Liverpool 1 Leicester City: Foxes hold Reds to frustrating draw

Harry Maguire cancelled out Sadio Mane's early opener as Leicester City picked up an unlikely point with a 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

Published : Jan 31, 2019 09:34 IST

Liverpool players react after Leicester City's equaliser at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool players react after Leicester City's equaliser at Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool players react after Leicester City's equaliser at Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool missed the chance to open a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League table as it was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Leicester City on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds appeared on course to capitalise on Manchester City's surprise loss at Newcastle United 24 hours earlier when Sadio Mane fired them ahead inside three minutes at Anfield.

But, just like its nearest challengers on Tuesday, a nervy Liverpool failed to hold onto its early advantage, though a point at least extends its lead at the top with 14 games remaining.

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After James Maddison had inexplicably missed a free header from close range, Harry Maguire steered in a half-volley to make it 1-1 in first-half stoppage time.

Snow fell prior to kick-off on Merseyside, but Liverpool quickly warmed to its task. Mane's low, right-footed drive slipped across the wet surface and beyond Kasper Schmeichel's dive to put the host ahead.

The early strike appeared set to signal an avalanche of goals for the Reds, Schmeichel turning aside a Roberto Firmino effort before an unmarked Mane carelessly headed the resulting corner well wide.

However, Leicester posed the greater threat as the opening half wore on, eventually equalising in added time through Maguire - only booked minutes before after clipping Mane as the forward looked to run onto a throughball - as Liverpool failed to reorganise in defence after a partially blocked shot was headed back into the penalty area by Ben Chilwell.

The visitor should have been level earlier, too, but Maddison nodded Marc Albrighton's inviting cross beyond the target, letting Alisson – who had turned over possession with a lazy clearing kick – off the hook.

Liverpool's goalkeeper was called into action early in the second half by one of his team-mates - Firmino spared by his fellow Brazilian after poking Maguire's low cross towards his own net.

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Shouts from the Kop for a penalty were dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson when Naby Keita fell under a challenge from Ricardo Pereira but Klopp's side were below par following such a fast start.

What does it mean? Reds fluff their lines after City slip

Points, not performances, are all that matter for Liverpool. A quest for a first title in the Premier League era received an unexpected boost from former boss Rafa Benitez and Newcastle, yet the side wasted a glorious opportunity to move further clear of City.

Worryingly, after conceding three in its victory over Crystal Palace last time out, it again looked shaky in defence. Admittedly injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have left Klopp short of options - Jordan Henderson played as a makeshift right-back - but it must quickly regain the solid foundations that have underpinned its challenge so far.

Maguire makes his mark in both boxes

While his goal was crucial, Maguire's best work came at the back. The England international shackled Mohamed Salah in particular, the Egyptian failing to have a shot on target, as the Foxes became the first team from outside the 'big six' to deny Liverpool victory this season.

Van Dijk caught cold

Virgil van Dijk was fit to maintain his ever-present league record in this campaign after overcoming illness in time to feature. However, the centre-back - such a pillar of strength for Liverpool this season - allowed Maguire to escape his attention for Leicester's equaliser after Andy Robertson had needlessly given away a free-kick out wide.

Key Opta facts:

- Liverpool failed to win at Anfield for just the second time in the Premier League this season (W9 D2), having also drawn against Manchester City in October 2018.
- Liverpool attempted just 10 shots in this game against Leicester – the only occasions when it has had fewer in the Premier League this season were both against Manchester City (seven, both home and away).
- Liverpool’s Sadio Mane has now scored 10+ goals in each of his five seasons in the Premier League, with eight of his 10 goals this term coming at Anfield.
- Each of Harry Maguire’s three league goals for Leicester this season have come away from home – only Wilfried Zaha (4) has netted more among players to have scored 100% of their goals in away games.

What's next?

After back-to-back league games at Anfield, Liverpool heads to West Ham on Monday. Leicester, meanwhile, hosts Manchester United the previous day.

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