Liverpool 3 - 0 Leicester City
Reds: Evans (OG) 21’, Jota 41’, Firmino 86’
Given the injury and COVID situation, this is about as strong of a line-up as we could expect from Liverpool tonight. Fabinho returns as a makeshift center half, and Naby Keita and Curtis Jones get the nod in midfield. It appears as if Klopp is going with the well-drilled 4-3-3 formation. Sorry 4-2-3-1 stans.
A win puts the Reds joint-top with Tottenham on 20 points, and would move us ahead of Brendan Rodgers’ surprisingly strong Leicester side. So. Let’s do that!
Sadio Mané nearly gives the home side an early lead, but his free header from a corner only finds the side netting. Close!
With quarter of an hour gone, Liverpool look really dangerous going forward, and have already had Schmeichel scrambling a couple of times. The front three, plus Jones and Keita, are finding lots of space to play in the attacking third. If they keep this up, it’s a matter of when, not if, Liverpool score. And how many.
GOAL! You don’t see many worse own goals than that! Jonny Evans just straight heads it into his own net from a Liverpool corner. Great finish, though.
The game has gone a bit mad in the moments since the goal. It looks like Liverpool score a second, but it’s chalked off because of an apparent foul on Schmeichel. And then Leicester produce their most dangerous attack of the night, ending with a Barnes shot flashing just wide of the target.
GOAL!! Liverpool double their lead, and it’s the least they deserve for such a dominant first half. Robertson gets space down the wing and whips in an inch-perfect cross for Diogo Jota to nod home with a glancing header past the keeper. The new signing just can’t stop scoring!
A few minutes later the ref blows for halftime. This Liverpool side isn’t playing like a side that’s been devastated by injuries. They’re playing like Champions. The Foxes have largely been kept at bay, and the Reds have been electric going forward. More of that in the second half, please.
Barely 5 minutes into the second half and Keita pulls up with an apparent hamstring injury. The staff wastes no time in bringing on Neco Williams. James Milner escapes fullback purgatory, moving into midfield. Just what we needed: another injury.
CLOSE! Jones nearly has a second own goal, saved only by his own post. The not-quite-a-goal comes after a fantastic move between Jones and Jota down the right side. Unlucky not to extend the lead, there.
Around the hour mark, Liverpool find themselves under a bit of sustained pressure for the first time in the match. If anything, it’s a testament to how well the Reds have played tonight. But an errant shot/cross from Albrighton lets Liverpool off the hook, eventually.
The Reds seem to have adapted the strategy of “Take turns jumping on James Maddison’s back whenever he has the ball.” I’m here for it.
I don’t think I have the words to properly describe what happened. But, I’ll try. Roberto Firmino gets through in on goal, and rattles his shot off the post. The follow up is cleared off the line with—no exaggeration—about a millimeter to spare—and yet another follow up rattles off the post. That should have killed the game right there, but umm...here we are.
Liverpool didn’t get that third goal, but collectively the Reds did an incredible job of killing the game in the second half. After that one little flurry around sixty minutes, the visitors hardly got a sniff.
Oh. Never mind. GOOOAALLLL!!! Bobby Firmino gets a free header from a corner, and nods it perfectly into the far bottom corner. No keeper is getting to that one.
Klopp makes his last two subs as we enter the final minute of regular time. Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi come on for Jota and Mané.
Phenomenal performance from start to finish from the Reds. Once again, Brendan Rodgers is outclassed by the current Liverpool manager. And as an added bonus, Alisson Becker pays tribute to Ray Clemence in the best way possible: with a win and a clean sheet. Liverpool move back up to second, behind Spurs on goal differential.