All the talk before the match was of how cruel injuries and fixtures and covid had been to Brendan Rodgers, who saw nearly a dozen players miss out, having been thumped by Manchester City at the weekend, and it was a valid contention; Liverpool had a huge advantage on paper both in terms of player availability and freshness, but 90 minutes must always be played for a reason, and games are never won or lost in advance.
In the end, the Reds were clearly the better side throughout, carving their hosts open on a number of occasions and more than tripling their shot and big chance output, but for once, it proved insufficient, as spurned chances ensured Ademola Lookman’s near-post strike on the hour mark was enough to keep Leicester clear of their opponents and dealing a major blow to their title aspirations.
Manchester City: With this loss, Liverpool now find themselves six points back of their main rivals of the past three years, who are on a streak of nine consecutive wins in the league. It’s a gap that seems unlikely to be closed anytime soon, and with the two sides not facing off again until April, the best the Reds can hope for is to try and claw back as much of the deficit as possible until then, and look to create some magic in the mausoleum that is the Etihad.
There is always hope, as the heir of Isildur once said, but the odds are firmly stacked against Liverpool at the moment, and the best thing to do from here on is to focus on every single game one at a time and try to do as well as possible without getting lost in ideas of a title chase.
Finishing: The Reds have been an attacking behemoth this season, scoring in every single game and averaging nearly three goals per game, with underlying numbers to match, but tonight, they failed to take advantage of their superior firepower. Three clear cut chances and a penalty is usually enough to get you a goal or four, but with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané misfiring in critical moments, including a one on one each and an open goal from a penalty rebound, Liverpool simply couldn’t make their chances count.
Pundits will naturally jump at this opportunity to point out flaws in Jürgen Klopp’s team, and praise the steadfastness of the Foxes on the night, but in truth, Leicester were lucky their inability to deal with Liverpool’s attack wasn’t punished, and on most any other night, the visitors would have taken home all three points.
Hopefully, the Reds will continue to create quality chances in games to come, but finishing them off at something like an expected rate, instead of simply missing a gaping target.
The Streak: As if to emphasise the previous point, after breaking the club record of games in a row with at least one goal scored, the Reds’ streak ends at 34. It’s an astounding run, the rarity of which should impose on people just how good this Liverpool side is, and a reminder that we should enjoy them while we can, because these good times won’t last forever. Just like the streak.
What Happens Next
New Year’s Eve and the accompanying party with all its Instagram hype is up first, before the Reds travel to London to take on fellow long shot title challengers Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It’s another critical fixture in what remains of the title race, and the Reds have no choice but to take all three points if they want this Premier League season to revolve around anything more than securing a Champions League spot.