By Nathan Brennan- @ NathanBrennan___
Coming into this game away to Leicester City it was arguably Liverpool’s biggest challenge of the season given that the reds have got three wins out of three, with the expectations building to continue that perfect record. These expectations would have placed some extra pressure on the players, especially with it being the early kick-off and the final game before the international break, it would be important to go into the break on a high.
A quick start was important given how against Crystal Palace and Brighton in the last two games the reds were slow out of the traps, and that fast opening definitely came in this game as Roberto Firmino’s effort was saved by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, with Mohamed Salah missing sitter on the follow-up.
Despite missing the chance, Liverpool went on to take the lead courtesy of Sadio Mane rifling low under the Danish keeper from an Andy Robertson pass. As the first-half continued, Leicester grew into the game and put Liverpool under increasing pressure for the remainder of the half, with Klopp’s men consistently losing the battle for the second ball and giving passes away sloppily.
This may well have been down to the pitch being either incredibly dry or the ball not being fully pumped up, it was difficult for the lads to perform the high octane pressing game they are renowned for, and were lucky to finish the first-half two goals up thanks to Alisson’s crucial save against Demarai Gray earlier in the match and most importantly, Firmino’s first goal of the season which will do him the world of good going forward.
It was a dismal performance from the lads, very similar to the first-half where we looked second best in every area of the match. This was encapsulated by the performance of Dutch midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, who continued his record of not performing well in away Premier League matches. The former Newcastle man struggled to stifle Leicesters control in the middle of the park and was guilty of losing possession several times, a far cry from his strong performances so far this season. It was the type of performance that cried out for Naby Keita’s tenaciousness and guile to regain and retain midfield possession.
One positive, however, was our ability to waste time and see out the game at the end of play- the exact type of gamesmanship that has won the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid titles upon titles down the years.
Becker days on the horizon for Alisson
I just thought I’d address this as as soon as I saw Alisson make that mistake. I went onto Twitter and immediately saw people giving him abuse. We’ve asked for a good goalkeeper for so long yet are not willing to let our stoppers off with mistakes. The Brazilian has had three world class games and made a mistake today, that was inconsequential in the end.
Though he shouldn’t have got himself into a position where he needed to take on the striker and should have just got the ball clear, it’s all part and parcel with having a goalkeeper who is avid about playing football with his feet. All top goalkeepers make mistakes at some point, but the difference is their clubs fans support them beyond the mistake, unlike at Liverpool.
Please back Alisson through this, you won’t regret it.
Mo’ needed from Salah
The Egyptian had many chances today to play the ball off to others in better positions that could have resulted in a goal. Instead, he chose the greedy route and it didn’t quite work out for him at the King Power. He had little to no involvement in the second-half also. It was one of the worst performances from Salah I’ve seen in a Liverpool shirt so far. With his undoubted quality, there will be many a better day for Mo.
Overall, it’s four wins out of four, and we sit top of the Premier League going into the first international break. This win against Leicester was massive in terms of importance given the run of fixtures coming up with Spurs, PSG, Southampton, Chelsea back to back and City all lying in wait for Jurgen Klopps reds. The coming fixtures will truly prove if we will be mounting a title challenge this season.