Talking Points: Liverpool 2, Leicester City 1.

Another double from Mo Salah secured an important win for Liverpool as they came from behind to beat Leicester at Anfield. Jamie Vardy gave the visitors a very early lead but Jürgen Klopp’s side showed character and spirit to come back and claim all three points.

Van Dijk watches on as ‘one shot one goal’ issue returns…

Liverpool’s big January signing was in attendance during Saturday’s game, and Virgil Van Dijk was given a pretty good insight into what his new team is all about. It took just three minutes for the Dutchman to see exactly the kind of issues he has been signed to fix when Joel Matip’s stupid pass to Emre Can led to the Foxes nipping in and Riyad Mahrez setting up Vardy for the opener. It was Leicester’s first chance of the match and they scored – a problem that Klopp must have thought had been eradicated in his team’s defence after suffering from it on multiple occasions at the start of the season. The goal was only the fourth that Liverpool had conceded at Anfield in the League this season, but it was scored by a player who the Reds have far too much trouble dealing with in recent encounters. Liverpool being one of the worst defensive sides in football is a massively exaggerated bandwagon created by the media, but that is not to say that they don’t have issues, and hopefully Van Dijk’s arrival will go some way to fixing them.

Midfield struggles and frustrates and highlights the need for recruitment…

It is safe to say that what Liverpool’s rumoured midfield could look like next season is a whole lot more appetising than what it currently is, and performances against Leicester like the ones from Can and James Milner justify exactly why Naby Keita has been signed and Leon Goretzka is strongly linked. Can was the one dispossessed for Vardy’s goal, and was often caught out in possession and by off the ball runners. Many fans believe the German’s head is already at Juventus, and even if he is going to leave Can does need to offer more before his time here ends – especially as he is the currently the only fit holding midfielder Klopp has due to Jordan Henderson’s injury. As for Milner, he just struggles to have the pace and finesse to play in a buzzing and fluid Liverpool team. Like Can he struggled to impose himself with his passing, although must be given credit for his clever back-heel that set-up Mo Salah’s winning goal. The Reds’ attack and now defence seem to be upgrading, but the arrival of Naby Keita and a holding midfielder cannot come soon enough to improve what he too often a passive Liverpool midfield.

Sadio Mane endures mixed performance as he strives to reclaim form…

It is very hard to pinpoint exactly what is going on with Sadio Mane at the moment. He has been on a poor run of form for a while now with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deservedly starting over him in recent matches. Some think Mane has become jealous of Salah’s success, others think his injury was to blame. Whatever the case, his topsy-turvy game against Leicester showed just what Mane’s world is like currently. The Senegalese international had two goals ruled out for offside, albeit correctly, but often did seem like he was trying too hard to make things happen as he misplaced passes and fired shots wide. However, as with Milner, a mixed performance was saved by a brilliant back-heel assist to set-up a Mo Salah goal. The assist will hopefully spark Mane back into life and he will rediscover the form that saw him as one of the best players in the League last season.

It really is Mo Salah FC…

Milner’s post-match interview summed it up rather well when he said he is running out of words to describe how good Mo Salah is. The Egyptian’s double on Saturday took his tally to 17 league goals this season and 22 when adding on his strikes in the Champions League. Sensational form. His second goal where he spun Harry Maguire highlighted one of the most underrated parts of his game – his strength and ability to hold the ball up. Very rarely will you see Salah lose the ball in those situations. If you watched just the first halves of the matches against Arsenal and Leicester you would fear that Salah has gone back to his wasteful finishing that he started the season with, but the Egyptian is far too mentally strong and determined for that, and obviously went on to score in the second halves of both matches. The last time a Liverpool player made the Premier League look this easy was Luis Suarez in the 13/14 season. Just imagine Salah against Norwich! Ha!

 

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