Where do we even start? Brendan Rodgers’ side headed into this fixture at Anfield on the back of an embarrassing home defeat to Newcastle United on Boxing Day – and Foxes fans were desperate to see signs of improvement. As for Klopp’s Liverpool outfit, they’d managed a 3-1 victory at Villa Park to restart their Premier League campaign and were hoping to carry that momentum into this evening’s fixture.
Rodgers made just the two changes from the side that started against the Magpies – with Ndidi starting ahead of Youri Tielemans, and Ayoze Perez replacing the injured Dennis Praet. Harvey Elliott started for Liverpool as the only change to their Boxing Day lineup, with Fabinho not included in the squad. Ibrahima Konate returned to the bench after his World Cup break.
Liverpool Starting XI: Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Thiago, Henderson, Elliott; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nuñez, Salah
Leicester Starting XI: Ward; Thomas, Faes, Amartey, Castagne; Soumare, Ndidi; Barnes, Dewsbury-Hall, Perez; Vardy
A minute’s applause was held before the game, in memory of ex-Liverpool striker David Johnson and footballing icon Pelé – both of whom have sadly passed away recently.
Patson Daka sent Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on a mazy run through Liverpool’s defences after flicking the ball in the direction of the English midfielder, who duly converted and gave his side an unexpected early lead after finding himself one-on-one with Alisson.
The Foxes almost found themselves 2-0 up, with Vardy – who had been introduced as an early substitute for the injured Patson Daka – firing in a low cross towards Barnes who was waiting at the far post. Trent Alexander-Arnold was there to clear the danger for Liverpool, and ensure the gap didn’t widen further.
A blazing run from Darwin Nuñez down the left wing saw the Uruguayan forward surge past Wout Faes and make his way into the box, before finding Salah in the middle. The winger wasn’t able to get his shot on target, instead firing slightly wide in a manner that we wouldn’t necessarily expect from the Egypt international.
Liverpool managed to find the back of the net through Salah shortly afterwards, but the flag was raised as Oxlade-Chamberlain had been offside in the buildup. Alexander-Arnold had another opportunity to bring the hosts level, but his deep cross into the box wasn’t met by a red shirt and instead resulted in a Leicester goal-kick.
It was Wout Faes who equalised for the home side – after completely misjudging a clearance. Alexander-Arnold had drilled a low cross into the box, forcing Faes to slide in and clear the danger. The Belgian international couldn’t connect cleanly with the ball, sending it flying over Danny Ward into the back of his own net.
Leicester found themselves with a chance to re-establish their lead shortly before the break, with Vardy getting past Van Dijk on the edge of the box. He was able to find Harvey Barnes, but the winger fired wide. At the other end of the pitch, Wout Faes scored his second own goal of the night to ensure Liverpool would take the lead. Nuñez’s chipped effort over Danny Ward hit the post – and it was Faes who was there to slide the ball into his own net for the second time.
Leicester started the second half in a much better fashion, with Perez creating chances for both Vardy and Barnes though the Englishmen were unable to find the back of the net. Henderson had a fantastic opportunity to extend the hosts’ lead after receiving a throw-in from Trent Alexander-Arnold, but the defensive midfielder sent his effort wide of the target.
Liverpool were beginning to really grow into the game and starting to really dominate for the first time – as Salah’s low strike rolled wide after Nuñez’s pass found the feet of the Egyptian forward. Alisson was called upon at the other end of the pitch as Barnes weaved his way into the box, before firing an effort straight at the Brazilian. Robertson was there to clear any further danger.
Tielemans was introduced in the 60th minute, with Ndidi returning to his place on the bench – shortly before Leicester found yet another opportunity to equalise through Perez and Dewsbury-Hall. Perez whipped a cross into the box towards the midfielder who was unmarked – but his header was sent well wide of the goal.
Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain were replaced by Tsimikas and Naby Keita for the final thirty minutes of the fixture. Liverpool’s defence was breached once again by Jamie Vardy, who attempted to gather a curling pass from Ayoze Perez on the right-wing – but Alisson was able to collect and prevent an equaliser.
Nuñez combined with Salah in a bid to extend the Reds’ lead with 25 minutes left to play, but the Uruguayan sent his shot over the bar.
Ayoze Perez made way for Kelechi Iheanacho as the game drew towards its close, and the Nigerian forward sought to find Barnes with a low cross but Joel Matip was able to intercept. The resulting corner landed at the feet of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, but he was unable to add to his goal tally and instead sent the ball flying over Alisson’s goal.
Vardy played Barnes in with a lovely weighted ball, with the winger shooting first-time and hitting the bar. The flag was raised for offside, with Vardy deemed to have been in an illegal position when receiving the ball.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and the injured Harvey Elliott made way for Joe Gomez and Stefan Bajcetic – the latter of whom had scored in the Reds’ Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa. Four minutes of added time saw the Foxes create a few final chances, including a Tielemans free kick which didn’t lead to much after Alisson was fouled in the box.
The full time whistle saw Liverpool take all three points in one of the strangest fixtures we’ll see this season. Despite taking an early lead and having a string of good chances throughout the game, Brendan Rodgers’ side were unable to capitalise on numerous opportunities – instead heading home empty-handed as a result of two Wout Faes own goals. While they may be happy with the three points, Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly want to investigate his side’s inability to finish their chances ahead of their trip to Brentford on Monday. Leicester return to the King Power, where they’ll host 10th place Fulham on Tuesday.