Rodgers left frustrated at Leicester's failure to hang on
Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers was left frustrated at how Leicester City failed to see out what would have been a valuable win against Liverpool and maintain an avenue towards more silverware for the club. Leicester hadn’t won at Anfield since 2000 and they may never get a better chance.

The visitors took full advantage of the 10 alterations to Liverpool’s starting lineup and went 2-0 ahead thanks to a Jamie Vardy double. Even when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled a goal back, James Maddison countered it with a stunning strike. It was when Jurgen Klopp made half-time changes that the reinforcements told as Liverpool turned the tide.

Diogo Jota set up a tense finale with Takumi Minamino scoring a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser to take the tie to penalties. Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand missed their spot-kicks leaving Jota to convert and send Liverpool through by the narrowest of margins.

First half we were excellent and looked a real threat,” said the former Liverpool manager, who has not yet won at Anfield as a visiting manager. "To come to Anfield and score three goals, we really should have got four or five.

Defensively you know you are going to have to suffer at times with the quality they have. In the second half we threw everything at it and it just looked at the end we were going to get through. To concede in the 95th minute I was so disappointed for the players, they put so much into the game.”

'Injuries led to change in structure'

Leicester, who were playing their first game in 10 days due to a Covid-enforced break, had to contend with injuries which made their fighting performance all the more impressive. The visitors were without Harvey Barnes and were forced to field central midfielder Wilfred Ndidi as a centre back. They went on to lose Ricardo Peirera and Caglar Soyuncu to knocks.

You saw in the second half the injuries we picked up, we had to change the structure of the team,” said Rodgers, who also revealed Vardy played the last half-hour with a tight hamstring which prevented him taking a penalty.

Rodgers’ team switched to a three-man defence and sat deeper as Liverpool mounted growing pressure in the second half. However, the manager didn’t believe that they invited their opponents on by becoming more defensive.

"No, we had a right winger as a right-back, we had a midfield player at the back, and then the strength of Jannik [Vestergaard] is different to the strength of Soyuncu, it was going to be challenge,” he said.

When we lost Soyuncu, and we couldn't go into a back four. That was difficult. We fought them off heroically in terms of how the guys fought but didn’t quite have enough to see it through. Wilf was outstanding but mistimed his jump. We were always going to be under pressure."

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