It was a game of two halves for one player in Liverpool red, as Mohamed Salah squandered chances to put the game to bed by half time, before going on to win it for his side in the second half anyway. With record signing Virgil van Dijk watching on from the stands, Liverpool gave an immediate demonstration of why they spent so much and waited so patiently to bring the Dutchman to Anfield. Joel Matip, who will be hoping to partner Van Dijk rather than be replaced by him, had received the ball from goalkeeper Loris Karius and tried to find Emre Can in midfield.
But rather than waiting for Can to take his position, Matip passed to where he thought his team-mate would be and gave possession up to Vicente Iborra. The Spaniard quickly found Riyad Mahrez on the right who squared perfectly for Jamie Vardy to tap home. It was Vardy’s seventh strike against this opposition, and he’s scored more against Liverpool than against any other club. The home side went on to dominate the opening period but failed to take their chances. Salah, the club’s top scorer and second only to Harry Kane in the Premier League, was uncharacteristically wasteful when presented which some clear opportunities. He missed a great chance on the edge of the six yard box, having been played in by Sadio Mane, and then waited too long before shooting when through on goal shortly after, allowing Harry Maguire to recover and make an impressive last ditch tackle.
But the lead wasn’t to last long as another strike early in the half saw Jurgen Klopp’s side pull one back. A Mane back-heel put Salah through and after beating a couple of defenders and waiting patiently to shoot, the Egyptian made no mistake this time. And the chances continued to arrive at the feet of Salah as he chipped a ball onto the top of the goal following Coutinho’s through-ball. Withdrawn by Klopp shortly after, Salah shared a lingering hug with his manager on the touchline before taking his seat knowing he’d just won the game for his side.
Leicester manager Claud Puel had faced Liverpool five times previously and never been beaten, but this Liverpool, with their array of attacking talent, are a different proposition. In the shape of Van Dijk they hope they will now have a defence to match..