Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City: Player Ratings
Liverpool hosted Leicester in what was the last game of the year for both clubs as Liverpool’s newest recruit, Virgil van Dijk gauged from the stands just how important he is going to be to this team’s ambitions.
Liverpool’s performances this season might well have earned them the tag of the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Club” and once again, both their genius and abysmal sides were on display in front of the Kop.
As has been the case so many times this season, an error from the Liverpool defence gifted their opposition, in this case, Leicester, an unlikely opportunity which was finished neatly by Jamie Vardy to hand the Foxes the lead a mere three minutes into the match.
However, the saving grace, Liverpool’s attack, turned up once again with talisman Mo Salah scoring a brace to take his goal tally in the league to 17 this season. The full-time whistle came with the score at 2-1 in favour of Liverpool.
The Reds would have been mightily relieved to have survived that scare while the Leicester players would have surely felt a little hard done by, especially having taken the lead so early on in the game. Here’s the report card from today’s clash at Anfield.
The young shot-stopper earned another start in a Liverpool shirt tonight but hardly had to make a save all match. Although Karius couldn’t be blamed for Leicester’s goal, his ball distribution and decision making did look suspect at times. The Liverpool no. 1 position still looks very much up for grabs.
Gomez started well but his influence waned off as the match progressed with a few errors creeping into his game. The accuracy and consistency of crossing from the young Englishman still leave a lot to be desired. However, he did defend steadily when Klopp shut up shop towards the end of the game.
Easily Liverpool’s worst player on the pitch today, the ever-reliable centre-back had an afternoon to forget. Was clearly the one at fault for Leicester’s goal and his vulnerability at the back throughout the game forced Klopp to send in Ragnar Klavan to close out the match without incident.
Lovren was much better than his centre-back paining today and had the Leicester boys covered for the majority of the game. The big Croatian was also offered a chance for a headed strike in the second half but flattered to deceive.
The Scotsman worked tirelessly all game; both bombing forward and defending with aplomb and even covering on occasion for the faltering Matip. The only criticism that could be made of the performance from Liverpool’s left back is that his crossing from the flanks needs greater consistency.
The German who has become so important to the Liverpool side just didn’t turn up tonight. Can was sluggish in the initial periods of the game and was partly to blame for Leicester’s opener. The midfielder also picked up an unnecessary yellow card for a clash with Harry Maguire following Salah’s first goal.
From making incisive runs into the opposition box to dropping back into his own to help out his defenders, Liverpool’s captain on the day was just everywhere. The icing on the cake for this performance from Milner was a lovely backheel into the path of Salah to set up the Egyptian for Liverpool’s winner.
Liverpool’s little Brazilian genius was certainly not at his best tonight but he still combined well with the Liverpool front three. Not the starry performance today that we have usually come to associate with Coutinho but a decent one nonetheless.
Liverpool main man this season was up to his antics once again as a coolly taken brace plucked Liverpool out of a stupor and earned them three difficult points. Got ahead of his marker time and again and once the ball sticks to the left foot of Mo Salah, there is only one place it is headed, the back of the net as Leicester learnt it the hard way.
Another one of Liverpool’s Brazilians and another one who has been in scintillating form of late didn’t have his best game tonight. Troubled the Leicester defenders with his unlimited trickery but lacked the spark displayed by him in Liverpool’s previous matches in the festive period.
Back into the starting eleven today, the Senegalese winger was out with a point of prove today. He did get the ball into the net twice but the goal was disallowed both times for offside. However, Mane did have a crucial part to play in Liverpool’s win as a neat backheeled lay-off teed up Salah for Liverpool’s opening goal.
Chamberlain was the first change for Liverpool coming on for Sadio Mane. As has been the case of late, Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed on the pitch in what little time he got, linking well with his teammates and making intelligent runs down the field.
The Dutchman came on in the 83rd minute of the match for Mo Salah. Had a few good opportunities to cross telling balls into the box but couldn’t make them count.
Liverpool’s third centre-back was sent on to shore up the defence in the dying moments of the match and he did just that winning a telling header while also suffering a blow to the head from his own keeper (accidental of course) for his troubles.