Home truths for Liverpool

Football: Liverpool 1 Leicester City 1

Liverpool wore the mantle of Premiership leaders with all the conviction of Buzz Lightyear in Barbie's clothing yesterday. Stan Collymore cancelled out Steve Claridge's late goal for Leicester, but nine points from the last 18 at Anfield is not the form of championship favourites.

It is either feast or famine for Roy Evans' side. After three home games which produced two goals and two points, they scored nine times in winning the next two in front of their own supporters. Against a Leicester team who work as hard as any in the division, they were back to their most unimaginative.

Once again the key to stopping Liverpool lay in stifling Steve McManaman. Taking his cue from the recent success of Sheffield Wednesday's Peter Atherton, in trailing the wandering minstrel wherever he went, Martin O'Neill deployed Colin Hill in a man-marking role. McManaman was ineffective, and, with Robbie Fowler absent because of an ankle injury, Liverpool were bereft of inspiration and penetration.

Leicester were not solely intent upon a spoiling game, however. The engine- room access of Neil Lennon and Muzzy Izzet gave them abundant possession. That they were unable in the main to translate it into scoring opportunities was due to the fact that Liverpool's defence were in no mood to take prisoners, as evinced by their harsh treatment of Emil Heskey.

The Leicester prodigy, who will not be 19 until next month, was frequently dumped on his backside. Jason McAteer, in particular, appeared to be conducting a vendetta against Heskey, although when he was shown the red card, moments before the visitors scored, it was for fouling Lennon. Five Leicester men were cautioned, with Neil Ruddock the only other Liverpool player booked; some things never change at Anfield.

The match had a lively start when Collymore raced clear on to Pontus Kamark's back-header. A weak shot, straight at Kasey Keller, proved more indicative of what lay in store. The Leicester keeper was not tested again until Patrik Berger's drive afforded him another routine stop near half- time.

In the interim, Izzet put the ball in David James' net from an offside position, while the outstanding Lennon let fly from 30 yards but could not defeat James' giant reach. Yet increasingly, despite Hill's disciplined shadowing of McManaman, Leicester were forced in to deep defence.

All the more surprising, then, that they broke out to score with 15 minutes left. When Lennon's shot cannoned off Michael Thomas, the ball fell kindly to Claridge just inside the penalty area. A right-footed drive across James, brought the striker his seventh goal of the season.

Three minutes later, for almost the only time, McManaman escaped his marker to help haul Liverpool level. Feeding the ball into a crowded penalty area, he set up a one-two between Mark Wright and Collymore which ended in the latter dispatching his own seventh of the season from close range.

A Berger header in stoppage time might have given Liverpool three points, only for Keller to swoop to his right and save. A goal then would have been cruel for Leicester, whose effort O'Neill labelled "phenomenal".

He had only one complaint; that they had not stayed in front long enough for him to enjoy it. Evans, meanwhile, found himself in the familiar position of searching for consolation amid the frustration. "We showed we're desperate not to get beaten," he said. It is going to take rather more than resilience and spirit to bring the title home.

Liverpool: (3-4-2-1) James; Wright, Ruddock, Babb (Matteo, 68); McAteer, Thomas, Barnes, Bjorneby (Kennedy, 68); McManaman, Berger; Collymore. Substitutes not used: Carragher, L Jones, Warner (gk).

Leicester City: (4-1-4-1) Keller; Grayson, Pryor, Marshall, Kamark (Lewis, 43); Hill; Campbell (Taylor, 51), Lennon, Izzet, Heskey; Claridge. Substitutes not used: Watts, Lawrence, Poole (gk).

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester-le-Street).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power