Soccer  

Nunez helps Liverpool push Leicester past the limit

Liverpool cut the gap to the Premier League’s top four to just two points after they secured a 2-1 win over Leicester City at Anfield on Friday night.

The Reds started from the back foot after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall breezed through the heart of the defence and produced a cool finish past Alisson just four minutes in. The hosts were frustrated for the majority of the first half, but the home side restored parity when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross was diverted into the goal by Wout Faes, who didn’t hear the calls of goalkeeper Danny Ward to leave it. The end to the half got worse for the 24-year-old Leicester defender after he registered a second own-goal in calamitous fashion, this time failing to clear Darwin Nunez’s effort that came back off the post.

The Foxes struggled to create any meaningful opportunities as they faced a battle to find a way past Liverpool’s high line, which caught out the visitors on a number of occasions. Their guests’ stumbles allowed Liverpool to hold on to three vital points.

Positives

Liverpool found a way to win despite a poor start to the game, and they have now cut the distance to the top four to just two points.

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Negatives

Leicester’s goal was too easy from a defensive point of view, as a long goal kick turned into a clear-cut chance. The Reds will also be anxious as they wait to see whether Andy Robertson will face some time on the sidelines after being forced to come off just past the hour mark.

Manager rating out of 10

Jurgen Klopp, 7 — Took no chances after signs of a Robertson injury and managed the game well. Liverpool didn’t panic after going a goal down, although the manager will be disappointed by the goal his defence conceded.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 6 — Unfortunate to concede the first goal after some sloppy defending by those in front of him, presenting a difficult chance for him to deal with. Aside from that, was quick off his line to collect passes in behind his side’s line.

DF Andy Robertson, 5 — The Scotland international had space on the left flank but didn’t utilise it often enough to his normal standards. A careless pass in the first half almost presented Leicester with a big chance before Thiago intervened.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Van DIjk was quick to anticipate danger and looked assured in isolated situations, capitalising on mistakes to regain possession.

DF Joel Matip, 6 — Passed the ball into the midfield areas impressively and didn’t take any chances with his defending. A composed display from the 31-year-old.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 — A vital intervention at the back post kept the deficit to one goal after Jamie Vardy’s dangerous cross. The right-back played a part in the equaliser, too, when his cross was redirected into the goal. Defended well throughout the game.

MF Jordan Henderson, 5 — Too many poor passes from the Liverpool captain saw him turn over possession in moments without pressure. Looked disorganised for the first goal. Came close to converting a volley that glanced past the post.

MF Thiago, 8 — Liverpool’s brightest player in midfield. Thiago was in impressive form on the night as he consistently made the right decision, and he was able to help control proceedings in the engine room.

MF Harvey Elliott, 6 — Played with intent when on the ball and looked to drive toward the opposition defence. A positive display from Elliott, who was deployed further forward when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted just past the hour mark.

FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Took up promising positions but couldn’t make an impact on the game.

FW Darwin Nunez, 7 — Dangerous when involved and was unlucky to not get onto the scoresheet. Leicester struggled to deal with the Uruguay international, who was pivotal for Liverpool’s second goal. Could have had an assist, too, after creating a key chance for Salah.

FW Mohamed Salah, 6 — Salah enjoyed positive moments of link up play with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nunez, but he has to do much better with his finish after sliding the ball past the post in the 53rd minute.

Substitutes

DF Kostas Tsimikas, 6 — Almost punished after failing to track Kelechi Iheanacho’s run in behind, but it was an otherwise assured performance from the Greece left-back.

MF Naby Keita, 6 — Maintained Liverpool’s press from midfield and almost picked up an assist with an excellent pass to Nunez, who blazed over the bar.

DF Joe Gomez, N/R — Introduced for Alexander-Arnold, with Liverpool looking to see out the game.

MF Stefan Bajcetic, N/R — Replaced Elliott after the latter sustained a knock in the final five minutes.