Jamie Vardy is the striker of Jurgen Klopp’s dreams, Claudio Ranieri’s entertainers have staying power and other things we learned from Leicester 2 Liverpool 0
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Vardy is the fox in the box Liverpool need
How Jurgen Klopp wishes he could call upon a striker with the pace, movement and eye for goal that Jamie Vardy possesses. So much of the Merseysiders’ approach play was impressive at the King Power Stadium but the men in red got a nose bleed whenever they got near the Leicester penalty area. Klopp once again filled his attack with midfielders and it showed in the lack of teeth up front. None of them know the way to goal apart from Roberto Firmino, who failed to reproduce his excellent form of recent weeks. It is not difficult to see why Liverpool tried so hard to prise the prolific Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk in the January window. Liverpool’s players are not delivering.
Leicester can last the course
The latest twist in the implausible and unfolding drama that is Leicester’s season was the goal of quite scintillating quality from Vardy that broke the deadlock. Riyad Mahrez and the Englishman have combined to magnificent effect on multiple times this season but never more effectively than at the hour mark, when the Algerian found his team-mate with a pass from deep in his own half that Vardy allowed to bounce once before belting a sensational shot from distance beyond the grasp of Simon Mignolet. For good measure, the Premier League’s top scorer added a second soon afterwards to effectively kill the game. With their main man back to form after a fallow period and the team still top of the pile in February, Leicester are showing they can last the course.
No light at the end of Benteke tunnel
For the sixth time in eight matches, Christian Benteke started on the substitute’s bench and came on in the second half. Despite being the only fit senior striker, the second most expensive player in Liverpool’s history is having to get accustomed to being a Plan B option. In his 23 minutes on the pitch, the Belgian did little to suggest he should be Plan A. He seemed to need one touch too many and was horribly wasteful in possession.
Moreno is under pressure from Smith
The left-back was Liverpool’s key attacking player in the first half as Liverpool targeted the space behind Mahrez. Alberto Moreno, as is his wont, got in some fabulous positions but his delivery was consistently terrible. It is an enduring theme with one of the team’s many frustrating players. Even in such a mediocre Liverpool team, few can veer between good and bad so quickly and so often. With deputy Brad Smith showing such encouraging signs in the cup games, Moreno should be looking nervously over his shoulder.
Lovren’s frailties exposed
Before he fell victim to Liverpool’s hamstring curse, Dejan Lovren strung some decent performances together in December. Back in the Premier League starting line-up, this was a reminder of the frailties of the centre-back. Twice in the early exchanges, the plodding Croatian was exposed by Vardy’s electric pace. Liverpool had been warned and the striker made them pay in the second half with his brilliant double. For the second poacher’s strike, Lovren was once again made to pay for his lack of agility.