Liverpool continued their perfect start to the season, with James Milner and Sadio Mane starring in their 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.
A tight first half saw chances coming few and far between, although Liverpool should have taken the lead much before Sadio Mane broke the deadlock in the 40th minute, with James Milner and Roberto Firmino missing glorious opportunities. The Reds, though, grabbed a well deserved lead through Mane, who calmly finished when sent through on goal by a brilliant Milner pass.
With the lead secured, Liverpool took a stranglehold on the game and should have added to their advantage early in the second half, but for close range misses by Mane and Mohamed Salah. Their profligacy would go on to cost the hosts as Leicester levelled things up through James Maddison after being teed up by Ayoze Perez, although Adrian should have done better to stop the effort.
As the minutes trickled by, it looked as if Liverpool’s perfect start to the Premier League season would come to an end. But, deep into added time, Marc Albrighton fouled Mane in the Leicester box. Up stepped Milner to take the resulting penalty and he made no error in coverting from the spot.
With all three points secured, Liverpool will go into the second international break of the season still perched atop the Premier League table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Possibly playing his final Premier League game of the season, unless injury strikes Alisson Becker once again, Adrian was as assured as ever for much of the game. Made a spectacular save to deny Caglar Soyuncu before the Turk was pulled back for offside.
But, he could have done better to stop James Maddison’s effort. Eight wins in eight in the Premier League for Liverpool; the Spaniard has proven to be a superb deputy for the now-fit Alisson.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8/10
A frustrating game for Alexander-Arnold, who, despite all his efforts, could just not manage an assist in the game. Ought to have had two in quick succession, in fact, if not for some questionable finishing by James Milner and Roberto Firmino. Quite easily Liverpool’s most creative player at the moment.
Dejan Lovren: 7/10
With Joel Matip out injured and Joe Gomez not impressing, Lovren got a rare opportunity. Making his first Premier League appearance of the season, the Croat was unflappable despite Jamie Vardy’s form heading into the game. In fact, so solid was Lovren, that Vardy could not even muster up a shot on target in the game. Has surely usurped Gomez in the pecking order.
Virgil van Dijk: 6/10
Liverpool’s defensive leader was not quite as calamitous as he was against Red Bull Salzburg earlier this week. On the contrary, he was his confident self once again, keeping Maddison at bay for much of the game, and there was no beating him in the air. But, van Dijk was squared up for the Leicester goal, allowing Maddison to drift past him easily before netting the equaliser.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
A usual outing for Robertson, who was constantly an outlet in the final third for Liverpool and was a threat during set-piece situations. Astute in his defensive duties, Harvey Barnes was contained in impressive fashion by the Scot. The only complaint that fans would have is that he is not as consistent with his creative output so far this season.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
With Jordan Henderson not starting, Wijnaldum was deployed on the right side of the midfield three. While he kept things ticking in the middle of the park, the Dutchman was unusually quiet otherwise, making little impact in the final third. Did his bit defensively.
Yet again, Fabinho was dependable in midfield for Liverpool, spraying balls forward towards Robertson and Alexander-Arnold to open play up. Did not shy away from taking his chances and moving forward; also kept Youri Tielemans in check in what was a dominant display throughout. Still has not been on the losing end of a result in the Premier League.
James Milner: 8.5/10
James Milner vs Leicester
2 chances created
7 tackles – most in game
1 94th minute winner
Mr Reliable pic.twitter.com/Av4oPAswrI
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 5, 2019
Surprisingly preferred to Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, Milner produced a fantastic display to vindicate Klopp’s decision. Adventurous pretty much from the get-go, he spurned a great chance to put his side in the lead early on. But, the veteran made amends by splendidly slicing the Leicester defence open to set Mane up for the opener.
Tirelessly worked off the ball to shut the gates on the visitors, kept the tempo of the game high when on the ball. Milner then capped off a fine afternoon by netting from the spot and seal a 17th straight Premier League win for Liverpool. Remains unbeaten whenever he has been on the score sheet – a record-extending 53 times.
Mohamed Salah: 6.5/10
A decent enough performance by Salah, who kept the Leicester defenders on their toes, whether it was from central areas or from his usual right wing berth. Drifted out of the game at times, but should have had a deserved assist for a cheeky flick that released Mane in the second half. Forced off in the second half with an ankle injury that had Klopp seething.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
As industrious as ever, Firmino was ever the dependable figure despite being stuck out on the left side of the Liverpool attack. Even though he was playing from a position he does not favour, the Brazilian managed to link play and find pockets of spaces just as effectively. Unwavering in his consistency no matter where he plays.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
With Klopp switching things up to throw a solid Leicester defence off their game, Mane was the protagonist of a dominant act that left the visitors backpedaling for much of the game. Tormented Ben Chilwell all throughout, but scored from the left flank, beating Soyuncu and Jonny Evans with sheer pace, his 50th goal in the Premier League for Liverpool.
Should have had more goals to his name and if not for some sub-par finishing, he would have had a higher rating point. Won the penalty that ultimately won Liverpool the game, although he copped some flak on social media for being a tad bit dramatic in the way he went down.
Jordan Henderson: N/A
Brought on for Wijnaldum with 12 minutes left in regulation time, Henderson ensured Liveprool’s dominance in the game and was not among the guilty part for the goal Leicester scored.
Divock Origi: N/A
The usual sight of Origi being the attacking change was there to be seen once again. Hardly affected the proceedings after being introduced, however.
Adam Lallana: N/A
On for the injured Salah, Lallana hardly had time to make an impact.