On a snowy day at Merseyside, and a snowy pitch at Anfield, Liverpool went into Matchday 24 with a chance to go a whopping 7 points ahead of Manchester City in the title race. Blew it.
Sadio Mane scored emphatically in the early minutes of the game before Harry Maguire equalized at The Kop end at the stroke of half time and the score remained unchanged until Martin Atkinson blew the whistle to mark the end of the game leaving Liverpool ahead of Manchester City by 5 points.
Liverpool manager was forced to play a slightly weakened team troubled by injuries and suspension. Right back Trent Alexander Arnold has not yet recovered from the injury he suffered in the 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, while centre backs Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren were not fully fit to start the match.
Lovren though, was on the bench for Liverpool yesterday, but did not make the appearance as Liverpool continued their search for a winner which did not arrive. James Milner was unavailable to help Klopp in midfield or full back with this versatility as the veteran was suspended after receiving his marching orders by the referee during the 4-3 win against Crystal Palace.
Leicester on the other hand secured a valuable point against a strong opposition, and put a dent in another title winners’ hopes. Leicester had beaten Manchester City 2-1 on Boxing Day which put the Champions further behind Liverpool – a gap they have not been able to close yet.
Claude Puel’s Leicester City had a shocker of a start to the game, after conceding inside 3’ of the game, but gradually grew into the game, and Liverpool allowed them to. The 2016 Premier League Champions played with a positive mindset throughout the game, and got their reward in the 45+2’ when England centre back Harry Maguire found himself open on front of goal and scored past Alisson.
Leicester City had a few more chances to possibly secure an unlikely victory, but the final ball was never good enough. One fine chance fell to Demarai on the left wing but Gray couldn’t compose himself in time to square to Jamie Vardy who found himself open in front of the goal, but the ball never arrived.
Manchester City players and manager Pep Guardiola will be kicking themselves for dropping crucial 3 points against struggling Newcastle United on Tuesday when they lost 2-1. That win against Newcastle could have moved them closer to Liverpool to 1 point before Liverpool played Leicester. At the same time, they would be relieved that the gap did not get bigger.
Liverpool now go to The London stadium to face West Ham on Monday night. Manchester City face Arsenal at home, and could be just 2 points behind Liverpool if they are able to beat Unai Emery’s team.