Mane reaches 50 milestone & Reds’ injury time excellence – 5 key stats from Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

6 October 2019

Liverpool left it late but recorded yet another league win on Saturday, seeing off Leicester 2-1 in the Premier League to keep the 100 per cent record intact heading into the international break.


With Man City still to play, the gap at the top is eight points for now, ensuring we’ll be well clear for the next couple of weeks whenever fans happen to glance at the table.

Sadio Mane put the Reds ahead against the Foxes, but Liverpool missed a host of decent chances to add a second—before James Maddison equalised for Leicester.

Fears of the win streak being vanquished were growing, until Mane won a penalty deep into injury time and James Milner buried it with his customary, ice-cool composure.

Here are five key stats from yet another Anfield win.

 

Sadio’s 50

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League Group E match at Anfield, Liverpool. (Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images)

Mane has quickly risen to the top of the Reds’ scoring charts this season, with eight in all competitions to his name in just 11 appearances thus far.

Against the Foxes, with a fine run in off the left channel and precise finish into the far corner, he netted his 50th Premier League goal for the Reds—in his 100th Premier League appearance.

His importance to the team, as well as Liverpool’s all-round quality, is further highlighted by the fact we’ve won 69 of those 100 games Mane has played in.

He is the 10th player to reach the milestone with the Reds; no other club can boast of such a large collection of scorers to reach the 50 mark.

And he’s getting better as he goes on:

Moreover, Mane has proven adept at netting the all-important first goal of the game, doing so against Southampton, Salzburg and now Leicester, as well as notching the first Liverpool goal of each match against Chelsea and Newcastle.

 

Up the injury time Reds

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Leicester City's Jonny Evans appeals as the referee awards Liverpool an injury time penalty after a foul on Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Just when we looked to be out of time and short on ideas, Divock Origi and Mane combined and Marc Albrighton dithered just enough to lose possession, then panicked just enough to concede the penalty.

Ignore the bleatings about not enough contact, diving and any other nonsense—they’ve been given for far less, there are now multiple opportunities to overturn the decision and it was, in any case, the right one.

Ignore, too, the myth about certain other teams being famed for the late goals category; stoppage-time winners remain the exclusive domain of those bearing the Liver bird on their chests.

We haven’t usually had to score quite so late this season—Roberto Firmino against Burnley after 80 minutes was our latest until Milner’s decisive intervention—but it’s good to see we still have plenty in the tank late on.

 

Historic start, relentless run

Liverpool players celebrate Milner's penalty vs Leicester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

We’ve won eight in a row—excellent, in and of itself. Only seven teams have done this in English top-flight history, dating back well over 125 years.

But, we’re Liverpool…and that’s the only name you’ll now see on that exclusive list twice.

In the Premier League era, only the Reds and Chelsea (nine straight wins, 05/06) have reached this level.

Of course, we’ve now won 17 straight league games straddling two different seasons, meaning Jurgen’s Reds are one win off equaling the all-time Premier League win streak of 18, set by Man City in 2017.

Poetically, the city we can match that run in is…Manchester. The Reds are at Old Trafford after the international break.

 

Jimmy on the spot

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates after scoring the winning second goal, an injury time penalty, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Milner’s late, late penalty sent the Reds eight points clear, at least for a day, and set the nerve-endings of other clubs around the country into electrical overdrive, burning with rage at the injustice of Liverpool being awarded a penalty for one of their players being kicked in the box.

It’s not the first time our vice-captain has been key in this 17-game streak, either:

The nerveless No. 7 also scored in the final 10 minutes of that game at Craven Cottage.

Elsewhere during this run, Milner also scored a penalty at Cardiff, the second in a 2-0 win, while Mo Salah netted from the spot against Arsenal, again the Reds’ second in an eventual 3-1 win.

After eight months without scoring a league penalty at Anfield from December 2018 (vs. Arsenal) to August 2019 (vs. Arsenal), Liverpool have now been awarded and scored two penalties in 42 days.

 

Leicester’s low-key claim to competing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Leicester City's Ayoze Pérez clashes with Liverpool players at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Listen to the beaten Foxes after the match and you’d be forgiven for thinking they had been hard-done-by in the game, came within a whisker of taking all the points themselves—building on the pre-match narrative that they could be the ones to stop the Reds.

“We may have lost the game but we won something more,” was the cryptic offering from defender Caglar Soyuncu.

“It looked in that second period, especially as the half wore on, that we could go on and win the game,” suggested manager Brendan Rodgers.

Except, it didn’t.

Right from the moment Mane put the Reds ahead, Leicester had very, very little chance of winning the game.

In fact, for them to have done as their manager suggested and won, they’d have needed to have more than one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, for starters.

Or just more than two shots altogether.

Compare that to the Reds’ recent league opponents: Sheffield United (12 shots, two on target), Chelsea (13 shots, two on target) and Newcastle (eight shots, one on target) and Leicester didn’t even match those perceived lesser-sides, never mind trouble the Reds enough to win.

A lowly 0.1 for Leicester’s xG score shows not only their lack of threat, but the absurd gap in quality and quantity between their chances and Liverpool’s.

Again, Sheffield United (1.31 xG), Chelsea (1.54) and Newcastle (0.35) all bettered the Foxes’ chances, while only the Blades didn’t equal the one goal actually scored by Leicester on Saturday.

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