Where do you begin after a match like this? Five-goal thriller hardly does it justice.
Liverpool’s first Premier League victory since August came in the only way it seems they know how right now – a breathless match full of thrills and spills, where the good Liverpool just about outdid the bad.
This was Jürgen Klopp’s Reds in a nutshell. Philippe Countinho, with a goal and assist, had stolen the show in the first half. But then with the match seemingly won at 3-1, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, threatened to throw it all away.
His weak flap at a Demarai Gray shot led to Jamie Vardy heading Leicester back into the game. Three minutes later, his wild challenge on the Leicester striker brought a penalty for the home side.
Stunningly, the villain became the hero as the Belgian made amends with his seventh save from 15 penalties faced in the Premier League as a Liverpool player. With it, Liverpool’s four-match winless run was over.
It was a remarkable match, and could easily have ended with twice as many goals, but it probably told us not a single new thing about a Liverpool team who, brilliant in attack, could have been out of sight at half-time, and yet ended up hanging on at the finish when Leicester substitute Islam Slimani put a free header wide of goal.
The first half had been all about Coutinho, who delivered his first significant contribution since his return to the starting XI. The Brazilian was only one of four starters retained from the 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat here four days earlier.
That evening he departed at half-time, with the game still goalless. Here he helped steer Liverpol into a two-goal lead inside 23 minutes, setting up the first goal for Mohamed Salah and then scoring the second himself with a wonderful free-kick.
Salah’s ability to twist away from his marker is impressive, and ensured an awkward evening for Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, and the Egyptian has an eye for goal too.
He had already put one chance wide of a gaping goal – on the rebound after Emre Can’s angled 20 yard drive had struck the far post – when , three minutes later, Coutinho whipped a lovely curling cross to beyond the far post where Salah struck with a bullet header.
Then came Coutinho’s first Liverpool goal since 21 May against Middlesbrough. After Wilfred Ndidi had tripped Alberto Moreno, Coutinho flighted a superb free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal. He was inches away from another goal before half-time when he slid in on his backside after Can’s cute pass had teed up Roberto Firmino to arrow a shot across goal.
This being Liverpool, though, a spirited Leicester always had a glimmer of hope. Lovren’s slow response let in Riyad Mahrez for an early volleyed chance that the otherwise anonymous Algerian struck over.
Shinji Okazaki had been unfortunate to see a goal annulled for a fractional offside call in the 38th minute. When he did tap the ball in, on the stroke of half-time, it came after Mignolet had failed to reach a corner and Wilfred Ndidi nodded goalwards.
Where Leicester were certainly fortunate was in the preceding sequence when Vardy hooked a leg around Joel Matip and went to ground on the corner of the penalty box. Result: a booking for the defender and a free-kick that Vardy nodded on and Mignolet palmed over for the corner that brought the goal.
Leicester might have won only once this season but they were full of spirit here and they began the second half with a spring in their step but were undone on the counterattack for the third goal.
Henderson it was who broke Leicester’s flow inside his own half and the Liverpool captain raced upfield to finish off the move, collecting Daniel Sturridge’s pass, sidestepping Harry Maguire and burying a low shot.
That, you thought, was that. But then this is Liverpool.
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