Leicester 1 – 2 Liverpool

Another Hard Fought Win

Liverpool again failed to produce a top-drawer performance, but still managed to achieve a gritty win.

Liverpool’s attack didn’t click regularly and the midfield organisation was erratic; fortunately though, the backline was mostly solid baring one glaring mistake.

Alisson’s horror moment was made less relevant by Mane’s opener and Firmino’s header, but the Reds will need to regroup and step up a gear after the international break.

Player Ratings

Alisson – 5:

Alisson produced several strong saves and pressure-relieving passes throughout the match, but ultimately, all of that was overshadowed by one moment of madness.

Alisson tried to dribble his way out of trouble and gifted possession to Iheanacho when a simple clearance was needed. Alisson accepted responsibility for the mistake though and assured fans that he won’t be making the same mistake in the future.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6:

Trent was targeted throughout the game by the Leicester attack, and while they did find some joy against him, he wasn’t supported enough by his teammates.

It’s a shame Trent has to travel with the England squad because he could use some more time on the training pitch.

Joe Gomez – 9:

This was propbably Joe’s best performance in his career, easily dealing with the pacy Demarai Gray, whilst covering his more experienced partner to produce an outstanding block against James Maddison.

His ability on the ball flew under the radar due to his defensive display, but he was able to retain possession consistently despite being put under pressure.

Virgil van Dijk – 6:

A bit of complacency has started to creep into VVD’s game, at times he was far too casual with and without the ball.

Most importantly, he almost let Maddison in to level the scores, and was partially at fault for the Alisson fiasco after misplacing a back pass wide of the goalkeeper.

Andy Robertson – 7:

Robbo’s linkup play for Mane’s goal was simply outstanding. Cutting in from the left, exchanging a flurry of short-passes and bursting through the back-line before laying it off.

To top his week off, he was made captain of the Scottish national side, fully deserved for a world-class competitor.

Jordan Henderson – 5:

Simply put, Liverpool’s skipper was not good enough, and the fact that the team’s passing and possession stats spiked after he was withdrawn speaks volumes.

Many fans didn’t notice that Hendo put both Gomez and VVD under pressure in the build up to Leicester’s goal by passing to them when they were surrounded despite the fact that Milner was free and calling for the ball.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6:

Gini moved back up into a more advanced role to accommodate Hendo’s inclusion, and his versatility was certainly on show.

His performance didn’t reach the heights of previous weeks, but he was reliable when called upon at both ends of the pitch.

James Milner – 6:

Milner was a victim of the shift in dynamics in the midfield; his own performance was fine but he suffered from being overrun due to the uncertainty and disorganisation around him.

Despite this, he notched another assist after delivering a tantalising cross into the path of Firmino.

Sadio Mane – 8:

Mane was a constant threat to Leicester’s defence and was rewarded with the opening goal.

His pressing was equally impressive and there’s no doubt that if Salah and Firmino start playing to his level, then last season’s achievements can be improved upon.

Mo Salah – 6:

Salah missed a glorious chance early on which set the tone for the performance that followed.

Although he’s being targeted more, Liverpool fan’s will be hoping that Salah can come back stronger after the international break.

Bobby Firmino – 7:

This was Firmino’s best performance of the new season as he too is slowly rediscovering his form of last season.

Off the ball, the Brazillian is better than anyone in the league, he just needs to dust off the cobwebs on the ball to get back to his best.

Subs

Xheridan Shaqiri – (on for Salah 70′) 7:

Shaq came on and helped see out the game with some intelligent decisions in vital moments.

Naby Keita – (on for Henderson 70′) 6:

His best contribution was his energy; in hindsight he should’ve started the game to exploit the half-spaces between Leicester’s defence and midfield.

Joel Matip – (on for Alexander-Arnold 89′) N/A:

Not enough time to make an impact.

Unused Subs – Mignolet, Moreno, Lallana, Sturridge

Jurgen Klopp – 5:

Taking Keita out of the starting lineup for Hendo was a bizarre decision. The midfield has been one of the bright points this season and didn’t need tweaking – certainly not in this game where dynamism was desperately needed.

Klopp didn’t help matters by waiting until the 70th minute to address the issue, but ultimately made the right call by bringing on Shaqiri and Keita instead of more conservative options that were available.

Front Three Still Scoring

Fans and pundits have rightly commented on the fact that Liverpool’s scintillating attack has yet to reach the heights of last season.

However, it is equally undeniable that despite their sub-par performances overall, they’ve still been scoring and winning matches.

Ultimately that is what matters most and it makes you wonder what they’ll be like when they do start playing better as a unit.

Winning Ugly

It’s an often repeated cliche, but it’s true, the best teams find a way to win even when they’re playing at their worst. Unfortunetly this cliche rarely used to apply to the Reds.

Liverpool have been far from outstanding in any of their first four games, and yet for the first time ever in the Premier League, they’ve taken maximum points from those fixtures.

Manchester City have arguably played better, yet they drew with Wolves and nearly did the same against Newcastle. Long may this very un-Liverpool trend continue.

Good Time for a Break?

Given the fact that we’re not playing well, it’d be easy to assume that the international break has come at a good time.

However, most of our players will be travelling with their national sides when we badly needed them on the training pitch working together to improve performances.

They’ll return to what could be the most important period of the season with games against Tottenham, PSG, Southampton, Chelsea, Chelsea again, then Napoli and Manchester City on the horizon.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 04/09/2018

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Leicester vs Liverpool – Preview

Final Game Before the International Break

After three wins on the bounce, Liverpool will be looking to make it 12 points from 12 as they travel away to Leicester.

Even with a couple of key absences the Foxes are a difficult opponent who are known for stealing scrappy wins and draws.

It’s up to the Reds to be more clinical than last week against Brighton because it’s far more difficult to defend a narrow lead away from home.

Leicester

Team News and Predicted Lineup

liveleilei.jpg

The big news out of Leicester is the Jamie Vardy will miss the game through suspension, along with a couple of injuries to fringe players.

Vardy’s absence could change the dynamics of the game and Leicester could look to sit deeper because of it. However, both James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira have had excellent starts to the season and should not be overlooked.

Leicester could be vulnerable down the right side of their defence; Mane should has the pace and ability that could give Wes Morgan and Daniel Amartey nightmares.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineups

livlei.jpg

Klopp will almost certainly stick with the same lineup that he has chose for the previous three fixtures.

However, some might argue that given the considerable threat that Harry Maguire poses in the air that one or both of Fabinho or Matip should start in place of Gini or Gomez respectively.

Whatever the case, Liverpool must be ready to adapt to whatever game plan Leicester chose to employ for this match and hit them hard with our pace and quality.

Pre-Game Analysis

Leicester have had a strong start to the season. They narrowly and unfortunately lost to Manchester United, impressively best Wolves, and then were able to fight their way to victory after a tough day in Southampton.

Aside from Maddison and Pereira, Papy Mendy has been playing well in midfield, but his partnership with Wilfried Ndidi will be tested by Liverpool’s midfield trio who have been outstanding.

However, Leicester are not particularly strong at the back, and so long as at least one of Liverpool’s front three show up, it should be enough to see a couple of goals hit the back of the net.

Prediction

Despite this, the result is far from a forgone conclusion and Leicester will be confident of a result, especially given the danger they possess from set-pieces along with Liverpool’s perceived frailty in that department.

Whoever scores the first goal will give their team a big advantage in this type of game, and so long as the defence and goalkeeper maintain their form, that team should be the Reds.

It will be tough and there will be some nervy moments, but Liverpool will head into the international break as 2-0 winners.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 25/08/2018

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Liverpool 1 – 0 Brighton

A Win’s a Win

Brighton at home should’ve been one of the most comfortable fixtures of the season on paper, but the Reds made harder work of it than needed.

Full credit to Brighton for putting up a strong fight as they tried to repeat their performance from the previous week against Manchester United, but Liverpool should’ve waltzed to victory instead of battling for it.

In all fairness if the goalkeeper didn’t have such a good game and our finishing was on point, the scoreline could’ve been far greater.

Player Ratings

Alisson – 8:

Alisson started the game as he finished the last, calm and in control. He even had the confidence to chip an oncoming attacker, but later he almost got caught out trying to be cheeky again.

A couple of good saves throughout the game including a wonder save to deny Pascal Gross late on would have been as relieving for his teammates as it was for the fans.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7:

Trent’s starting to get there, and hjis display against Brighton was a small reminder of what he’s capable of.

An amazing cross-field pass followed by a shot that rattled the crossbar combined with a solid defensive performance is why Clyne can’t get back into the team.

Joe Gomez – 8:

Many fans questioned Klopp’s decision to throw Gomez in the deep end by immediately starting him at centre back, but Joe’s been getting better and better.

His presence was felt even more than his partner VVD, which takes some doing. Their partnership is well and truly progressing.

Virgil van Dijk – 6.5:

By VVD’s standards, this was far from his best performance.

One under-hit backpass aside, he didn’t do a lot wrong, he just wasn’t as influential as we expect him to be.

Andy Robertson – 7.5:

You could practically copy and paste the comments about Robbo for every game.

He was a constant outlet down the left and left very few scraps for the opposition to feed on. Well and truly one of the most consistent performers at the club.

Gini Wijnaldum – 8:

Gini is looking undroppable at this moment.

He controlled the game excellently and clearly understands the role that Klopp wants him to play to a tee. That aspect in particular appears to be the main reason Fabinho hasn’t featured yet.

James Milner – 9 (Man of the Match):

Before the season started, many wondered how close Milner was to retirement, but incredibly he appears to still be improving.

Milner was everywhere against Brighton and it paid dividends as he dispossessed Yves Bissouma, leading to Salah’s goal.

Naby Keita – 6.5:

As talented as Keita clearly is, he has some ways to go before his is fully up to speed with Klopp’s system.

His passing and dribbling was just a beat off at times and he faded badly as the game went on.

Mo Salah – 6.5:

Again the match-winner, again below par.

Salah is still miles away from the player who exploded into the Premier League last season, but he’s still scoring goals and winning games so it’s difficult to complain.

Sadio Mane – 6:

Unlike Salah, Mane has been one of our best performers so far this season, but he had a bad day against Brighton.

He just couldn’t quite find the right pass or make the right run throughout the game, but there’s no reason to worry about it carrying on for too much longer.

Bobby Firmino – 6.5:

What a world we live in when our mighty front three are the worst performers in a home victory.

Much like Salah, Bobby needs time to get back to his best, it is also clear that teams are targeting him more now than ever before.

Subs

Jordan Henderson – (on for Keita ’66) 7:

Hendo again came on to secure the result and he did so faultlessly.

Daniel Sturridge – (on for Mane ’79) N/A:

No time to make an impact.

Joel Matip – (on for TAA -89) N/A:

No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs – Mignolet, Moreno, Lallana, Shaqiri

Jurgen Klopp – 7:

The best thing that can be said about Klopp in this game was that it was further evidence of the winning mentality that he has slowly built into his team.

He didn’t get the best out of them in this game, but the three points is really all that matters in the end.

Talking Points

Aching Attack

It should’ve been expected that it would take time for Bobby, Mo and Mane to replicate their unbeleivable form of last season.

However, many fans would’ve hoped that Brighton at home would’ve been the perfect game for everything to click back into gear, it wasn’t to be though.

Regardless, Liverpool’s perfect start to the season rolls on and you have to wonder what the team will look like when everything’s running at top gear.

Rotation and Consistency

Klopp’s been fortunate enough to pick the same team for three weeks running, something which always helps consistency.

However, Brighton at home should’ve been an oppertunity for the likes of Sturridge, Shaqiri and Fabinho to show their qualities.

It also would’ve had the double effect of giving some other players a rest before the upcoming international break where players tend to get knocked around by long-distance travel and sub-par pitches.

City Drop Points

Equally important to Liverpool’s win was Manchester City drawing, and almost losing to, Wolves.

Of course it’s far too early to have any real effect on the title race, but it surely will give the Reds a confidence boost and show the rest of the league that there are chinks in City’s armour if you’re brave enough to look for them.

Elsewhere, Chelsea and Tottenham are showing their credentials as dark horses, but you’d think that by May they’ll be fighting for 3rd and 4th, not silverware.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 01/09/2018

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