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Leicester vs Liverpool: 5 things we learned as Mignolet goes from zero to hero

It was one of the games of the season at the King Power as Liverpool just about managed to come away with all three points.


It was a second Premier League start of the season for Philippe Coutinho, and the Brazilian was imperious in the first half, creating the first goal of the match with a brilliant, dipping cross on the quarter mark, converted from an acute angle by Mo Salah. The header was his fourth Premier League goal of the season to continue his fine return to England.

Just eight minutes later, Coutinho himself got on the scoresheet to double the advantage. The Brazilian scored a wonderful free kick, giving Kasper Schmeichel no chance on goal after a slight deflection. 

On the stroke of half time however, the Foxes halved the deficit. Liverpool 'keeper Simon Mignolet flapped at a cross, with the ball eventually falling to Shinji Okazaki who just about managed to prod home and net his second goal against the Reds in the space of a week.

However, Jurgen Klopps's side doubled their advantage once more with a typically ruthless breakaway goal in the 68th minute.

Daniel Sturridge led the counter attack, eventually laying the ball into captain Jordan Henderson's path, who took a touch and fired home to score his first goal since September last year.

As ever with Klopp's side, however, they immediately shot themselves in the foot just one minute later. Demarai Gray had far too much time and space in the box and his effort was parried to Jamie Vardy who had an empty net to head into. 

Mignolet then went from zero to hero, first giving away a penalty after a clumsy tackle on Vardy in the 72nd minute to give Leicester a great chance to level the game. However, the Belgian atoned for his error to save Vardy's penalty. 

It remained 3-2 to Liverpool and the weight lifted from Klopp's shoulders was visible. RealSport have picked out five things we learned from the King Power Stadium.

  1. 1 Liverpool will struggle for top four


    The Reds may have finished in the Champions League qualification places last season, but it will be a tough ask if they are to repeat the feat this season.

    They were, yet again, far too open at the back and could have thrown the game away despite twice having a two-goal advantage.

    Liverpool often struggle against teams who sit back and don't allow space in behind, whilst they allow far too much space themselves for opponents to exploit, especially a dangerous counter-attacking team such as Leicester.

    With the Manchester clubs looking like certainties to challenge for the league, with Chelsea closely behind, Liverpool look to be in direct competition with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for fourth spot.

    Whilst they should finish above Arsenal, Spurs look a far more well-rounded side than Liverpool and Klopp must find ways to break teams down who sit back and also improve their defensive structure and solidity.

    The German needs to learn how to manage these leads more effectively. It doesn't always have to be an 'all or nothing' type of scenario.

  2. 2 Shakespeare is the right man


    It may have been one of the harshest decisions ever to have sacked Claudio Ranieri last season, but the Leicester board were vindicated with the performance of Craig Shakespeare, who returned Leicester to their winning style and steered the club clear of relegation.

    However, the Foxes haven't had the best of starts to this season. They have lost four of their opening six games and languish in 16th, only outside the relegation places on goal difference.

    However, those losses have come against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.

    It was an extremely difficult start to the season for Shakespeare's side, but they have shown more than enough to be confident of avoiding relegation and finishing mid-table.

    It's just a matter of time before the Foxes start climbing up the league.

  3. 3 The luxury of Gini Wijnaldum


    Gini Wijnaldum is a good central midfielder who possesses great energy and a knack for scoring goals. 

    However, despite having a frightening attack, Liverpool don't have many passers in central midfield and can struggle to break the opposition down. 

    The Dutchman, for example, rarely gets on the ball or involved in the build up play. He only made 25 passes against Leicester on Saturday, an extremely low number for a central midfielder in a side with 57% possession.

    Not only that, he made zero tackles, compared to team mate Jordan Henderson's four.

    If Liverpool wish to improve their creativity and options to get the ball into the final third, perhaps Wijnaldum should be more of a rotation option with Coutinho playing as one of the three central midfielders instead.

  4. 4 We know nothing about Iheanacho


    Since his big money move from Manchester City in the summer, it hasn't been a great start for the Nigerian at his new club. He is yet to score and his minutes have been limited due to injury and other options.

    Although Iheanacho is a ruthless finisher, the striker is able to drop and try to link play as he tried to on Saturday. However, Leicester tend not to play with a number ten and often bypass that area of the pitch looking to go more direct.

    However, Vardy is the poacher in the side, looking to get in behind and finish any chances inside the box. It begs the question, therefore: Where does Iheanacho fit in at the King Power stadium?

    He is an extremely talented striker, but perhaps isn't suited to their style of play. He's not as dangerous as Vardy on the counter, whilst Shakespeare seemingly prefers Okazaki's work rate.

    With four other strikers to contend with as well, it will certainly be a tough ask for Iheanacho to establish his place in the first XI.

  5. 5 Liverpool need a new 'keeper


    Mignolet went from zero to hero on Saturday, as he so often does. The problem is, for a side looking to finish in the top four and possibly even win their first ever Premier League title, that inconsistency isn't good enough.

    There should be no zero, only heroes.

    The Belgian is capable of making phenomenal saves in goal, demonstrated by his penalty save late on, though he always has an error in his game that will no doubt make all associated with Liverpool football club feel uneasy.

    He flapped at a cross in the first half, for example, gifting Okazaki the chance to get Leicester back in the game, whilst he then inexplicably took Vardy out in the box with the score at 3-2 to Liverpool.

    He made up for his error by saving the penalty, but could have easily costed Liverpool all three points. 

    If Liverpool wish to push on, a safe pair of hands is vital.

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Harry Brooks

Harry graduated from UAL in Elephant and Castle with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in sports journalism.

He has an NCTJ diploma and also coaches football and teaches PE in schools.

Harry loves to talk football tactics!

Leicester vs Liverpool: 5 things we learned as Mignolet goes from zero to hero

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