How many times have we said “Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller” in recent years?
Just to confirm, the score was Leicester 2, Liverpool 3. Or should that read Mr Hyde 2, Dr Jekyll 3. Make no mistake, this was another Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Reds. Fabulous football on so many occasions during the game. But then, looking so fragile at the back on so many others.
For the neutrals, so many games involving Liverpool are like footballing gold. So much to see, end to end football, goals aplenty, incidents galore….you name it. Liverpool games are very rarely dull. Mind you though the excitement isn’t only down to Liverpool. It takes two to Tango as they say. Or, quite often, it has been three parties involved in the drama unfolding on the pitch. Liverpool, their opponents and the match officials.
As many Liverpool fans will testify however, we would rather not be the neutral fan’s footballing elixir. The nerves are constantly jangling during these type of games. How many of us are old enough to remember watching the early days of Doctor Who on a Saturday evening? Whenever the Daleks were on many viewers would hold a cushion up to cover their eyes, or hide behind the settee. At times watching Liverpool is a bit like this. Especially when our opponents get a set piece.
So, what of the game itself.
Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller
Four days earlier, The Foxes won 2-0 in the Carabao Cup third-round meeting on Tuesday. However, the Reds were determined to exact revenge in this return fixture. And exact revenge they did.
So much was said about Philippe Coutinho’s “will, won’t he” move to Barcelona in the summer. This game epitomised why Liverpool fought so hard to keep him. As well as scoring a trademark brilliant free-kick, Coutinho also set up Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s first. All in all his contribution throughout was immense. Does Liverpool’s season start here?
At 2-0 up, Liverpool seemed to be coasting. But, not for the first time, the Reds were undone by a set piece. Just before the break, Shinji Okazaki (who also scored in the Carabao Cup-Tie) prodded home from close range. This strike served to give Leicester hope for a second half onslaught. His goal however was touched with some controversy. Was Vardy fouled in the first place by Matip? From the resulting free-kick, Simon Mignolet pulled off a stunning save to deny Vardy. When the corner came in, did Okazaki foul Mignolet before poking home?
Second Half Drama
Instead of coming out for the second half in the commanding position of a two goal lead, Liverpool knew the second half took on a totally different complexion after Okazaki’s goal.a frantic five-minute spell in the second half saw the balance of the game fluctuate dramatically.
A particular five minute spell in the second half saw the game fluctuate considerably.
In the 68th minute Jordan Henderson netted from a quality Liverpool counter attack. This made the score 3-1 and seemingly seemed to secure the points. However, a minute later Leicester responded when Vardy stooped to head into an empty net. Simon Mignolet only managed to push Demarai Gray’s shot into his path and Vardy did the rest.
Many of the doomsayers on the forums were so quick to blame Mignolet. But these same doomsayers never have anything good to say about anyone or anything connected to the Club. So, if I were you I wouldn’t take too much notice of those. Visit the forums and you will soon see who the permanent doomsayers are.
For me, the biggest problem was the amount of room given to Gray in the first place. Mignolet’s subsequent save was an instinctive one. The ball could have gone anywhere. Unfortunately it fell to Vardy.
A few minutes later, Vardy then earned a penalty when he was brought down by Mignolet. Fair do’s to Mignolet though, he did his homework. The Belgian brilliantly kept out the England striker’s spot-kick as he followed his usual tactic of going straight down the middle.
Mignolet Decision Making
There may have been a case for Mignolet to get a red card when he brought Vardy down. What was more puzzling for me however was why didn’t Mignolet dive on the ball and smother it instead of trying to kick it away. The ball played through was from a Leicester boot so he could have picked it up. Strange decision to try and kick it I thought.
Liverpool Survive Leicester’s Search For Equaliser
From then on to the end of the game, Liverpool did have to survive a few further scares. They held on however for a timely victory after a poor run of form. The much needed win moved Jurgen Klopp’s side up to fifth in the table.
Leicester however remain just above the relegation zone with only the one win and one draw from their opening seven matches.
Coutinho’s Return To Form
There were so many Liverpool fans who were resigned to not seeing Coutinho in a red shirt again. His untimely transfer request seemed that he was heading out of the Club. The request did not endear him to the fans either.
Luckily for Liverpool fans, the Club would not agree to a move at any price. On this, his second Premier League start of the season, he showed the crucial role he still has to play for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
He was again a constant threat to Leicester. It was his deep cross from the edge of the box that enabled summer signing Salah to head in at the far post.
A few minutes later, Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel had no chance of stopping the Brazilian’s brilliant free-kick. Coutinho bent it beautifully around the wall and into the corner of the net.
It was hoped that Coutinho’s excellent first-half performance would be the main talking point at half time. However, as so often in the past, a Liverpool team that struggles to defend with any conviction, there was even more drama to follow.
Liverpool Hold On For Much Needed Victory
Dropping points from a winning position has become worryingly familiar for Liverpool. Before this game, Liverpool had lost an incredible 20 points from winning positions since the start of last season. In addition we were playing against one of the constant thorns in our side over recent years – Jamie Vardy.
In the last four games, the England striker has scored six goals against our porous defence. If his penalty had been converted he would have arguably become Liverpool’s biggest bogeyman. Maybe he is already.
Another breathless game involving Liverpool. As this article heading says, “Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller” How many more times will see this headline this season?
Here is how the Match Of The day pundits analysed the game…..not sure about the rest of you but I think Danny Murphy is an excellent pundit.