The number of “special edition” headlines that could be written about this game is endless.
“Salah Misses Penalty!” might be a big one, as it truly set the tone for the game. Had he made it, or had he gotten a wee bit less unlucky with the follow-through, I daresay the Foxes would have collapsed as they were looking set to do for a fair while during the first half. But that little nudge didn’t happen, and so the hosts found their strength, and held on for a remarkable win.
“Liverpool Fails to Score!” might be another. I can’t even clearly remember when that happened last, and certainly not at something near to full squad strength. But the King Power today had that magical quality it can sometime produce for its spirited hosts. It also combined well with another possible headline.
“Oh, Mane” would be that next one. I pointed this out after the loss to the Hammers, but Sadio Mane is in utterly terrible form. His lack of finishing is clearly influencing his confidence, and he played a significant role in that second headline – not just for missing his own chances, but by constantly making the wrong decisions in moments where the right ones could lead to an easy conversion. Mane has always suffered from a tendency to try and force things when they aren’t breaking his way, and the Foxes seemed to appreciate this today. They constantly appeared to lure him into making one bad decision after another. Whether this was intentional or not is a question for Brandon Rogers, but if it was, then kudos to him for recognizing the issue and capitalizing on it.
Eventually, a goal did come, but in the wrong direction from the perspective of the Reds. Lookman’s finish was well taken and somewhat lucky, but Alisson would still be disappointed to have allowed it past him at the near post. Still, it shouldn’t have mattered at all, with Liverpool expected to put several past his counterpart at the opposite end of the pitch. In the end it did matter, and this game will end up playing a big role in the title race. Surely the Reds can win at the Etihad, but now it might not be enough even if they do so. We’ve seen City make historic winning runs before, more than once. While they look vulnerable in the back right now, other teams don’t seem to be able to take advantage of it.
I’m too disappointed to really be arsed to award a man-of-the-match, but if you twist my arm, I’d give it to Joel Matip, who really was excellent throughout. Yes, Leicester won, but only because Liverpool lost first, so with all due respect to the hosts… none of them had really earned it.
With Stamford Bridge next on the calendar, this may end up as another of those “multiple cups” seasons. I’m sure Klopp will appreciate the irony.