Liverpool FC have extended their lead at the top of the table over Manchester City to 5 points. That’s not the number that was on offer and certainly not the hope after Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle did Liverpool a solid by pipping a win against Pep Guardiola’s side, but it’ll have to do after a frustrating and disjointed affair against Claude Puel’s Leicester City.
The match itself contained a lot of interesting angles: Jordan Henderson at right back despite Fabinho being fit enough to make the bench, for example. It also featured for the first time a midfield trio of Georginio Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Naby Keita. Lots to talk about.
Following the match, though, what was prominently on the minds of Reds fans and observers was the fact that Martin Atkinson waved away a penalty claim from Naby Keita in the second half. From Jurgen Klopp’s perspective, it was an obvious penalty.
“It was probably the clearest penalty situation we have had. The ref was in the best position on the pitch. You will have to ask him why he didn’t give a penalty.”
And therein lies the frustration as that single decision could have been the difference between limping away with a single point and taking the full three to bring the lead at the top of the table back to 7 points. The margins in top flight football have always been slim and as Reds fans across the globe find themselves so tantalizingly close to the first title in nearly three decades, it is a knowledge that has certainly wreaked havoc on countless cardiac systems across the Liverpool Country.
That being said, Jurgen Klopp did not make it out to believe that the entire match hinged on that decision. The entire run of play was a bit disjointed in general as the weather conditions and shifts in position caused a few miscommunications. To the latter, Klopp spoke a bit about why they chose to place Henderson there over others like Rafa Camacho who had been working exclusively at right back:
“We had to find a solution. We thought about Rafa Camacho. But in the end we decided on experience in that position. I didn’t want to give Rafa such a big task in his first (PL) game.”
All told it was a missed opportunity but still an overall gain for the lads in Red. And now we wait for Monday and West Ham for another chance to keep setting the pace. The intent will be to keep focus on each match as it comes and not to dally on points. An important point given that, as of now, Liverpool remain in total control of their own destiny.