Sunday 13 October 2019

Five things we learned as Leicester dig deep to hold league leaders Liverpool at Anfield

Leicester City manager Claude Puel shakes hands with Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp after the match. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Leicester City manager Claude Puel shakes hands with Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp after the match. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Liverpool squandered the opportunity to open up a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League table by drawing with Leicester at Anfield.

Sadio Mane gave the hosts after just three minutes and his early goal seemed to indicate that this would be another easy night for the league leaders.

But on the stroke of half-time Harry Maguire took advantage of a defensive mix-up to draw Leicester level.

Liverpool should have had a penalty in the second-half and had numerous opportunities to get themselves back into the lead, but a second goal wouldn’t come.

Here are five things we learned.

Did Liverpool score too early?

It took Sadio Mane just three minutes to give Liverpool the lead against Leicester.

But his opening goal came so early into the match that Liverpool looked caught in two minds whether to turn the screw, or defend their narrow lead.

Leicester eventually equalised just before half-time, before digging deep in the second-half to secure the point. This was always going to be a difficult night for Liverpool in tough conditions, and Leicester more than deserved their point.

Ricardo gets lucky

This hasn’t been a great week for penalty decisions.

Mike Dean should have awarded both Arsenal and Cardiff first-half spot kicks last night, and this evening Martin Atkinson missed a sitter at Anfield.

Midway through the second-half, Naby Keita played a one-two with Roberto Firmino only for Ricardo Pereira to catch his foot as he was about to shoot. It was a stonewall pen, but Liverpool’s appeals were waved away by a nonplussed Atkinson.

Maguire effective at both ends

What a goal from Harry Maguire: his third of the season and just the fifth he has scored in his Premier League career.

Quite why Maguire was left completely unmarked in the heart of Liverpool’s box is anybody’s guess. But the England international kept his cool to nervelessly sidefoot the ball beyond Alisson.

It showed that the 25-year-old can be effective at both ends of the pitch.

Snow joke for Liverpool

It was gamesmanship at its finest.

After the whistle blew for half-time at Anfield, Liverpool’s team of groundsman wasted absolutely no time in running onto the pitch to attend the soggy, snow-covered turf. But it quickly became clear that they were only interested in drying out the end Liverpool were attacking in the second-half.

In the end it didn’t make much of a difference, but it was obvious for all to see that Liverpool were willing to take any advantage possible in this tough fixture.

Still a big lead for Liverpool

Yes, Liverpool should have won this game. But given Manchester City’s shock loss to Newcastle last night, this should still be viewed as a point gained.

With fourteen league games remaining, Liverpool boast a five point advantage over Pep Guardiola’s side, plus an easier run in.

Like it or not: the title is Liverpool’s to lose.

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