Liverpool's James Milner (left) celebrates scoring a penalty vs. Leicester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester: Milner’s last-minute penalty keeps perfect start alive

Brendan Rodgers made his return to Anfield on Saturday and came close to ending his old club’s winning run, but Liverpool struck late to beat Leicester 2-1.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

Premier League, Anfield
October 5, 2019


Mane 40′ (assist – Milner)
Maddison 80′ (assist – Perez)
Milner pen 90+5′ (assist – Mane)

After early predictions Jurgen Klopp could switch to a 4-2-3-1 system for the visit of Rodgers’ side, he stuck with a 4-3-3 but made a tactical alteration in shuffling his forward line.

Mohamed Salah started up front, with Roberto Firmino shifting out to the left and Sadio Mane moving over to the right, seemingly in an effort to pin back Leicester‘s rampaging full-backs.

As with midweek against Salzburg, it was Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold who provided the Reds’ biggest threat early on, and James Milner should have scored within the first 15 minutes as he spooned over the latter’s cross.

The Reds kept up the pressure throughout the opening half-hour while Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Dejan Lovren held their own at the back, and at the other end Firmino was just short of a sumptuous deep cross from Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool’s No. 9 was restored up front before the break, and soon after Mane had opened the scoring, driving inside from the left and firing past Kasper Schmeichel for his 50th goal in his 100th Premier League game for the club.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino is substituted for Divock Origi during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Klopp starts Mane right, Firmino left, Salah up front in 4-3-3
  • Mane scores 50th league goal in 100th league game after reverting to left
  • Leicester denied first shot until 73rd minute; Reds lack clinical edge
  • Maddison equalises in 80th minute to set up tense finale
  • Milner’s last-minute penalty keeps 100 percent record intact

The Reds almost got the second half off to a perfect start as Alexander-Arnold found space again on the right, but Schmeichel was on hand to make a smart save to deny Salah from point-blank range.

Both Salah and Mane continued to plug away as Liverpool sought a second, and Firmino came close after another great ball from the right-back, before Adrian was called into action to sweep up before Jamie Vardy could pounce.

Leicester‘s first shot on goal came in the 73rd minute, coming from Dennis Praet, whose effort soared just wide of Adrian‘s far post from range, and soon after the Belgian was replaced by Ayoze Perez.

Perez then turned provider for the equaliser, with the Spaniard squeezing a pass through for James Maddison to fire through Adrian, who appeared to make a poor effort to save.

Liverpool’s persistence proved decisive, as Mane won a penalty in the last minute, allowing Milner to step up and score to seal the three points.

TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Liverpool: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum (Henderson 78′); Salah (Lallana 90+2′), Mane, Firmino (Origi 78′)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Keita, Elliott

Leicester: Schmeichel; Ricardo, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi, Praet (Perez 73′), Tielemans; Barnes (Albrighton 46′), Maddison (Choudhury 86′), Vardy

Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Justin, Gray

Next Match: Man United (A) – Premier League – Sunday, October 20, 4.30pm