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Liverpool maintain 100% start with nervy win at Leicester

Liverpool maintain 100% start with nervy win at Leicester

Sadio Mane has had a hand in four goals in his last four league games against Leicester (two goals, two assists)Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Alisson’s horrendous error “was clearly going to happen one day”, after his side maintained their 100% start to the season with victory at Leicester. Klopp’s team looked on course for a comfortable win when, after Mo Salah had uncharacteristically missed an open goal, Sadio Mane pounced in the penalty area to poke Liverpool in front after only 10 minutes. Liverpool’s position looked even more secure when Roberto Firmino stole in on James Milner’s corner to double their advantage with a header on the stroke of half-time – but they then proceeded to make life difficult for themselves. And the main culprit was Alisson, the £67m summer signing from Roma, who was embarrassed as he gifted Leicester a goal after 63 minutes when he was robbed by Kelechi Iheanacho while inexplicably performing an elaborate turn with the ball at his feet in the area, Rachid Ghezzal scoring following the ensuing chaos.

Leicester pushed for the equaliser but Liverpool closed out victory to make it four wins out of four at the start of a league season for the first time in 28 years – and leave keeper Alisson the most relieved man inside the King Power Stadium. “It was clearly going to happen one day,” Klopp said of Alisson’s error. “I didn’t think it was going to happen in the next match [after his successful showboating against Brighton last time out, when he chipped an on-rushing attacker]. It’s all OK. He knows he could have cleared the situation. “I said last week we need to get used to it. Don’t constantly give the goalkeeper the ball, there are other solutions. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper who makes fantastic saves and of course in this situation he did not do what he should have done, but it’s all good.” Leicester 1-2 Liverpool: Alisson knows what he did wrong – Jurgen KloppLiverpool win – but suffer in victory Liverpool can call on an old saying to bolster their confidence even further after making it four wins from four at the start of the Premier League season – namely that it is a sign of champions that you can still win when well short of your best. And this certainly applied here with Klopp’s side mediocre for long periods, yet still emerging victorious in the face of Leicester’s spirited challenge. Liverpool opened in the sort of blistering fashion that has blown teams apart in the past, with Salah missing an open goal even before Mane pounced on a rebound off Harry Maguire to score after only 10 minutes. They then, surprisingly, became subdued and went into their shell, only to score against the run of play as Firmino guided in Milner’s corner on the stroke of half-time. Liverpool looked rocky under pressure as Leicester stepped up the pace after the break, with even the normally unflappable Virgil van Dijk rattled as he was put under a thorough examination. They could not control midfield, while Salah was, for once, totally out of sorts and could have had no complaints when he was eventually replaced by Shaqiri. For all that, Liverpool dug deep and secured another three points in a season when they and Klopp know there will be little or no margin for error.

On another day Salah will shine, their defence will be in control and goalkeeper Alisson will not make the sort of horrendous error that turned up the heat on Liverpool even further. There will be days throughout Liverpool’s season when the result will over-ride the performance – and this was undoubtedly one of them. Alisson has to learn quickly Rachid Ghezzal’s goal was the first club goal Alisson had conceded since last season’s Champions League semi-final second leg.

Alisson has already raised eyebrows and attracted attention for his confidence with the ball at his feet, notably his willingness to audaciously chip an oncoming Brighton attacker during last weekend’s victory at Anfield. There is, however, a time and a place – and the time he chose at the King Power Stadium was definitely not it. Alisson was trying to be too clever by half when he embarked on a dainty turn and backheel as Iheanacho chased down Van Dijk’s slightly wayward back pass. For all the modern thinking, this was an occasion when the big boot should have been applied – as manager Klopp’s emphatic gesture on the touchline subsequently suggested. Alisson decided otherwise, played himself straight into trouble and the whole calamity ended with Ghezzal scoring. It gave Leicester the sort of opportunity that could have proved very costly. Liverpool have suffered enough at the hands of goalkeeping errors, such as those of Loris Karius in the Champions League final, so this moment will have revived some uncomfortable memories. Liverpool spared Alisson’s blushes by holding on for the three points but you suspect the Brazilian will be on the receiving end of a sharp reminder from manager Klopp not to repeat those sorts of mistakes.

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Harry Smith is the Bestselling author of 6 novels. He lives in Manchester, England with “the wife,” “the kids,” “the dog,” “that cat,” and he occasionally wears pants.

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