Liverpool 3-0 Leicester City: Liverpool comfortably dispatch of Foxes
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Fabinho of Liverpool battles for possession with James Justin of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield on November 22, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool  broke yet another record at Anfield on Sunday night as they went 64 straight home Premier League  games unbeaten with a comfortable win against Leicester City to go level on points with league leaders Tottenham Hotspur.

The Reds were in control from the off and after inflicting heavy pressure on the away side, took the lead in the 21st minute from a Jonny Evans own goal. One goal became two for the reigning champions just four minutes before half-time as Diogo Jota scored with a well-timed header to put Liverpool in the driving seat.

The home side never looked like losing and with 86 minutes on the clock, Roberto Firmino made sure of the points with a fantastic header from James Milner's in-swinging corner to wrap up the win for the hosts.

Embed from Getty Images

Story of the match

First-half cruise

It took less than two minutes for the first chance of the game to fall to the home side after Sadio Mane's glancing header found the side-netting from a corner after Naby Keita's initial blocked effort.

Jurgen Klopp's side controlled the possession in the opening 10 minutes and were presented with another opportunity as Curtis Jones found space following some tidy build-up play by Liverpool, however his shot was comfortably dealt with by Kasper Schmeichel.

Jota has had previous history against Leicester - having scored a hat-trick for his former club Wolverhampton Wanderers - and looked to be the thorn in the Foxes' side once again with a fierce effort from the edge of the box, but Schmeichel was once again equal to the pressure from the hosts.

The Liverpool attack had been on the front foot for a large part of the first 20 minutes and were duly rewarded, however it would be a Leicester player who would help gift them the lead.

A corner into the box caused panic amongst the Leicester defence and deflected off Northern Irishman Evans to give the Reds a well-deserved lead in Merseyside.

Embed from Getty Images

Jota puts Liverpool in control

Brendan Rodgers' side almost found an instant equaliser after a mazy run from Wesley Fofana saw him release Jamie Vardy down the left-hand side, who was able to cut back for the on-rushing Harvey Barnes however his effort flashed wide of the post.

Set-pieces were causing the away side several problems and they almost fell two behind in the 25th minute as Joel Matip met a corner with a strong headed effort which flew over the bar.

Matip's height was proving a useful asset in the opposition box and once again found space in the 31st minute after Andy Robertson's  free-kick to the back post landed at the head of the former Cameroon International. His floating header almost found Firmino who couldn't stop the ball from going out of play.

Despite Liverpool's dominance, the visitors were still able to conjure some chances up - with James Justin coming close with a curling effort after the wing-back cut in onto his right foot before his shot just went wide of the post.

Brendan Rodgers would have been hoping that his side could find a way back but it would be the hosts who would strike again through revolutionary striker Jota who doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

At teasing ball in from Scotland captain Robertson found the run of the 23-year-old who was able to guide his header past Schmeichel, making him the first Liverpool player to score in each of his first four top-flight appearances for the club.

Embed from Getty Images

Reds secure record through Firmino

Liverpool's injury list sparked huge debate in the run up to the fixture and even though there was plenty to smile about for manager Klopp, the start of the second-half would have brought some concern. Midifelder Naby Keita had to be replaced by youngster Neco Williams after the 25-year-old was substituted due to a suspected muscle-based injury.

The small disruption didn't harm the home side as Sadio Mane pounced on young defender Fofana's mistimed tackle to go through one-on-one however Leicester captain Schmeichel was able to deny the Reds' number 10 with a strong left-handed save.

Pressure was mounting on the Foxes backline and after Schmeichel denied Jota adding his second and the hosts' third, a ricochet in the box then followed however Leicester were able to get the ball away to prevent further damage to the scoreline.

Liverpool had the chance to absolutely make sure of the points in the 76th minute after Firmino evaded a poorly-timed challenge from youngster Fofana and looked certain to make it three. His effort however came off the post and bounced back off the Brazilian and was cleared off the line in time by Marc Albrighton. 

Mane then couldn't finish on the follow up and to Leicester's relief, the ball fell into the hands of keeper Schmeichel.

With four minutes left of the game, Firmino finally found the back of the net after he rose highest from James Milner's corner to give Liverpool a deserved victory.

Embed from Getty Images

Takeaways

Strength in depth reflected on either side 

Both sides have struggled with injuries this season, however it was clear to see Liverpool's strength in depth.

With Fabinho deputising at centre-back whilst James Milner showed his versatility - playing as both a right-back and central midfielder at Anfield - the league leaders were too good on the night for Leicester who for the first time this season looked like a side missing their key players.
 

First Real test for Fofana

Since his summer arrival from Saint Etienne, Wesley Fofana has received nothing but praise for his ability to slot into the Leicester defence as if he had played their for years already, but the Liverpool attack gave the 19-year-old his first real test of his Foxes career.

The French Under-21 centre-back found it difficult to cope with the aggressive attacking line of the hosts and committed several fouls throughout the course of the game, whilst also missing chances to intercept the ball, allowing the devastating Mane numerous chances to run through on goal.

One performance however doesn't reflect Fofana's talent and in what was arguably his toughest test so far, he will learn a lot and no doubt improve on what has been overall, a positive start.

VAVEL Logo