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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018


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The fourth weekend of the new Premier League season is far too premature to be anointing this as anyone’s “year”, but after an impressive start to the new campaign — played three, won three, scored seven, conceded none — Liverpool fans certainly have reason to be optimistic.

Their recent record against Leicester isn’t the best — they’ve lost three times against the Foxes in the last three seasons — but if Jurgen Klopp’s side are genuine challengers, they will need to take advantage of Saturday’s early kick-off to consolidate their place at the top of the table.

Kick-off is at 12.30pm.

TEAM NEWS: Leicester make two changes – Albrighton and Ghezzal start in place of Amartey and Iheanacho.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton, Maddison, Gray, Ghezzal.

TEAM NEWS: Liverpool have fielded the same starting XI in each of their first three games, but not today. Naby Keita has to make do with a place on the bench as Jordan Henderson starts in his place.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane. 

KICK OFF: We’re underway at the King Power.


Demarai Gray gets in behind Alexander-Arnold and Gomez as Leicester look to try out Liverpool down the left channel early on, but the ball hits Gray on the side and goes out for a throw in.


WHAT A MISS FROM SALAH! Liverpool should be a goal up inside four minutes but Mo Salah has missed the kind of chance you’d put your house on him to score all day, every day.

Salah plays Firmino in behind the Leicester defence and the Brazilian has a great chance one-on-one with Schmeichel but his shot is too close to the keeper who gets a big hand down to stop it.

The rebound bounces back to Salah who, unimpeded, just has to side-foot it into the bottom corner from eight yards but he slides it the wrong side of the post.

Huge let-off for the hosts early on.


Super pressing from Marc Albrighton who gets up high in the face of the Liverpool back four as they try to play the ball out and forces them to put the ball out for a throw.


The Sky cameras cut to Jamie Vardy in the stands, where he’s serving the final game of that three-match ban. How Leicester could have done with having him back today…

Flag 10Mins

GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Leicester City 0-1 Liverpool (Mane, 10′)

Liverpool get the early breakthrough they’ve been threatening — and it’s Sadio Mane’s fourth goal of the season for the Reds.

Andy Robertson does all the work to create it out on the left wing, taking the ball from Salah, putting it through Ricardo’s leg, and then using his strength to barrel straight through the Leicester man.

Robertson cuts it back and Harry Maguire’s touch just helps it onto Mane, who makes no mistake with the finish.


Here’s that Mane opener:


The best chances have been Liverpool’s, it goes without saying, but Leicester aren’t being pinned back inside their own half by any means. They’re pressing Liverpool high up the pitch with some success but so far, they’ve been one more pass short of creating meaningful chance to test Alisson.


Leicester need to be sharp to clear their lines as Mane and Wijnaldum link up inside the area. Robertson does well to turn the ball back towards goal and keep the danger alive, but it’s hacked clear.


Leicester break with intent and for a moment, look like they might have Liverpool in trouble but Maddison dithers for a moment and then his pass to Ghezzal forces the move a little bit too wide. Liverpool crowd them out.


SAVE! Leicester’s first real chance of the game and it draws a sharp save from Alisson. Liverpool never properly clear their lines and Gray gets on the shoulder of Joe Gomez and finds a window to shoot inside the box. He puts it across the face of goal but Liverpool’s Brazilian stopper is equal to it, and then Gomez gets an outstretched toe to prevent any further danger.


Much better from Leicester now in these last five minutes. They force their first corner of the game but it comes to nothing. 


Another bit of a sighter from Gray but his shot from distance is high and wide.


Harry Maguire wins his latest duel with Roberto Firmino – great body position which made it impossible for the striker to get near the ball.


Leicester swarm Liverpool again in their own half and nick possession away. Marc Albrighton comes away with the ball and when the space opens up in front of him, needs no encouragement to take it on himself. He has a go from a long way out but it ends up in the stands.


Now Maddison has a go — and this one is a bit better, whipped from the edge of the box and zipping over Alisson’s bar, without ever really troubling the keeper, mind you. Leicester appeal for a corner, and it did take a nick of Jordan Henderson as he closed, but the officials give a goal kick.


The last 15 minutes have been all Leicester and the home fans are finding their voice, unsurprisingly.


James Milner needs to be quick to get across and nick the ball away from Ricardo who is rampaging down the right. The Portuguese accidentally nicks Milner with his boot as he hurdles him and there’s a short break in play, but everyone is ok to continue.


Five minutes to go until the break and Liverpool could do with reasserting a bit of control here to quieten Leicester down before half time.


A bit better from Liverpool. Salah drops a couple of yards off his man to collect possession, turns, and shoots from the edge of the box. Schmeichel is equal to it, though, and turns it around the post for a corner.

Flag 45Mins

GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Leicester City 0-2 Liverpool (Firmino, 45′)

Liverpool haven’t been great by any stretch of the imagination in this first half, but Roberto Firmino has headed them into a 2-0 lead on the stroke of half time.

Van Dijk runs interference and Firmino gets in in front of Maddison to power a header past Schmeichel without even needing to really get off the ground.

What perfect timing for the visitors.


Liverpool haven’t been full value for a 2-0 lead, exactly, but — Salah’s early miss aside — they have taken their chances. Leicester will have it all to do in the second half if they’re to deny the Reds their fourth win from four.


SECOND HALF: We’re back underway. No changes for either side at half time.


Ghezzal whips the ball across the face of the Liverpool goal — somewhere between the danger zone and the corridor of uncertainty, to be precise — but there are no blue jerseys in the box and it bounces wide. There was an opportunity there if somebody had gambled. Great delivery.


Maddison warms Alisson’s hands but the Liverpool keeper was behind it all the way.


It was James Milner’s corner that Firmino headed home at the end of the first half, which moves Milner into some elite company:


BIG LEICESTER CHANCE! Super chance for James Maddison, who does brilliantly to create his own opening, but Liverpool’s defence holds firm under pressure. Maddison rolls van Dijk on the edge of the box and then cuts back inside a lunging Andy Robertson, but just as he pulls the trigger, Joe Gomez slides in with a vital block. Last-gasp defending, but excellent execution nonetheless.


Maddison lines up a free about 25 yards out, and in a good position to test Alisson if he can clear the wall… but he can’t. Leicester have been doing all the attacking since the break.


CHANCE! Wes Morgan scores if he gets any sort of a meaningful touch on the ball – but he can’t. He just couldn’t get his legs right as it bounced to him six yards out.


LIVERPOOL CHANCE! And then Morgan nearly gifts Liverpool a third that would surely kill off this game. His loose pass allows Milner to pounce in midfield and Liverpool quickly break. Milner sets up Salah but when the Egyptian tries a clever reverse pass inside the box, Milner hasn’t continued his run.


Leicester sub: Kelechi Iheanacho comes on place of Marc Albrighton. Claude Puel knows that this game isn’t out of Leicester’s grasp just yet.

Flag 63Mins

GOAL FOR LEICESTER! Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool (Ghezzal, 63′)

Alisson’s had an absolute nightmare there and it’s gifted Leicester a way back into this game — no more than they deserve, but entirely avoidable from Liverpool’s perspective.

Van Dijk’s pass back to the goalkeeper forced Alisson a little bit wide but as Iheanacho closed in on him, he had lots of time to clear his lines and hoof the ball into the stands if nothing else. Instead, he tries to drag it back inside, gets caught and loses possession, and Iheanacho squares for Ghezzal to score.

Alisson was fortunate a few times last week not to get caught in the same manner. Liverpool fans will be hoping that’s the lesson learned.


Liverpool fans, look away now:


Liverpool subs: First changes by Jurgen Klopp — and it’s a double sub. Mo Salah looks a bit surprised that his number is up alongside Jordan Henderson’s; Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita are introduced.


Iheanacho has been a lively threat since coming on for Leicester — and he’s about to be joined by Okazaki as well. Still plenty of time for the hosts to find an equaliser.


Leicester sub: And here is that change – Demarai Gray is replaced by Shinji Okazaki.


Shaqiri runs into not one, not two, but three Leicester players and is crowded out. He appeals for a free but there was no foul there. Leicester goal kick.


A break in play to allow Chilwell get some attention. Ten minutes left at the King Power…


HALF-CHANCE! Milner floats over a free from the right, Mane wins the header, but can’t hit the target. 


Leicester sub: Daniel Amartey is on for the final minutes to replace James Maddison, who has arguably been Leicester’s best player out there today. He certainly gave Liverpool’s back four plenty to think about.


Chilwell crosses into the box but van Dijk wins the header and Liverpool clear. Three minutes, plus the rest, to play.


Mane and Mendy collide on the half way line and it’s a Liverpool free, as well as an opportunity to run the clock a bit. 


Liverpool sub: Final change for Liverpool as Joel Matip comes in to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold.


Gomez launches a long throw into the box but Schmeichel claims comfortably and Leicester will have a chance to build from the back.


There’ll be five additional minutes. Shaqiri wins a corner for Liverpool…


Liverpool take it short and Shaqiri shields it until Leicester concede a throw. Gomez launches another one into the box but again, it comes to nothing.


Leicester will have a chance here. Milner checks Ricardo’s run and it’s given Leicester a free in a threatening position if they can get the delivery right.


Chilwell gets around the back and heads the ball back across goal – but van Dijk clears for a corner. Here comes Kasper Schmeichel…


Van Dijk wins the header again. Liverpool just need to take the sting out of this last minute and they’ll have their fourth win of the season.

That wasn’t always pretty from Liverpool but they have their win, and keeps their 100% record intact ahead of the international break.

For all you stats aficionados, that’s the first time that Liverpool have opened a league campaign with four straight wins since 1990/91.

That’s all for now but there will be lots more Premier League action to come over the course of the day. Thanks for reading!

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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