Liverpool 2 - 1 Leicester City
Liverpool: Mane 40’, Milner (penalty) 90+4’
Leicester City: Maddison 80’
The narrative today is all about the return of the Brendan Rodgers, bringing Jamie Vardy and the Foxes with him. Surprisingly, Leicester sit third just below Manchester City as the other top six teams continue to struggle this early on in the season, and so Leicester will be looking for a fight today (but when are they not?). After a few less than easy results, though, Liverpool are hopefully looking to make this easier on themselves.
We’re off to a lively start and Liverpool get into a chance early on, with Mohamed Salah sending it right into the arms of Kasper Schmeichel. These first ten minutes have been almost entirely Liverpool, as Leicester have struggled to get a productive touch and do anything with the ball. Trent Alexander-Arnold has another cheeky corner moment, nutmegging Ben Chilwell and getting it towards James Milner on the near post, but Milly sends it upwards and not into the net — should’ve been an easy tap in.
The Achilles heel today will literally be us not finishing our shots, as usual. We can take these chances, but if we don’t finish them it means nothing, and that’s frustrating. Trent keeps crossing it into the box and no one is there to get on it, or it goes into places no one can get to. With twenty five minutes gone, Leicester are getting more into the game, winning their first corner, that Dejan Lovren clears twice.
Sadio Mane, on the other hand, is having to make some tackles himself to win the ball back because who else is going to do it? Liverpool finally get it back towards the Leicester half and win a corner for themselves but Leicester deal with it better than the Brodge era of Liverpool would’ve done. The Reds get another shot on goal, after Wilfred Ndidi tackles a Red, allowing Sadio Mane to push forward and shoot right at Schmeichel.
Another chance comes from Trent, this time Roberto Firmino goes for it and once again sends it over the bar. Things get dicey, though, when Trent clips Youri Tielemans on the Achilles and they go to VAR to check if it should’ve been a red card. Thankfully it isn’t given, and Leicester are given a free kick outside the box that Adrian deals with handily, but Leicester were offside anyway.
GOAL! Sadio Mane scores, picking up an assist from James Milner and opening up the goal by drawing Schmeichel out and thank god. A much needed goal five minutes before the break. Jamie Vardy, on the other hand, take a cheap shot by shoulder checking Adrian as he prepares to move the ball out, but they both only get a warning.
We’re back! No one has made any changes, and with Liverpool leading they weren’t likely to make any halftime changes. Things get started early, with Salah getting into the box and picking up a chip from Trent, but Schmeichel is able to block it quickly before the Reds doubled their lead. Once again these opening minutes have been all Liverpool, but Leicester aren’t going down without a fight.
Leicester fouls Salah just outside the box, and Liverpool win a free kick while they get a yellow card. It’s in a good position for the Reds, but Salah shoots it right at the wall and it doesn’t get anywhere on the rebound. It’s not taking a lot of work, it seems, for Liverpool to get into Leicester’s half, with two more chances taken by Mane since the free kick — one of them looking sure to go in, only to sweep by the side netting instead. Have the goals moved or changed shapes in the last week?
Liverpool’s press today has been a sight to behold. Even in the moments when things have gotten away from them, Leicester hasn’t been able to make anything of the time they’ve had with the ball. Also as of the 60 minute mark, they’ve mentioned Brendan Rodgers’ time with Liverpool about 6 times, including an obligatory slip mention (can you feel my side-eye from here).
The Reds have settled a little after the hour mark, simply taking advantage of their own control over the ball. Trent hands a nice assist to Bobby Firmino and even as he takes a minute to find the shot, it goes wide. They’re forever going to be searching for that second, and hopefully we get it before Leicester get their first. The Foxes, to their credit, have been defending well and shutting down anyone trying to get a shot off.
Leicester have remained able to be stretched out and Liverpool have done their best to take advantage, even if it hasn’t ended the way it should’ve. This game could’ve easily been like 5-0 by this point but you know, things happen. Liverpool make their first change of the game around the 78th minute, with Jordan Henderson coming on for Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi replacing Bobby. Origi will definitely be looking for that second goal, and hopefully be able to get around Leicester in ways that Liverpool hadn’t been able to.
Leicester, unfortunately, find their goal, shortly after the changes are made and things are level through James Maddison. Liverpool have ten more minutes, roughly, to find the winning goal and are awarded a couple corners at the 83rd minute, but no one is able to finish it, not even Virgil Van Dijk. Even with all the set pieces the Reds have won in these last ten minutes, we can’t find that winning goal, with four minutes added to the end of the half. Salah comes off a few minutes after a nasty challenge by Hamza Choudhury, with Adam Lallana replacing him and hopefully winning us a few minutes and another goal.
PENALTY! Sadio Mane gets taken down in the box with a clumsy tackle by Leicester and while it needs to be confirmed by VAR, Mr. Reliable James Milner steps up to take it — AND SENDS IT HOME. LIVERPOOL SCORE! LIVERPOOL ARE BACK AHEAD IN THE DYING SECONDS OF THE GAME!
We got really lucky. Really really lucky with that penalty (which definitely was a penalty, but to get it that late? Lucky). We were the better team, but definitely not without it’s drama. Thank god for James Milner.