Liverpool 2-1 Leicester: Mohamed Salah scores twice for Reds
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 31/12/17 12:16am
Mohamed Salah continued his impressive season as he scored twice to help Liverpool come from behind and beat Leicester 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
With £75m signing Virgil van Dijk watching in the stands, Liverpool's need for defensive improvement was highlighted in just the third minute as they lost possession around their own box and were punished by Jamie Vardy.
Salah wasted two good chances to score before half-time, but made amends in the second half as he levelled in the 52nd minute and then netted the winner in the 76th minute.
Liverpool: Karius (6), Gomez (7), Matip (6), Lovren (6), Robertson (7), Milner (6), Can (6), Coutinho (7), Salah (8), Firmino (6), Mane (6)
Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain (5), Wijnaldum (5), Klavan (5)
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Amartey (7), Morgan (6), Maguire (6), Fuchs (6), Gray (5), Ndidi (5), Iborra (6), Albrighton (5), Mahrez (4), Vardy (6)
Subs: Slimani (5), Okazaki (5), James (5)
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah
The victory will see Liverpool end 2017 in fourth position in the Premier League, while Salah has now scored 17 league goals - one fewer than leading scorer Harry Kane - and his 23 in all competitions equals Roger Hunt's club record for goals scored before the end of the year.
Leicester, meanwhile, have now not won in five matches, despite taking an early lead at Anfield when Joel Matip's pass out of defence was cut out and Vicente Iborra played through for Mahrez to tee up Vardy for a tap-in from eight yards.
Salah spurned two good opportunities to reply as he placed a shot wide from inside the box and then missed the target after racing clear down the right side.
Liverpool continued to press and probe but without any reward until the second half.
Karius replaced Mignolet in goal for Liverpool while Mane, Milner, Lovren and Gomez started ahead of Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klavan and Alexander-Arnold. Leicester made four changes as Fuchs, Gray, Iborra and Amartey came in for Chilwell, King, Dragovic and Okazaki.
Salah eventually levelled for the hosts in the 52nd minute when he collected Sadio Mane's backheel and controlled well before finishing down the middle of the goal.
Liverpool continued to look the more threatening side and Salah went close again as he lobbed an effort over the bar.
Leicester's best moments came from Christian Fuchs' long throws, but, after one resulted in Wilfried Ndidi firing just wide from the edge of the box, Salah completed the turnaround when he spun away from Harry Maguire and shot past Schmeichel.
- Liverpool have scored 77 goals in their 30 games in all competitions this season - their highest ever total at this stage of a campaign as a top-flight club.
- Liverpool have gone 15 games in all competitions without defeat (W10 D5) - their joint-longest unbeaten run under Jurgen Klopp (also a 15-game run ending in November 2016).
- Salah (23 goals) has scored more goals in all club competitions this season than eight Premier League clubs (Crystal Palace, Burnley, Brighton, Swansea, WBA, Huddersfield, Southampton & Newcastle).
- Since August 2014, Vardy has scored more goals in the Premier League against 'big six' opposition than any other player (22 goals in 41 apps).
- Vardy (7) has scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool than versus any other team. In fact, only Andrew Cole (11) and Thierry Henry (8) have scored more Premier League goals versus Liverpool than Jamie Vardy.
Jurgen Klopp: "Our reaction to going 1-0 down was the best reaction we have showed, it was a big step and the mentality was fantastic today. The crowd were fantastic and helped us a lot. It can happen at Anfield that people are not that patient but today they saw that the team tried everything so it was one of the best atmospheres we have had so far, and we needed it. This game was pretty much perfect apart from the situation around the first goal."
Claude Puel: "It's a big disappointment as a squad because they gave their best. We had a fantastic start to the game with the goal and we tried to keep this result and perhaps to score again. Liverpool pushed and tried to come back into the game but it was a good opportunity for us to get a result and it's a big disappointment because we had the feeling to go back with a good result."
Man of the match - Mohamed Salah
It looked like it was going to be a rare off day for Salah after he twice failed to hit the target from good positions in the first half.
However, he responded well after the break to secure victory for Liverpool. He showed excellent close control for the first goal and turned away well from Maguire for the second.
The double brings the curtain down on a remarkable second half of 2017 for the 25-year-old.
Liverpool next travel to Burnley on Monday before hosting Merseyside rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday. Leicester host Huddersfield on New Year's Day and then go to Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup on Saturday.