed: “I think some of it is human nature when people criticise you there is bound to be a reaction. I know the criticism has hurt and perhaps there was a little more fire in the belly because of that. They know they are guilty of underperforming – but this is only one result and we must build on that.”

 

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 80), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton (Chilwell 90), Okazaki (Amartey 69), Vardy. Subs Not Used: King, Slimani, Zieler, Ulloa.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lucas (Woodburn 84), Milner, Lallana (Origi 66), Can, Wijnaldum, Mane (Moreno 66), Firmino, Coutinho. Subs Not Used: Karius, Klavan, Stewart, Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 32,034. 

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