A typically top-heavy Liverpool performance saw them take all three points from Leicester as Jurgen Klopp’s men won 3-2 thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson. Alex Miller takes a look at what we can glean from a breathless night in the midlands.
1 – Philippe Coutinho is even more important than we thought.
Liverpool fans were put through the ringer this Summer, of that there is no doubt, and so perhaps you can excuse the murmurings of nonsense that suggested Coutinho wasn’t all that when it looked like he was Barca-bound. Firmino is more important, they said, we could use the cash to bolster elsewhere. Nonsense indeed. In just half an hour of action at the King Power, the little magician seemed to have single-handedly changed the course of Liverpool’s meandering September with a stunning assist and then goal. When he does eventually get his move, Jurgen Klopp has a huge job on in re-positioning the side’s focal point.
2 – Joel Matip needs to do more
It can be difficult to look bad alongside Dejan Lovren, but whilst the Croatian continues to get deserved criticism, Joel Matip needs to step up and lead the line far better. He was poor in the first half against Leicester, giving away needless fouls and picking poor passes. The fact that he was signed for free awards him more leeway from the fans than with his colleagues at centre-half, but all too often he flatters to deceive and relies on eye-catching moments to escape the critics. With the Liverpool defence in tatters at current, he needs to step up his game.
3 – Jurgen Klopp trusts Daniel Sturridge again
The introduction of Sturridge just after the hour mark was one that Klopp wouldn’t have made last season, and with Roberto Firmino struggling through a rare stinker, the German’s renewed faith in the England forward was vital. Sturridge rewarded the move with an assist in moments, and across the course of the season, you can’t help but feel he might play a big role in the red’s pursuit of a successful season.
4 – Liverpool would do well to renew their interest in Ben Chilwell
The Leicester left-back was all but through the Melwood door a few windows ago, only for the move to collapse at the final hour. The 20-year-old was a relatively unknown quantity at the time, but you could see why the Liverpool scouts were keen on him in this assured display. When Salah stationed himself on the right flank, Chilwell coped as well as any defender this season. Andy Robertson’s time will come and there’s no doubt he’s an exciting prospect, but Chilwell looked the real deal.
5 – Liverpool can win ugly
At times, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, sections of the second half were Liverpool at their worrying worst. But a win at Leicester is an achievement in itself nowadays and three points is three points regardless of the performance. Liverpool are fifth in the league, and if their defence can improve sharpish, the reds’ September sleep walk might soon be consigned to memory.