‘’We knew that the headlines were probably already written. But you write your own story in football.’’
Brendan Rodgers’ post-match comments perfectly sum up the backdrop of the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Leicester City.
Leicester start on the back foot
Liverpool entered the fray as clear favourites, having lost only once in the league over the last nine months.
Leicester City, on the contrary, were licking their wounds following a 6-3 hammering at Etihad.
Most football fans put their money on Liverpool leaving the King Power Stadium with all three points.
But, as Rodgers rightfully pointed out, football does not follow a defined script.
As a reminder of that undeniable fact, the Foxes picked up a remarkable 1-0 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s title chasers.
Earlier proceedings of the match, however, were indicative of a comfortable road trip for Liverpool.
The Reds pushed the already depleted Leicester City backline to the back foot from the word go.
With covid and injuries limiting his options, Brendan Rodgers was without his first-choice centre-back options.
But, the former Liverpool manager took a bold decision in not starting a specialized defender in Jannik Vestergaard and handing the keys to the defence to Wilfred Ndidi, asking the midfielder to play a makeshift centre-back role.
Ndidi fouls, Salah misses
The decision appeared to be a costly one as Ndidi recklessly brought down Mohamed Salah inside the penalty box and conceded an early penalty to Liverpool, before Jordan Henderson squandered a golden opportunity to put the visitors ahead, firing the ball well over the crossbar.
But, Salah, who did not miss a penalty in the Premier League since Huddersfield shot-stopper Jonas Lossl denied him four years ago, could not find his way past Kasper Schmeichel.
The ball did make its way back to Salah, but the Egyptian hit the post with rebound effort and could not make proper contact with the ball as it rolled back to him again.
It was the first of a series of top-class saves Schmeichel made in the remainder of the game, but Leicester are also indebted to Lady Luck for getting away in some tumultuous moments.
For example, Sadio Mane could not believe his own eyes when he saw his shot flying over the crossbar.
Diogo Jota had found the Senegal international in acres of space inside the Leicester box, but much to the awe of the Liverpool faithful, Mane could not pounce it in.
Vardy a constant menace
Jamie Vardy was the most consistent source of threat from the home side as the veteran made some menacing runs past the Liverpool defence.
He almost set up James Maddison for the opener, but Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a stunning goal line clearance to frustrate the 25-year-old.
But, the Reds could not stop the hosts from getting the lead as Ademola Lookman started and finished off a brilliant counter attack move just before the hour mark.
Lookman got the ball around the half-line and made some interchanges with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to breach the Liverpool defence and defeat Alisson Becker at the Liverpool goal.
Despite Liverpool’s desperate attempts to salvage an equalizer, the make-do Leicester defence held on and brought the home side a much needed victory.