Leicester 3-1 Liverpool
Premier League (24), King Power
February 13, 2021
Goals: Maddison 79′, Vardy 81′, Barnes 85′; Salah 67′
Alisson – 4 (out of 10)
Pulled off a stunning double save soon after but then made a shaky clearance minutes before Leicester‘s third. A nightmare run for the Brazilian.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
The key instigator, Alexander-Arnold stepped up a gear at the King Power again, providing the thrust and creativity up against an out-of-position Ricardo Pereira.
Hit the crossbar with a deflected free-kick, wowed with a host of outside-of-the-boot passes and played a vital role in the opening goal, threading it across to Roberto Firmino much like he did in that 4-0 win on Boxing Day in 2019.
Unfortunate to be undermined by his defensive colleagues, as it was a strong showing from the right-back.
Ozan Kabak – 5
All eyes were on Kabak as he made his debut, but both sides contrived to ensure it was a quiet start for the 20-year-old: Jordan Henderson took the responsibility for Liverpool and Leicester struggled to string attacks together.
But his involvement in Vardy’s goal will cloud perceptions, with it falling apart from the Reds and their new centre-back thereafter.
Jordan Henderson – 6
While he was a rather unwilling deputy in the No. 6 role, Henderson appears to be relishing his new duty as stand-in centre-back.
For the most part, he was front-footed, alert, quick to snap up loose balls and bright and expansive in possession, but was then guilty of marshalling a shockingly open back line as Harvey Barnes made it 3-1.
Andy Robertson – 7
Like his fellow full-back, Robertson enjoyed the afternoon up against another out-of-position full-back in Daniel Amartey, with his canny ability to read the danger and snuff it out with sharp interceptions keeping Liverpool on the front foot.
Had little involvement in the collapse, coming through the middle, which will disappoint the Scot.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Back to basics as Liverpool’s deep-lying midfielder, Wijnaldum can be given something of a reprieve from scrutiny as he goes about his business quietly and tidily.
Like Henderson, he was usually alert, but could have been quicker and more imaginative in his use of the ball.
James Milner – 5
Within 16 minutes, Milner joined a 10-strong injury list as Thiago took his place.
Curtis Jones – 5
Performed the role of combative link player, but was questionable in his use of possession at times, as if he was lost in the demands of the position and the complexion of the Leicester midfield.
Jones improved in the second half, as with Thiago settling in he was given more creative freedom, but was again subbed off as things didn’t quite come together for him.
Mohamed Salah – 7
The shining light in Liverpool’s attack this season, it is baffling that he is so often deemed the most expendable when posed the question of which of the first-choice front three could be sold.
He was so often involved in positive moments in attack, and took his goal with consummate ease. A stunning finish.
Sadio Mane – 6
Mane desperately needs a goal, and the confidence boost it provides.
He worked hard and produced some slick moments, but there was again no end product from the No. 10.
Roberto Firmino – 6
The assist was brilliant, but Firmino was so peripheral for much of the game, particularly given Jonny Evans was limping for a lengthy period.
Divock Origi missed the game through a hamstring injury, but the Belgian is far from the quality required to take over from Firmino – with a new striker a priority in the summer.
Thiago (on for Milner, 17′) – 4
A player of Thiago‘s experience should not be tackling with the frequent stupidity that he does. Mindless.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Jones, 75′) – 5
Barely involved, but can’t really be blamed. It wasn’t his game.
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Wijnaldum, 87′) – N/A
Subs not used: Adrian, Phillips, R.Williams, Tsimikas, N.Williams, Clarkson
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The manager was again limited in terms of selection, but the use of his substitutes’ bench can again be questioned with the decision to withdraw Jones and introduce Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Four minutes after the change, James Maddison had levelled the scores; six minutes, it was Vardy’s winner; 10 minutes, it was the clincher from Barnes.
An imbalance in the middle of the park has seen Liverpool collapse once again – injuries may be forcing Klopp’s hand, but the knock-on effect is proving devastating.