Jurgen Klopp urged his team to play with a bit more intensity after their loss to Watford and the team responded to it with a clinical performance against table toppers Leicester City. The Foxes were outplayed on the night and failed to put any pressure on the home side.
A single goal from Benteke was enough to seal the victory for Liverpool which now sees them move to the 8th position in the table just 5 points away from a European spot. Here are 5 things we learnt from this game:
1. Liverpool defense not brittle:
The last few season, Liverpool were known to give away too many easy goals at crucial times. But this season under Jurgen Klopp, they have looked a far better side at the back. Martin Skrtel who has been at the center of the defense for a long time now missed out in this game to an injury that saw Lovren and Sakho team up at the back for just the sixth time for the club. Their combination has held 4 clean sheets already and showed everyone why it is hard to score against the Red’s in open play. Both players are strong in the air and are good readers of the game. Though set pieces are still an issue, the back line for Liverpool has looked solid all throughout the game.
2. Dejan Lovren revitalized?
It would have been hard to believe just 6 months ago that Dejan Lovren would play out a match against he table toppers and puts in a man of the match performance. Lovren who has been shaky and low on confidence from the first game in a Liverpool shirt has looked superb at the back for Liverpool against the Foxes. He made he most number of passes, most clearances and most blocks on the night and is now an integral part of the back four for Liverpool. It will be interesting to see what Klopp does when Skrtel is fit enough to play.
3. Liverpool don’t need to spend big in January:
The Reds if are able to keep their players fit is one of the stronger squads in the League. The bench for the Leicester’s game consisted of Benteke, Lucas, Allen, Ibe and Toure. It is a legacy to have different kinds of players to call upon when needed but Klopp will not face any such problems. Though the club has suffered some injuries recently (Origi the most recent), they still look a formidable unit and will not need to much of a tweak by the new manager. Klopp has already expressed that his team is strong enough and will most probably not tear into the January market for an overhaul.
4. Ranieri’s side actually has a weakness:
The Foxes who sat at the top of the table coming into this game were beaten just in the season and that by Arsenal. They are a very compact side who know their strengths and weaknesses. They have a particular game plan that they play to, and have been successful so far doing it. However, the game against Liverpool exposed the problems Leicester City have at the moment. Mahrez and Vardy were closely marked by the Liverpool back line which led to a lack of incisiveness in the Leicester game. They failed to dominate the mid-field area and were not able to create enough chances to trouble the opponents. Ranieri will have to address this issue if they actually want to challenge for a top 4 spot this season.
5. Top 4 a realistic chance:
Even as Liverpool had some embarrassing games in the recent past, they are just 5 points away from the European spots in the Premier League table. They have travelled to all the top 7 teams from last season and will play all those games at home. There is a great chance for Liverpool to snatch up a top 4 spot especially with the problems clubs like Chelsea and United are facing at the moment. A level of consistency if reached can easily help the team finish in the top 4 of the league or even higher.