Full time: Leicester 2-3 Liverpool
Peep peep! Liverpool just about to deserved to edge a raucous, richly entertaining match between two likeable, flawed teams. Jurgen Klopp grits his teeth in celebration; that’s a big result for him after four games without a win. Thanks for your company, night!
90+2 min Vardy is booked for a foul on Moreno. He has had a storming game; it’s a shame his missed penalty will probably cost Leicester a point.
90 min There will be five additional minutes of high blood pressure in the away end.
88 min Liverpool look relatively comfortable just now but, with the way this match has gone, you’d expect Leicester to get one last chance.
87 min “Liverpool fan here,” says Scott Chesters. “I have no arguments about Mane´s red card but about the penalty; Mignolet challenged for the ball, got the ball, no matter how softly, then the two collided. Can´t see how it is a penalty myself.”
I see what you mean, and it was a slightly confusing incident. Isn’t the argument for a penalty that, after Mignolet miskicked, Vardy would have had an open goal had he not been sent flying?
86 min “Fascinated by Matt Dony’s marriage (70 min),” sniffs Pete Salmon. “So he has to watch Strictly, but can also check the min-by-min? On laptop, full exposure? Or loo every five mins with his mobile? If the latter, I’m as tense for him as I am about the game.”
85 min Wijnaldum misses a decent chance, slicing just wide from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cut-back.
84 min Slimani plants a header just wide from a great cross from Vardy. It wouldn’t have counted because either Slimani or Morgan had been penalised for fouling Matip.
83 min Thias has been a monstrously entertaining game.
82 min Sturridge, with almost no backlift, whips an excellent long-range shot that is palmed around spectacularly by Schmeichel. Sturridge has looked close to his best since coming off the bench.
80 min And now Leicester make their last change: Albrighton off, Islam Slimani on.
79 min Liverpool make their final substitution, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing the pretty wonderful Philippe Coutinho.
76 min Here’s Mac Millings. “Do assure the 70th minute’s Matt Dony that, after a number of full and frank discussions with Mrs. Millings, ‘we’ have not watched any football at all for quite some time, so he has that to look forward to.”
Love is in the air/when Mac Millings is around, doo doo doo doo doo.
75 min Sturridge slips classily past Maguire, comes back on his left foot and shapes a beautiful curler just over the bar from 20 yards. He looks really sharp tonight. By the way, Can was pretty lucky not to concede another penalty for handball moments after Vardy’s kick was saved by Mignolet. There was so much going on that I forget to mention it. So sue me!
74 min Both sides make a change: Milner for Can, Iheanacho for Okazaki. This is pulsating stuff.
MIGNOLET SAVES THE PENALTY!
Vardy smashed it as hard as he could, and Mignolet moved to his right to push it away. He has an outstanding record of saving penalties, and it’s even better now. That said, it was a poor penalty from Vardy – nowhere near the corner, and not straight down the middle.
Mignolet is booked. He’s had a shocker here. He was so flustered by the presence of Vardy that he miskicked the ball completely, and his momentum was such that he then sent Vardy flying. I didn’t think it was a penalty at first but replays show it was a definite penalty.
PENALTY TO LEICESTER!
Mignolet is penalised for a foul on Vardy, and Liverpool are furious again.
70 min “The first 47 minutes or so were very entertaining,” says Matt Dony. “But at half time, I had a full and frank discussion with my wife and, long story short, ‘we’ decided that the Tv would be showing Strictly rather than the second half of the game. So I’m entirely in your hands. Please keep the good news rolling”
GOAL! Leicester 2-3 Liverpool (Vardy 69)
It’s not over yet! Albrighton does brilliantly to beat Gomez down the left and crosses beyond the far post to Gray, who chests the ball up and swishes a spectacular shot towards goal. Mignolet leaps to his right to make an excellent save but Vardy heads the rebound into the empty net. Vardy may have been offside when Gray hit the original shot, I haven’t seen a replay yet.
GOAL! Leicester 1-3 Liverpool (Henderson 67)
Liverpool finish Leicester off with a clinical counter-attack. Maguire sauntered forward from the back, but when he lost the ball Leicester were in trouble. Coutinho and Sturridge combined to find Henderson, who came back inside the recovering Maguire and reversed the ball smartly past Schmeichel.
67 min Coutinho and Salah have shots blocked in quick succession, and then Matip makes a vital block from Vardy, who might have gone down in the area after a challenge from behind.
66 min “Liverpool’s great coup in the transfer window was keeping their best player, who – and I still can’t over this fact – they somehow signed for £8.5 million in the first place,” says Phil Podolsky. Coutinho’s agent must be some California businessman not too conversant with this soccerball nonsense, because it’s always been clear he’s a stunning player.”
Fair point. He looked really good as a teenager when Internazionale beat Gareth Bale 4-3 all those years ago.
65 min Daniel Sturridge replaces Firmino for Liverpool.
64 min Morgan is penalised for shovng Wijnaldum, who then handles the ball in his own area as he goes over. It was a soft foul, but probably the right decision.
62 min A change for Leicester: Mahrez off, Demarai Gray on.
61 min Coutinho’s fierce long-range shot is well blocked by Morgan, and then Firmino – who has been unusually poor today – drives high over the bar.
58 min Leicester have some excellent attacking options on the bench: Slimani, Gray, Iheanacho.
57 min A decent chance for Can, who heads Henderson’s dipping cross over the bar from the corner of the six-yard box. He was under pressure from Simpson, who did enough to ensure Can struggled to get on top of the ball.
56 min Coutinho’s superb dipping corner lands on the head of the off-balance Lovren, who can’t steer it on target. He wants a penalty, having been manhandled by Maguire. Anthony Taylor says no and then books Lovren for dissent. Maguire was certainly holding him, though Lovren was giving plenty back.
54 min Leicester are having a decent period of pressure, with Mahrez starting to look sharp.
53 min It’s been a manic start to the second half, with both teams lacking composure in possession.
52 min “Am I the only person who thinks Klopp is right in not buying bang average defenders,” says Mel Lynam. “Liverpool have enough of those over the years. Dortmund were built on Hummel and Subotic, and a decent holding midfielder. Klopp system demands ball-playing defenders, Keita is the holding midfielder. So for all the Kloppo-out eejits, be patient, I went to BVB v Hertha on a cold Friday night when I thought they were the two worst teams I ever seen, one got relegated (which I support) the other won the next two German titles.”
51 min There have been plenty of emails, only some of them abusive, about the foul by Matip on Vardy that ultimately led to Leicester’s goal. The consensus is:
a) it was a clear block from Matip, and anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand football.
b) it was a clear dive from Vardy, and anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand football.
48 min “Hey Rob,” says JR in Illinois. “I went to the farmer’s market at halftime of the West Ham-Spurs game. I bought some potatoes, red peppers, sweetcorn, and a loaf of bread (whole wheat sourdough). Let’s see if you publish this.”
I’m not too proud to acknowledge another man’s superior eye for edible produce.
47 min Henderson’s cross is headed up in the air by Can and drops to Coutinho, who sidefoots a wobbling volley straight at Schmeichel from the left edge of the box. His technique was beautiful but the shot was too close to the keeper.
47 min “Is some of the Klopp backlash maybe just the media and the public getting tired of their shiny new toy?” says Shaun Wilkinson. “I have always liked him, but his behaviour on the touchline can be obnoxious. Also, he does need to stop speaking as if he has just inherited this team when questioned about its flaws – he has been here two years now. We saw a similar trend with Mourinho, where everyone was gushing when he was arrived but that soon faded. Is it just that the novelty of Klopp in England has begun to wear off at a time when the team is coincidentally having a sticky patch?”
Yeah, I’m sure that’s a factor. It’s all very infantile.
46 min Peep peep! Leicester begin the second half.
Okazaki’s disallowed goal “Have a look again Rob,” says Ricky Gill. “Maguire was offside when the freekick was taken. It doesn’t matter if Okazaki was onside or offside because Maguire was offside in the previous phase of play. Let’s see if you publish this.”
Why wouldn’t I publish it? It’s not a custodial offence to admit being wrong. (And you’re right; I’ve since seen a replay and it was the correct decision.)
Half time: Leicester 1-2 Liverpool
That goal should enliven the second half. Okazaki didn’t do that much to Mignolet but it was a foul. Jordan Henderson was still chuntering to the referee as he left the pitch. See you in 10 minutes for the second half!
Mignolet produced an excellent save to deny Vardy, only to make a mistake from the corner and let Leicester back in the game. Or so it seemed. Mignolet waved haplessly at the corner and got nowhere near it, with the ball rebounding towards goal for Okazaki to stab in from two yards. So far, so familiar – except replays showed that Okazaki was slyly holding Mignolet’s arm when he first tried to come for the corner. You can see why Liverpool are so aggrieved.
GOAL! Leicester 1-2 Liverpool (Okazaki 45+3)
Liverpool are furious about this.
45+2 min Matip is booked for cynically blocking Vardy, who was trying to close down Mignolet just outside the area.
44 min “As a Liverpool fan I’m firmly in the ‘Klopp In’ camp,” says Matt Dony. “Yes, it is frustrating that he didn’t buy a centre half over the summer, BUT he had identified Van Dijk as his ideal target, and initially tried very hard to sign him. Van Dijk wanted to move, and he clearly has a set of qualities that Klopp wants. Yes, there are other defenders around, but Klopp (like all top-level managers) knew exactly what he wanted, and refused to settle. Bearing in mind how the Neymar transfer skewed fees across the continent, any defender who would have been a clear upgrade on Lovren would have probably been in the £35-40m area, and really, does anyone want to see a club they support spend that kind of money on a ‘back-up plan’? Matip is a fine defender, I have hopes for Klavan, things could improve. I’m not saying they definitely will, but it’s not outside the realms of possibility. And then go back for Van Dijk next year.”
I’d love to support a Jurgen Klopp team. I admire his willingness to play the long game with Van Dijk and Keita, though it’s a risky tactic in modern football.
43 min Firmino misses an excellent chance to make it 3-0. Liverpool broke decisively through Coutinho and then Can, who played a simple reverse pass to put Firmino clear on the left side of the box. He went for the first-time shot with his left foot and drove it a few yards wide of the far post.
40 min Okazaki has a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. A free-kick was lumped towards the edge of the area, at which point Okazaki was deliberately in an offside position. By the time it was headed into the area by Maguire, Okazaki was being played onside by Henderson and finished smartly past Mignolet. That counts as a different phase of play and so the goal should have counted.
35 min With a two-goal lead, Liverpool are content to play Leicester at their own counter-attacking game. Leicester are having more of the ball as a consequence, and Chilwell’s dangerous low cross is well claimed by Mignolet.
33 min “Any chance Moreno getting a bang to the head in the foul leading to the goal might knock some sense into him?” says Keith Tucker. “And now he might be able to defend?”
That sounds like a great idea for a David Lynch football film: Twin Peake, in which Coventry defensive stalwart Trevor Peake suffers a blow to the head and starts playing like Jesper Olsen.
32 min Moreno’s long-range shot is blocked by a player in blue, possibly Simpson.
30 min “On Klopp, whilst football is of course ridiculous with its continual crisis mentality, doesn’t he deserve quite a bit of criticism?” says Andrew Hurley. “His football looks great when they are up against those who can’t defend and non-triers (Arsenal), but his failure to either play a striker (to win games they should) or buy a central defender (who can do that thing they’re supposed to, defend) is very strange indeed. His stubbornness doesn’t make much sense.”
Oh definitely. Every manager deserves criticism, even Conte and Pochettino. It’s the tone and extent of the criticism that is so lamentable.
28 min Leicester make a mess of the free-kick. Shakespeare out!
27 min Mahrez slithers through a group of Liverpool defenders and is fouled by Moreno, 30 yards from goal.
24 min Klopp out!
GOAL! Leicester 0-2 Liverpool (Coutinho 23)
Oh yes, yes, yes. Coutinho puts Liverpool 2-0 up, curling a magnificent free-kick over the wall and into the corner. That was nigh-on perfect, an absolutely brilliant goal to go with his excellent cross for Salah’s first.
22 min After a good break from Liverpool, Ndidi is booked for a foul on Moreno 25 yards from goal. The free-kick is in a great position for Coutinho.
18 min This is a very entertaining game. Mignolet, dithering over a backpass, is closed down superbly by Vardy and screws the ball straight to Okazaki 35 yards from goal. He shoots first time and Mignolet, by now outside his area, stretches his left leg to divert the ball behind for a corner.
17 min Albrighton is booked for a foul on Salah.
It was made by Coutinho, who curled a beautiful inswinging cross beyond the far post from just outside the area. Schmeichel was slow to get across his line, perhaps thinking the ball was going out of play, and Salah sneaked behind Chilwell to squeeze a header into the net at the near post. That’s an extremely good header, because the angle was so tight. The cross from Coutinho was a gem.
GOAL! Leicester 0-1 Liverpool (Salah 15)
Mohamed Salah redeems his miss with an excellent goal!
13 min Salah misses a great chance for Liverpool! Emre Can drove an excellent low shot from 25 yards that hit the inside of the far post and rebounded straight to Salah, who clipped it wide from 10 yards. That was a bad miss, because Schmeichel was still on all fours after trying to save Can’s shot. The one mitigating factor is the speed with which it rebounded to Salah. He should have scored though.
12 min “What the hell is Lovren doing?” says Cian McMahon. “Seriously? What is he doing? Terrible passing. Out of position on Vardy’s attack… he will be the bane of us today… mark my words.”
It’s odd as he looked so good at Southampton. See also: Schneiderlin, Morgan; Shaw, Luke; and Chambers, Callum.
11 min Liverpool have had 78 per cent of possession, yet it feels like Leicester have been more threatening.
9 min Leicester look sharp on the counter-attack. Every defence knows what’s coming, but there’s not a lot they can do about it. It all revolves around Vardy, possibly the fastest England forward I’ve ever seen.
6 min The first chance goes to Leicester. Okazaki played a good pass down the left wing to Vardy, who was played onside by Lovren on the other side of the pitch. Matip couldn’t catch him and Vardy made an angled run into the box before curling a shot that was beaten away by Mignolet. The ball bounced up for Mahrez, who came on the blind side of Lovren and clipped the bouncing ball over the bar. That was a deceptively good chance for Mahrez, less so for Vardy because of the tight angle.
4 min These days, erery self-respecting attack needs an acronym these days. Today, Liverpool have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
3 min A quiet start to the game. Liverpool are eight points behind the Manchesters, though a win would take up them to fifth.
1 min Peep peep! Liverpool kick off, from right to left if you like to paint televised pictures in your noggin. There’s an excellent atmosphere.
Another email! Here’s Andrew Hurley. “Wenger (rightly) got criticised for the mess that was Arsenal’s transfers this summer (no midfielder, waiting for last minute to bid properly for Lemar, Sanchez staying/going/staying) but he did very very well, even in this market, to get nearly £40m for Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player given countless chances and who is, despite huge natural talent, frustrating, position-less, often lazy and very little end-product.”
I’m loath to judge that transfer for a couple of years – his current performance level is not worth £40m, I agree, but his potential is worth more. If Klopp can’t get the best out of him, nobody will.
An email! “Is it possible for the Premier League Crisis Baton to pass between players as well as clubs?” says Matt Loten. “If so, I would wager that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be warrant a spell in possession – jumping ship from Arsenal, only to find he can’t even make a Liverpool lineup shorn of Mane, Lallana and, until today, Coutinho. Given that we live in an era when managers can be sacked four games into the season, surely we can call time on Chamberlain’s Liverpool career before the end of September?”
I’m not sure what took you so long, Matt. You need to stop sitting on the fence. This is the age of Sav, not the 1990s.
Leicester (4-4-1-1) Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mahrez, Ndidi, King, Albrighton; Okazaki; Vardy.
Substitutes: Hamer, Fuchs, Amartey, Iborra, Gray, Slimani, Iheanacho.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho.
Substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Solanke.
Referee Anthony Taylor.
Welcome to 27 Days Later, a divisive tale of expectation, premature denunciation and Dejan Lovren. It’s four weeks tomorrow since Liverpool dismantled Arsenal with an exhilarating performance, yet in that short time the mood around Anfield has changed considerably. Liverpool are on a despicable run of FOUR games without a win, and Klopp has become the topic du jour for many an entitled blowhard.
You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve got rid of it. In years to come, Liverpool fans will go a big, rubbery one as they recall the swaggering football played under Klopp. Yet a fair percentage of those same fans are currently aboard a bandwagon to have him sacked. He isn’t perfect, and it’s hard to understand his blind defensive eye, but the anti-Klopp grandstanding is little more than reactionary nonsense in a sport that has lost all contact details for reality, logic and decency.
This evening Liverpool have a tricky match at Leicester, whose ostensibly poor start to the season – four points from five games – should be qualified by the fact they’ve played Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Should. September is no time to judge any football manager, but we know that whoever loses this match will be going straight in the social-media dock.
Kick off is at 5.30pm.
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