Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Foxes Comeback Denies Reds

After bringing down the curtain to 2014 in fine form, Liverpool looked to start 2015 in a similar vain as they played host to the league's bottom side Leicester City on New Year's Day. Just two changes were made from the rout of Swansea as Steven Gerrard re-claimed the captaincy while Kolo Toure replaced the suspended Martin Skrtel.

Surprisingly, the visitors made the better start ad could have opened the scoring inside two minutes as a foul from Alberto Moreno allowed Riyad Mahrez to test the Liverpool goal with a free-kick which he swept in superbly only to see the ball cannon back off the post. 

Liverpool went even closer to breaking the deadlock a few minutes later with Raheem Sterling tapping in from close range but to his despair the effort was chalked off due to an offside infringement from Jordan Henderson in the build-up.

The visitors seemed to be best at attacking down the wings as Jeff Schlupp and Mahrez threatened with the two combining before the latter swept the ball off target. Liverpool struck back in the 17th minute as Coutinho and Sterling linked up with the latter sweeping in a cross to threaten the Leicester defence and the ball cannoned off the face of Wes Morgan who was harshly penalised for handball.

Steven Gerrard stepped up and slotted the controversially awarded spot kick past Ben Hamer to give the Reds the lead which could have increased when Sakho's pass found Moreno with the Spaniard picking out Lallana whose shot drifted wide of the target.

The Reds lead did increase in the 39th minute when a clever run from Phillipe Coutinho saw him advance into the box and look to loft a pass across goal but saw the ball hit Danny Simpson who was penalised for handball.

Alike the first spot-kick, Steven Gerrard converted well to open up a two-goal lead which sent them into the half-time interval sitting comfortably. The second period saw the Reds mount an early chance as Moreno powered an effort over the bar while a blow in the 55th minute saw Adam Lallana leave the field with an injury.

After coming off the bench, David Nugent came close to an rapid impact as he glanced a chance from a corner past the far post. He soon made amends though as he collected the ball from Jamie Vardy's knockdown to sweep in a scissor-kick volley which sailed past Simon Mignolet. The Belgian was was flummoxed to see his side pegged back to 2-2 just moments later when Jeff Schlupp slotted into the bottom corner to complete a rapid comeback for the Foxes.

Liverpool looked to regain the lead with the introduction of Lazar Markovic before fellow attacker Fabio Borini fired a shot over the crossbar from a pass from Sterling before Coutinho carved through the defence and shot straight at Hamer.

The sides looked set for a share off the points but Liverpool had one more chance to upset the equilibrium with Sakho finding Henderson but the midfielder's clipped strike hit Hamer and went out of play.