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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 May, 2018

Liverpool play into Leicester's hands and more Premier League talking points

Plus, why the Foxes, contrary to popular belief, are not back yet.

Jamie Vardy heads home his second goal.
Jamie Vardy heads home his second goal.
Image: EMPICS Sport

1. Liverpool play into Leicester’s hands

MUCH HAS BEEN made of Leicester’s improved performance tonight, but they were certainly given a helping hand by a charitable Liverpool side.

Like Man City in December, Liverpool approached the match in a naive fashion against the Foxes.

Klopp’s tactics were strange as they essentially played to Leicester’s strengths.

While most teams now know not to allow a player of the calibre of Jamie Vardy space to run into, Liverpool strangely ignored the lessons most learned time and again last season and allowed the hosts the space on the counter-attack on which they regularly thrive.

2. Lucas Leiva issue highlights Liverpool’s defensive woes

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League - King Power Stadium Source: Nick Potts

It’s over a year into the Jurgen Klopp reign at Liverpool, and the German boss still has yet to resolve the defensive issues that undoubtedly cost the club the title in that memorable Luis Suarez-inspired 2013-14 campaign under Brendan Rodgers.

At the back, Joel Matip and Lucas Leiva in particular seldom looked comfortable tonight against a rejuvenated Leicester side.

As Sky pundit Jamie Carragher said of Lucas, “it’s like trying to play me on the right wing”.

The Brazilian, who prefers to operate as a defensive midfielder rather than a centre-back, was simply out of his depth up against the electric pace of Jamie Vardy, who hit a clinical brace and looked back to his best this evening.

In Klopp’s defence, Dejan Lovren was unavailable through injury, but even with the Croatian international in the side, the Reds have looked far from convincing at the back this season.

In total, the Anfield outfit have conceded 33 goals since the start of the campaign — more than any other team in the top eight currently.

3. Leicester not back yet

Reports of Leicester’s revival are premature. Granted, the Foxes played well tonight, but the game was made for them.

As mentioned above, Liverpool’s tactics played into their hands, and the match was more than a little reminiscent of the Foxes’ equally impressive 4-2 defeat of Man City back in December. Not every team they play will be as naive as the Reds were tonight.

This evening’s performance was not even as unusual as some people were portraying it to be in the game’s aftermath, as Leicester began life without Claudio Ranieri in convincing fashion.

The reigning champions actually have a relatively respectable record at the King Power Stadium this season — winning six, drawing three and losing only four. Furthermore, Liverpool have produced similarly inept performances against many of the league’s weaker sides, including Burnley, Hull and Swansea.

It is away from home that Leicester’s inadequacies have been much more apparent — in 13 matches on the road this season, they have picked up just three points.

If stand-in boss Craig Shakespeare manages to curb the latter worrying trend, only then will talk of a revival seem credible.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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