LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool missed out on the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points as they drew 1-1 with Leicester City at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Sadio Mane had put Liverpool ahead after barely two minutes of action before Harry Maguire netted an equaliser for the visitors right on the stroke of half-time. But Liverpool couldn’t get a winner and may look back on this result as a chance missed.
Liverpool move five points clear of Manchester City. It’s not the advantage they hoped they would have at the end of the game, but it is a point gained that they may look back on with fondness come May. Meanwhile, Leicester simply could not handle Mane. The goal — his 10th Premier League goal of the season already — means he has now reached double figures in the last five seasons. While Mohamed Salah often takes the spotlight, Mane is just as much of a star.
Anfield was giddy with excitement at the start of the night following Newcastle United’s shock win over champions Man City on Tuesday. The murmur from the crowd at the final whistle suggested they felt it was a massive opportunity missed in the title race. City defeats are rare and they need to be fully capitalised on.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — Jurgen Klopp was extremely bold with his team selection. He started all of his best attacking options, while Jordan Henderson deputised at right-back. Liverpool absolutely flew out of the blocks, scoring their quickest Premier League goal in nearly three years. But then the adrenaline wore off and Leicester threatened time and time again. None of Klopp’s changes help Liverpool establish control again.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — Far too relaxed with the ball at his feet on two occasions in the first half — both of which could have been punished by James Maddison. That said, he did make an important save to stop a Roberto Firmino own goal with the scoreline at 1-1.
DF Jordan Henderson, 6 — Always willing to help out the team out wherever he can — this time at full-back. A decent performance from the captain.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 — Just a run-of-the-mill performance from Van Dijk.
DF Joel Matip, 5 — Matip never seems to instil much confidence in the Anfield crowd. Liverpool look much better at the back with Joe Gomez alongside Van Dijk.
DF Andrew Robertson, 5 — Committed a sloppy foul that led to the equaliser. A costly error from a player so dependable.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — Another tidy showing from the midfielder. It is probably no surprise that the chaos that ensued in the Crystal Palace win coincided with Wijnaldum’s absence.
MF Naby Keita, 5 — Still struggling in a Liverpool shirt. However, he perhaps should have won a penalty when he was brought down by Ricardo Pereira before being taken off in the second half.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, 4 — Had a really quiet 66-minute outing. Needs to recapture his form from earlier in the season that made it difficult for him to be left out of the team.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 — Took his goal superbly, particularly in the opening seconds on a pitch that had a fresh dusting of snow. The speedster will be praised for his finish, but his tracking back and defensive contribution was vital also.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — A quiet night for the Brazilian, although his link-up play and skill in the box was quite effective. Had two good shots well saved.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5 — On the periphery for most of the game. A few nice turns and touches, but starved of real clear-cut chances.
MF Adam Lallana (66), 5 — He was not much of an improvement on Shaqiri really.
MF Fabinho (66), 6 — Won lots of headers and seemed to relish the physicality of the closing stages.
FW Daniel Sturridge (82), N/R — Tried to be the hero again with a speculative shot from distance and wasted the chance of a break by handling the ball.