“Toothless in attack, lightweight in midfield” – How the media reacted to Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool

on 03.02.2016


Following Liverpool’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday evening, we round-up the best media reaction from the game.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 1, 2016: Leicester City's Jamie Vardy scores the second goal against Liverpool during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Once again the Reds’ flaws were there for all to see, on an infuriating night at the King Power Stadium.

In truth, it was a very even contest until Jamie Vardy decided to produced his latest moment of brilliance, but from that point on, you just knew Liverpool’s race was run.

Vardy added a second later in the second-half, and any lingering hopes Jurgen Klopp‘s side will have had of a top-four finish are now all but over.

The same old lack of creativity in midfield and ruthlessness in front of goal was evident throughout, and the summer cannot come soon enough, in terms of bringing in new faces.

Here is how the media reacted to another defeat for the Reds:

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 1, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premier League match against Leicester City at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo felt Liverpool lacked quality all over the pitch, and are in need of a brand new spine:

Forget the Wembley final on the horizon, advancing to the Capital One Cup final merely papered over the cracks.

It’s crystal clear that major surgery is required and that should have started in January.

The lack of firepower is glaring. Liverpool haven’t scored in five hours of football since Adam Lallana‘s late winner at Carrow Road.

[…]

Toothless in attack, lightweight in midfield and vulnerable defensively. This is a team in need of a new spine.

Poor recruitment has severely hampered the Reds. Leicester’s success proves it’s not all about how much cash you have to splash, you just need to spend it wisely.


The Telegraph‘s John Percy remains unconvinced by Simon Mignolet, despite a couple of excellent saves on the night:

Mignolet demonstrated exactly why he polarises opinion here, producing stunning first-half saves from Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez before dropping a routine throw from Christian Fuchs.

That unpredictability must transmit to the Liverpool defence, who must be wondering what will happen next. Liverpool’s back four have also had problems too this season but Mignolet’s issues hardly inspire confidence.

Klopp, however, has been unwavering in his commitment to the Belgium international, who signed a new deal last month, and the lack of options mean Mignolet is the undisputed No. 1 despite all his idiosyncrasies.

It is a dangerous strategy, though.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 1, 2016: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet fumbles the ball against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kevin Garside of the Independent felt Leicester beat Liverpool at their own game, pressing relentlessly from start to finish.

The wonder here was not how Leicester might be leading the Premier League but how Liverpool became the only team to beat them on the road this season.

That anomaly was ruthlessly avenged here, leaving Liverpool with only three wins in the past 10 league matches.

[…]

Leicester’s secret lies in their compact shape, the industry of N’Golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater, key pistons in the blue engine, and of course the coiled springs that are Vardy and Mahrez.

Liverpool covet efficiency just the same, but do not have quite the cohesion, engine mapping or the express pace at the point of attack of a Vardy.

Possession was not their problem in the opening period, incision was, though they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Huth whacked Adam Lallana with his elbow.

Though Jürgen Klopp’s motif is pressing, it was Leicester who would not leave their opponents alone.


The Echo‘s Neil Jones bemoaned a lack of all-round quality from Liverpool’s midfielders:

The 4-4-2 has enjoyed something of a renaissance this season, and it was on show here as Jurgen Klopp opted to match up the Premier League leaders’ system.

Roberto Firmino played up top, with Adam Lallana off him. Lucas Leiva and Emre Can ‘patrolled’ the middle of midfield, with the graft of Jordan Henderson and James Milner on the flanks.

The plan, presumably, was to cut off the supply to Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez, Leicester’s talented wide duo. Yet the Foxes simply found another way – they went through the middle, and with ease.

Henderson, in particular, had a nightmare and was replaced early again. Milner, playing on the left, is still unable to marry work-rate with touch and quality.

Lucas and Can, meanwhile, offered neither protection to their centre backs, nor a platform from which to build attacks.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 1, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In his ESPN player ratings, David Usher was very critical of the performances of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino:

Can (4/10) – The German is incredibly fortunate to keep being selected ahead of Joe Allen, who has been in much better form for several weeks now. This was another poor showing from Can, who continually looked to take shots from distance and never came close to threatening the goal with any of them.

Henderson (4/10) – The captain continues to struggle, and this was another very un-Henderson performance. He gave the ball away frequently and failed to find Lallana in a four-on-three break that should have led to a goal. It was no surprise when he was replaced after 65 minutes, as his injury is clearly still hampering him.

Firmino (3/10) – Possibly the most infuriating player at the club, the Brazilian is capable of some sublime performances, but more often than not he turns in displays such as this one. Continually outmuscled by Leicester’s defenders, with one or two nice touches aside, he made absolutely no impact on the game.


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