Leicester 2-3 Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho nets stunner in chaotic victory
Last Updated: 24/09/17 7:21am
Philippe Coutinho showed why Liverpool were keen resist Barcelona’s approaches as he scored a stunner in a chaotic 3-2 win over Leicester on Saturday.
The victory broke a run of four games without a win in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's men but they were indebted to Simon Mignolet, who saved a Jamie Vardy penalty with 20 minutes remaining.
Coutinho's sensational free-kick came after Mohamed Salah's opener which put Liverpool firmly in control until Shinji Okazaki scrambled home from close range just before the break.
Jordan Henderson looked to have made the game safe for the Reds midway through the second half but Vardy took just 90 seconds to hit back. Leicester were rampant and missed a glorious chance to level it up three minutes later when Mignolet denied Vardy from 12 yards.
Leicester knocked Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday but Klopp's men were fast out of the blocks back in Premier League waters.
On 15 minutes, Coutinho produced a peach of a cross to the back post where Salah was lurking to reverse a header past Kasper Schmeichel at his near post - the winger's sixth goal since joining from Roma.
It's been a turbulent few months for Coutinho after he handed a transfer request in the hope of joining Barcelona but his head looked fully screwed on throughout this performance, capped by a magnificent free-kick on 23 minutes.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Simpson (6), Morgan (6), Maguire (7), Chilwell (7), Albrighton (6), Ndidi (6), King (6), Mahrez (5), Vardy (8), Okazaki (7)
Subs: Gray (7), Slimani (6), Iheanacho (6)
Liverpool: Mignolet (7), Gomez (6), Matip (6), Lovren (6), Moreno (6), Wijnaldum (6), Henderson (8), Can (7), Salah (7), Coutinho (9), Firmino (7).
Subs: Milner (6), Sturridge (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6)
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
From 30 yards, the Brazilian found the top-corner with a swerving right-to-left effort that had Schmeichel grasping at thin air. It was reminiscent of Coutinho's sensational free-kick against Arsenal last season.
Okazaki had already seen an effort from close range ruled out for offside when he poked home just before the break to give Leicester momentum going in at half-time. It was another sign of Liverpool's struggles at defending set-pieces as Mignolet's punch from a left-wing corner hit Joe Gomez and rolled into Okazaki's path, who was only two yards out.
Leicester made one switch from their 1-1 with Huddersfield as Shinji Okazaki, who made a big impact against Liverpool in midweek, replaced Kelechi Iheanacho. Jurgen Klopp made four changes from their 1-1 draw against Burnley last weekend. Joe Gomez, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum all returned to the team.
The game needed a spark after the break - and Henderson lit the touchpaper on 67 minutes with a cool finish after a flowing counter-attack. The game then descended into an end-to-end encounter.
Vardy was on hand 90 seconds after the Henderson goal to head home from close range after a Demarai Gray volley was saved by Mignolet.
With the King Power rocking, Vardy then chased a ball over the top and collided with the Liverpool goalkeeper. The contact was deemed a foul by referee Anthony Taylor and Vardy had a chance to pour more misery on Klopp from the spot - however, Mignolet read the Leicester striker's mind and palmed clear a well-struck effort down the middle to secure three precious points for Liverpool.
- Liverpool have conceded 10 goals in their last three Premier League away games; the most the Reds have ever conceded over a three-game period on the road in the competition.
- Vardy has bagged six goals in his last four Premier League games against Liverpool - the most he has scored against any Premier League side.
- Salah has been directly involved in five goals in his first six Premier League appearances for Liverpool (4 goals, 1 assist); no player has had a hand in more in their first six in the competition for the club.
- Since joining Liverpool in 13/14, Mignolet has saved seven of the 15 Premier League penalties he's faced; more than any other 'keeper.
Man of the match - Philippe Coutinho
Any fears that Coutinho's head isn't fully on the job after a turbulent transfer window were put to bed with this showing. He revelled in the space just behind Roberto Firmino, producing two world-class moments to give Liverpool a foothold in the game. His cross for Salah's opener was a peach before he stole the show with a stupendous dead-ball effort from 30 yards.
Leicester go in search of just their second Premier League win of the season next weekend at Bournemouth. Liverpool have a long trip to Moscow on Tuesday to take on CSKA in the Champions League before heading back to the UK for a Super Sunday clash with Newcastle next weekend.