Liverpool FC came from a goal down to win an exciting battle with the Foxes on their last outing of 2017.
Klopp made a couple of changes with Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Milner and Mane coming in for Mignolet, Trent, Klavan, Gini and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Coutinho coming into the midfield, to complete the Fab 4 as Milner partnered Can in midfield. The Foxes played Gray off Vardy with Albrighton and Mahrez wide. Two towers in midfield in Iborra and Ndidi with the usual suspects in defense.
The Reds had a horrible start when Matip under hit a pass to Can, which lead to him losing a 50/50 challenge with Iborra, the Spaniard recovered quickly to find Mahrez who fed Vardy for the finish. 1-0 Foxes.
Liverpool soon found their feet and started to create chances. Neat play gets Mane in behind down the left, he finds Salah who creates space with a majestic first touch but as Schmeichel falls the wrong way, Salah puts it wide. Minutes later Milner puts Salah through with a ball that was slightly over hit which allowed Maguire to recover to block the shot. Milner lost a chance to a 50/50 ball to Schmeichel after a lucky bounce and after good play Robertson played a delightful ball to Mane who finishes from an offside position. Salah then gets put through on the inside right channel by Firmino. He draws the keeper but his clipped shot is over hit. The frustrated Red’s were turning up the heat, but the Foxes maintained their lead at the break.
After a long throw from Fuch’s Karius shows his presence with a proactive catch and throw to Salah for the counter. He wins a throw in (which could have gone the other way), Firmino to Can who puts in a nice weighted ball to Mane in a congested area in front of the box, he heels a pass to Salah. Salah is ball side of Fuchs, shrugs him off, draws Amartey as he cuts in and laces the equalizer between Schmeichel’s legs. 1-1 in the 57th minute.
In one of many good counters Vardy is played down the inside left, he cuts in and has a shot blocked by Matip, moments later Liverpool counter and Phil puts Salah through who cannot keep his lob down as the keeper approached.
Coutinho was quiet at times but turned it on as he put a lovely chipped pass over the Foxes back-line to find a Mane to score, but again was called offside. Ndidi hit a beautiful half-volley after picking up the scraps from another long throw from Fuch’s.
With the game well into the last quarter, Milner moved forward in the space left by Firmino who came deep, he neatly flicks the ball on to Salah who has Maguire all over him. He rolls him with some effort and is in on goal, he gives the keeper the eyes and smashes the shot near post. Liverpool are ahead and Salah is the man again.
The Foxes then went direct and caused some nervous moments, but ultimately the Reds held on to close the year with a win.
Salah joins Roger Hunt on 23 goals in all competitions which equals a record for goals by New Year. That was 55 years ago. Keegan, Toshack, Rush, Dalglish, Aldridge, Barnes, Fowler, Owen, Torres, Suarez, Sturridge. None of them have done this. The Egyptian is in staggering form and on top of that, he is also missing chances, this can get better.
After United dropped points, Liverpool are four points from Chelsea in 2nd and 15 games unbeaten. With an interesting January transfer window and Liverpool already having bagged Van Dijk, the Reds have loads to look forward to in 2018. It starts with a trip to the surprise package of the season in Sean Dyche’s Burnley om New Year’s day. The Red’s will have to bring their best again as the busy festive period nears its end.