Officially the best club football team in the world, Liverpool delivered a Boxing Day performance worthy of that title. If, at times, Liverpool have been more functional than fantastic this season, today showcased just how good this side can be.
Defensively the Anfield club denied second-placed Leicester a single shot on target. In midfield, it was a red shirt first to every loose ball. In attack — well, if Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané had produced to their peaks, Liverpool could have scored six or seven.
As it was, the third member of their frontline — Roberto Firmino — opened the scoring, heading home an unbelievable centre from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Jürgen Klopp’s side had been dominating early proceedings, and should have been two goals up before half-time. Both Salah and Mané were guilty of wasting opportunities.
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After the break, chances continued to fall, but it was only once James Milner and Divock Origi were brought on as substitutes that the Leicester defence caved. Ex-England international Milner doubled the Reds’ lead with a penalty, after Caglar Söyüncü was adjudged to have handballed from a corner. A brilliant spot by the Premier League’s best referee Michael Oliver, who had a terrific evening.
Alexander-Arnold then again turned provider for Firmino, the Brazilian taking a delightful touch before firing into the Foxes’ top corner. And it was the Liverpool right-back who completed his side’s rout, clinically driving home a fourth from the edge of the Leicester penalty area.
Liverpool have steamrolled their way through the Premier League this season, but today they steamrolled their way through their closest challengers. An exceptional performance.
Here are your ratings:
Ali 7 — Hard to know what to rate him as the Brazilian kept a priceless clean sheet, but never needed to make a save.
Trent 9.5 — I cannot even begin to explain what Trent’s performance was. There is no-one in world football who can whip a football as cleanly. Man of the match.
JoGo 8.5 — Looks to be back in the groove that he found last season in a defence which was on track to be the Premier League’s best ever.
Big Virg 8.5 — Defensively flawless and proceeded to knock three or four 80-yard passes straight to Liverpool feet.
Robbo 8.5 — Unlucky to not get himself an assist, and was up against Leicester’s best player on the night in Ricardo Pereira, with whom the Scot tussled brilliantly.
Gini 8 — As the game ticked on, Wijnaldum’s influence grew. Come the end the Dutchman was regaining possession almost every minute.
Hendo 9 — Absolutely brilliant central midfield performance. Jordan Henderson is in sensational form and did absolutely everything today. Was on track for my man of the match ‘trophy’ until his knock and Trent’s goal.
Naby 8 — Very unlucky to be substituted, having been one of the best players on the pitch during the first forty-five. Naby Keïta has arrived as a Liverpool player.
Mo 6 — Frustrated throughout, and seemed disappointed to be substituted — but it was deserved.
Bobby 8.5 — The Brazilian’s best performance since September. World Club Cup goals seem to have given Bobby his mojo back. Brilliantly taken brace.
Sadio 7 — Missed a very good opportunity mid-way through the first half and will feel he should have scored at least one, but the Senegalese tormented Leicester’s defence at times.
Milly 7 — Scored the penalty with his first touch. Perfect substitution?
Divvy 7 — Arguably offered more than Salah.
La La Land 6.5 — Took approximately thirty seconds to produce a Cruyff turn. Vintage.