Leicester City vs Liverpool: Reds overcome Alisson error as James Maddison impresses once again

Five things we learned as Liverpool beat Leicester 2-1

Jack Watson
Saturday 01 September 2018 14:26 BST
Liverpool 2018/19 Premier League profile

Liverpool were made to work hard to hang onto their first half lead which was almost jeopardised by Alisson’s foolish play at the back to allow Leicester back into the game.

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a two goal lead at the break, but Leicester got better as the game progressed and were given the chance of a comeback when Alisson was tackled and Rachid Ghezzal tapped into an empty net to set up a big finish.

Jurgen Klopp’s side held on but it certainly was not a vintage performance, and Liverpool manager may have some choice words for his goalkeeper this week.

Here are five things we learned from the King Power stadium

1. Liverpool defence proves the difference

In the 50th minute, Liverpool’s midfield had finally been breached and Maddison was winding up to shoot from close range. Just as he pulled the trigger, Joe Gomez flew in just in time to block his shot and Liverpool survived.

By contrast Wes Morgan was too tentative when standing up against Andy Robertson and let the Liverpool defender pull the ball back to Mane. Leicester's defence looked timid and vulnerable when Liverpool's forwards were taking them on.

Jonny Evans played against Wolves but was dropped for Morgan this week, perhaps Claude Puel may have a rethink.

Joe Gomez put in another good performance
Joe Gomez put in another good performance (REUTERS)

2. James Maddison is the real deal

Gareth Southgate was in attendance to watch this one and might have had a keen eye on James Maddison, who he left out of England’s recent squad because he wants young players to earn their caps.

If he keeps playing as he is, Southgate will surely decide he deserves his first senior England cap. Against Liverpool he was so elegant and controlled in his play, it was easy to forget he is just 21 and playing in his fourth Premier League game. The range and accuracy of his passing was helping Leicester stay in possession as Liverpool aggressively harried them to win the ball back.

Maddison’s understanding of the game allowed him to collect the ball on the half-turn, swivel and switch the play to keep an attack going without even thinking about it.


3. Alisson’s arrogance was Liverpool’s downfall

On his delicate chip over Anthony Knockaert when Liverpool were winning 1-0 against Brighton, Alisson, their £67m goalkeeper, said: “I take risks. Fans with heart problems have to be careful.” One week later and he has Liverpool fans raging.

With 63 minutes on the clock, and Leicester pushing for a way back into the game, Alisson waited for Kelechi Iheanacho to close him down, tried to turn back on himself, but was tackled on the by-line. Iheanacho kept his cool from a tight angle and squared the ball to Rachid Ghezzal, who tapped into an empty net.

That sheer arrogance is likely to have Klopp fuming with his new number one and is the kind of mistake that separates Liverpool from the very best.

Liverpool's Alisson looks dejected after Leicester City's first goal
Liverpool's Alisson looks dejected after Leicester City's first goal (Reuters)

4. No Keita, no problem

Finally it seems that Liverpool have themselves some squad depth. Last season this was often tested at times, particularly with the Champions League run, but it seems that Jurgen Klopp has the hang of rotation and the squad to do it.

Naby Keita was a surprise omission on the face of it, but think a little deeper and it made a lot more sense to start club captain Jordan Henderson. “We have to [be], if you want, rock solid, in all departments,” said Klopp ahead of the game. “It’s about being fresh.”

Liverpool now have the ability to alter their starting line-up in a proactive way relative to their opponents, something they have lacked in previous seasons.

Alongside James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum in midfield, Henderson helped keep things tight to stop Leicester’s counter attacks and force the home side to slowly work their way through Liverpool which encouraged them up the pitch, allowing space for Liverpool to attack.

Jordan Henderson made his first start this season
Jordan Henderson made his first start this season (REUTERS)

5. Leicester look lost without Jamie Vardy

It was hardly a surprise to see Leicester struggle without their biggest attacking threat, but it showed a serious gulf in quality between Vardy and the rest of their attacking options.

With Vardy in their side this would have been a much more exciting contest. Virgil Van Dijk is good, but his flourishing partnership with Joe Gomez is yet to face a test like Vardy, you feel he would get the better of the defenders and exploit the space left by Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold while they were pushing up the pitch.

Instead, Vardy was watching from the stands after receiving a red card for a dangerous tackle against Wolves and Demari Gray started in his place. The 22-year-old ran hard to match Vardy’s work rate but fell slightly short when it came to the bit of quality needed to finish chances. Only Kasper Schmeichel had fewer touches in the first half for Leicester.

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